Perennial ERP - Case Studies

Perennial ERP Case Studies

Perennial ERP has been successfuly implemented and used by a variety of small to medium-sized distributors, retailers and manufacturers - in most cases for many years, and for one client, for almost 25 years.

Let's have a brief look at the history of Perennial ERP, before describing some of the installations of Perennial ERP that we have performed and supported over the last 25 years.

Perennial Software Pty Ltd acquired the rights to another Progress-based business software product in 1991, and during the nineties, sold and installed what we then called Perennial Business Software to a variety of organisations, some small, some small to medium-sized, and others operating as subsidiaries of larger companies.

In each installation, Perennial provided implementation and training services, software support, and in most cases, customised program enhancements to the software.

During this period of time, Perennial ERP developed into a customizable solution for small to medium-sized enterprises (SME's), and it was best suited to the Unix operating system, which provided a multi-user environment using dumb terminals (such as Wyse 60's) for a character user interface ("CHUI").

Some of Perennial's clients expressed a need for a manufacturing system that integrated with the Sales, Purchasing and Inventory Management systems, so we took on the significant challenge to develop Perennial Manufacturing as an additional application for the software.

One of our clients, Stokes Australasia, provided significant assistance to this development, and we also undertook the APICS Education Courses in Production and Inventory Management to ensure that we developed our Manufacturing application in accordance with standards generally accepted throughout the world.

While this development was going on, Microsoft Windows, with its graphical user interface, was becoming the operating system of choice for SME's, Perennial's target market.

So it became necessary to develop a Windows version of the software, and a substantial re-write was undertaken to incorporate the Graphical User Interface ("GUI") that Windows uses, and the event-driven programming style that is necessarily required for the GUI interface.

The development of Perennial Manufacturing and the conversion of the software into a true Windows GUI application was a substantial development that progressed gradually over half a dozen years, and in March, 2006, the software was re-branded as Perennial ERP and was installed at one of our existing clients, Geelong Fasteners Pty Ltd, an industrial supplies wholesaler based in Geelong, Victoria, with a branch office in Portland.

After completing the installation, the response from the client was that the software was

"far, far better than the old system".

This client creates sales orders with many lines of small value. The key benefit that the client got from this new version of Perennial ERP was the way sales order lines could be accessed and updated by a Windows browser, rather than having to be found by line number and called up line by line.

A year or two later, Perennial ERP was installed at a new client, Schots Home Emporium, a retailer of period-style furniture and lighting. Schots also sells through other retailers in country areas and interstate. The products they supply are purchased both locally and from overseas, but they used to custom-manufacture bathroom vanities and mantle-pieces for fireplaces.

As part of the implementation phase for Schots, many enhancements were made to Perennial Retail Point-of-Sale to provide a more complete Retail application. This development took several months to complete, but after about a year of development, testing and training, Schots went live with Perennial ERP.

After the completion of their first major sale using Perennial ERP, the response from the client was:

"We had a very big weekend, and we did not have a single problem with the software. Our staff had no problems using the system, and I am very happy with the way it stood up over the weekend."

One key problem this client had with their previous flat-file DOS-network based system, was that they had outgrown it, and it would crash at the busiest time of day, usually every Saturday afternoon. The Progress OpenEdge database used by Perennial ERP solved that problem.

Subsequent to these implementations, Perennial engaged a Marketing Consultants to survey our clients using Perennial ERP, and the results of this survey were very positive. A series of questions was put to our clients, and the key responses are set out as follows:

Questions Responses
Why did you choose Perennial ERP?
  • The software contains the functionality required at a much lower price than competitive products.
  • The software is flexible, and customised enhancements can be made.
Rating for the Installed Product Average 4 out of 5
Rating for Price Average 4.7 out of 5
Rating for Post-Implementation Support Average 4.3 out of 5
Rating for Problem Resolution Average 4.1 out of 5
Rating for Design Suggestions Average 4.4 out of 5
What is your over-all impression? Comments included "whatever you ask for you can get" and "able to track things through".
Would you choose Perennial ERP again? Yes - by all respondents

The results of this survey clearly indicate that Perennial has developed a software product of great value to SME's. The last response is the ultimate proof.

We have recently made the decision to focus on supporting developing and improving our core software product, Perennial ERP, and then to market and distribute Perennial ERP through Progress OpenEdge software developers, both in Australia and overseas, who would be granted a licence to the source code of Perennial ERP, so that they can support their own clients.

So at present, our focus has been further software development, and Perennial ERP is now being improved considerably both as part of a software development plan for the product, and in response to enhancements requested by our clients. It will soon be ready to market and distribute to SME's through Progress OpenEdge software developers who join the Perennial Global Software Alliance.

What follows below is a list of some of the companies that have installed Perennial ERP over the last 25 years to run their business operations, manage their inventory, and control their finances.

We have mentioned elsewhere on our website that Perennial ERP has been developed with a level of functionality specifically suited for SME's, and some of the companies listed below no longer fit that mould. Programmed Maintenance Services, for example, was a $45 million company when it first installed Perennial, but is now a publicly listed company with revenues exceeding $250 million, and is now using one of the ERP software applications designed for large corporates.

On the other hand, Perennial ERP now contains too much functionality for smaller sites, and is bested suited to companies that require more of their people using the software (at least 15) than for some of the smaller sites listed below.

In any event, all of these companies are using or have used Perennial ERP or its Unix-based predecessor, Perennial Business Software, very successfully for several years, some for more than 10 years, and one for almost 25 years.

Geelong Fasteners/Portland Fasteners

Distributors of Industrial Fasteners and Suppliers - 15 users

Geelong Fasteners and Portland Fasteners are two divisions of the same company, one division operating out of Geelong not far from Melbourne in regional Victoria, while the other operates out of Portland in the south-west of Victoria.

Each division has their own server and database, but they need to use the same master data for products, customers and suppliers. Each evening, product, customer and supplier master data files are exported from the Geelong database, sent over the Internet to Portland, and loaded up into the Portland database. These tasks are scheduled to be run by the Windows task scheduler.

In addition, Geelong performs the Accounts Receivable function for both divisions, so posted sales invoices from the previous trading day at Portland are sent back to Geelong for loading into the Geelong database in a similar fashion.

Both divisions process many small value line items each day, so ease of entry and follow-up enquiry for sales quotes, sales orders, sales invoices and purchase orders was a key requirement. Perennial ERP's browser-based transaction entry screens provide the ideal solution for this requirement.

They also sell from a range of many thousands of products (e.g. screws, bolts and other types of industrial fasteners and supplies), so enhancements were developed to make it easier for products to be maintained in the database when updates are required - changes to prices and costs, minimum and maximum stock quantities, discontinued products, etc.

Perennial ERP's Stock Reordering functionality is of vital importance to this company, as it allows them to automatically reorder products for stock replenishment, for customer backorders of products not stock, and for stock transfers. Purchase orders placed include cross-references to the sales orders or stock transfers they are placed for, so that when the stock is received, it can be allocated to the correct sales orders and stock transfers, so that they can be despatched without unnecessary delays.

Schots Home Emporium

Retailer and Distributor of Home Furniture - 45 users

The primary requirement of Schots was to replace their DOS-based business software with a modern Windows-based application that contained the functionality required for retail, wholesale, manufacturing and accounting all in one integrated application.

Another key requirement was to improve the robustness and data integrity of their business software application. Under their old system, which was a flat-file system that operated over a DOS-based network, the company's operations were often hindered by system crashes, uses at the busiest times for the company, and a data recovery operation had to be performed on a regular basis.

The implementation of Perennial ERP using the Progress OpenEdge database solved this problem, hence the "very big weekend" response from the company after Perennial was installed, and after a very busy trading period.

This implementation required enhancements to Perennial ERP's Retail Point-of-Sale application to accommodate specific requirements that related to providing their POS Operators with the ability to process any customer-related transaction (cash and carry sale, sales return, placing a sales order, despatching a sales order, accepting receipts, etc) from within the one screen at point-of-sale.

Other enhancements have been provided as the company has expanded to accommodate stock transfers between warehouses, and to setup another retail store in Geelong.

Schots are also using Tableau Business Intelligence and Data Analytics to drill-down into the data stored in the Perennial ERP database, and only recently advised us that they are very happy both with the Tableau software itself, and that Perennial Software recommended Tableau for use with Perennial ERP.

Finally, during the past year or so, the company re-developed an eCommerce website that is updated each night by product and stock item data exported from the Perennial ERP database. The sales orders that originate from the website are processed in Perennial through a separate warehouse, the eCommerce Warehouse.

PQ Australia

Manufacturer and Distributor of Chemical Products - 20 users

PQ Australia was one of our first customers, and for a decade from 1992, engaged Perennial Software to provide many enhancements to accommodate their particular requirements for the chemical products they manufactured and distributed around Australia.

In particular, the Purchase Order Management application was developed initially for PQ Australia, and was then configured to be more adaptable to the needs of other types of organizations, before becoming one of the Perennial ERP suite of applications.

PQ Australia was eventually instructed by their USA parent company to change over to SAP, as all companies in the PQ group world-wide were required to use the same software.

Stokes (Australia) Ltd

Manufacturer and Distributor - Multiple sites of 5 users each

Stokes (Australasia) operate a number of business divisions, but the divisions Perennial was primarily involved in were the Appliance Parts, Valves and Camlocks, and Giftware divisions.

For almost over a decade from the early 1990's, Perennial helped Stokes with customised enhancements to the Sales Order, Purchase Order and Inventory Management applications of Perennial ERP, as well as implementing Progress Results, a report-writing tool that directly accesses the Progress OpenEdge database in which Perennial ERP stores its data. The company made great use of this tool, and overall were very happy with Perennial for the divisions that used the software.

The company also showed interest in engaging Perennial to develop a Manufacturing application for them, and a lot of the specification work for the current version of Perennial Manufacturing was done with senior Stokes personnel. But the major Stokes Manufacturing division had to change over from an old legacy system to a new ERP application because of Y2K, and with time running out, decided to implement another application.

South Pacific Tyres

Tyre Manufacturer, Distributor and Retailer - Multiple 5-user sites

South Pacific Tyres wanted an application that they could install in both their company-owned retail stores, and retail stores run by their independently-owned distributors.

They chose Perennial over some other higher profile applications primarily because of the simplicity of its use, and because it had a Retail Point-of-Sale application that they believed was more suitable for retail tyre stores.

Furncraft Designs

Furniture Manufacturer and Distributor - 15 users

Furncraft was another company that used Perennial for many years to help them manage their Sales, Purchasing, Inventory and Manufacturing activities, and to control their Financials. Customized enhancements were provided from time to time, particularly in relation to reordering stock, and the current Stock Reorder Replenishment programs in Perennial ERP originated from the enhancements provided to Furncraft.

Baker Institute

Medical Research Organisation - Distributor of Supplies to Research Laboratories - 10 users

The Baker Heart and Diabtes Institute were advised by their accountants to choose Perennial to help them manage their inventory of supplies for their Research Laboratories, as well as their Accounting function. The system we supplied essentially turned into a Stores Requisition system, which tracked usage each month by each laboratory, and forecast the supplies they would need in the next couple of months.

The key development for Baker was to coordinate their Purchasing function with stock on hand and forecast demand from their laboratories. Because of strong involvement from management, and by making use of Perennial for the purposes it was designed for, Baker was able to reduce average stock of supplies on hand by more than 50%.

In essence, they were able to implement just-in-time purchasing using the Perennial ERP Stock Reorder Replenishment programs that were originally developed for Furncraft, and were further enhanced by customizations for Baker.

Programmed Mtce Services

Commercial Property Maintenance Services - 30 users

Programmed Maintenance Services needed to upgrade from an old legacy system, and because of the nature of their business activities, decided that they had to develop their own Contracts Administration system.

They chose Progress OpenEdge for this large development project, and were keen to integrate the Contracts Administration system that they would develop in-house, with an already existing Progress-based application that included Sales Order, Purchase Order and Inventory Management, as well as the Financial applications (General Ledger, Accounts Receivable, Accounts Payable and Cash Book).

Perennial was chosen as the already developed Progress-based application to provide all this integrated functionality, and the project was a very successful one.

Programmed also required a Fixed Assets system, and Perennial was engaged to develop the fore-runner of what is today's Fixed Asset application in Perennial ERP.

Over the years, Programmed grew into a much larger company, primarily through mergers and acquisitions, and have changed over to one of the ERP applications designed for much larger companies than Perennial ERP was designed for.

Real Estate Institute of Victoria

Real Estate Agents Membership Organisation - 25 users

The REIV was another organisation that needed to upgrade from their legacy software applications, and they too chose Progress OpenEdge for the development of a new Membership application, and Perennial ERP as the already developed Progress-based application that the Membership application would integrate with.

The REIV needed functionality for much the same applications as Programmed Maintenance Services - namely Sales Order, Purchase Order and Inventory Management, and the Financial applications mentioned above. And like Programmed Maintenance Services, the end result was a was a very successful implementation of both the Membership system and Perennial ERP.