“..everyone in the office can now find out all the details of a job in seconds whilst a customer is on the phone.”
Shaws of Brighton was established in the 1970s, and was taken over by Lee and Robert Claxton in 1998. They’ve recently started making sealed units.
Lee says, “Like many companies we purchased all of the equipment we thought we would need, and our last consideration was to think about software. Now that we’ve had our software system in for 6 months, we realised how important it is to our business. In retrospect, we would have definitely started looking earlier for software.”
Shaws now process all of their glass and glazing related work through Glass Office from Clear Thinking, they have 7 teams of window fitters and 3 teams of glaziers who operate in and around the Brighton area.
Gary Berry, their general manager says, “We all enjoy using the Glass Office software, everyone in the office can now find out all the details of a job in seconds whilst a customer is on the phone. All quotes are now entered onto the system, and it doesn’t matter which of us picks up the phone when a customer rings us with a go ahead, we can all see the quote, confirm the price and turn the quote automatically into an order for production and/or installation.” Gary continues, “When a quote or new job is entered, Glass Office checks the customers outstanding balance in Sage and automatically puts the job on hold if they are over their credit limit. This has helped us keep a tight rein on some customers, who would otherwise go over their limits.”
Gary adds, “Although we handcut glass, we use Clear Thinking’s glass optimiser GlasSave, so that the glass cutters are working quickly and efficiently. The system also provides us with racking and spacer bar sizes, so that everyone in the factory knows what they’re doing and the manufacturing process runs smoothly.”
Shaws have a 4 user Glass Office system, and will shortly be implementing the next phase of the installation which is to roll out 2 more users to their branch in Shoreham, about 5 miles away. Both branches will share the same programs and data. This will all be done over the internet on their existing broadband links, so incurring no additional cost, and will mean that both sites can see all of the company’s work. This will give an extra benefit to the accounts department in that all jobs are promptly invoiced from either branch and the invoices are exported into the Sage accounting system – the branches are treated separately for accounting purposes – this extra facility is invisible to the operators.
“From an accounts perspective, this is essential for us,” comments Lee, “We need to be able to see turnover and profitability not just on a job by job basis, but also for each branch, so that we can react quickly to changing circumstances and thus provide a better service to our customers.”
Shaws have also invested in a Willian line, and have a capacity to make 200 units per day, these are mostly for use in their own windows, but also they supply glass and units to the trade and retail from both branches. “We think we’re fulfilling a niche below the larger supplier who make 1000 units per day and who only want to deliver 100 units to the same location every day on a stillage,” says Lee, “We have expert lead craftsmen in our glass shop, so that we can supply the varied requirements of the local area, that are often too bespoke for companies geared up to make 4-20-4 units all day long. We like to think that we can provide a ‘one stop shop’ for our customers from a cut size piece of 4mm, up to a fully fitted conservatory and everything in between.”
Malcolm Searle of Clear Thinking concludes, “It’s great that our 200th customer is someone local to us, and a family business. So often, companies focus their PR on the larger sites making huge quantities, but we appreciate that a good proportion of our customers are small and medium size business, that may not make the headlines every day, but are just as important to Clear Thinking and make up a significant part of the industry, and we’re very aware that they need the same high level of customer service and support as any of our other customers.”
Article first appeared in The Gl@zine – 6th January 2009