27 May

Creating a virtual office that’s open for business from anywhere!

It is common to think of cutting edge technology as reserved for enormous multinationals. However, as our interview with Michael Gibbs, Director at Synergy Technology demonstrates, small to medium sized enterprises (SMEs) can equally reap the rewards of a well-designed secure workspace.

“For a recent project, we were approached by a local business that essentially offers a wholesale service. They have a team of drivers delivering products to customers, as well as a number of back office staff in charge of processing orders and managing the accounts. The company is growing fast, with plans to expand. However, the growth was hampered by a heavy reliance on paper-based records which took up a large portion of their time to process, as well as causing issues with stock levels and missed deliveries”.

Synergy Technology met with the company’s directors to understand how the business worked, and to discuss these problems as well as their growth plans and subsequently recommended the implementation of Microsoft Dynamics NAV hosted on Synergy Technology’s Citadel platform. Dynamics NAV is designed for SMEs to manage their supply chains, operations, finance and logistics. Citadel is a cloud-based service designed to provide a virtual workspace. Previously, the company had a huge order book and delivery schedule and Synergy Technology’s solution was to develop and enhance this existing paper-based process with the additional ability to work remotely, including drivers amending documents.

“This solution has proven really useful for both the drivers and their office-based team. For the drivers, they are now able to file orders whilst with customers, immediately updating the database from a tablet or phone. Using the virtual workspace, drivers can also update future orders with additional products there and then, as well as updating delivery information and reporting non-deliveries.”

The deployment of Microsoft Dynamics NAV is only the beginning of the journey for this company. In addition to the ability to work virtually, Dynamics NAV has helped the company advance in other areas of the business.

“Dynamics NAV offers a clearer visibility of which products they are selling, up-to-date warehouse stock levels, what items are selling most, what items are slow moving and therefore helps the company to manage their stocks levels more effectively. Adopting Dynamics NAV also speeds up the process of receiving orders – a delivery driver can send the latest order directly from the customer’s location without returning to the office to hand over the paperwork. This, in turn, frees up the office-based team and directors to focus more effectively on strategy and business growth”.

“Adopting the virtual workspace also provides flexibility for the office-based team to potentially work from home. This can be beneficial to work away from the comings and goings of the main office and to focus on their work without typical workplace distractions”.

Of course, when setting up a virtual workforce, businesses may have some concerns around what employees are doing when working offsite. Michael explains that Dynamics NAV actually provides a business more visibility.

“The system is easy-to-use. With the metrics in place there is a range of indicators to identify whether an employee is working. For example, Dynamics NAV allows you to see when and who has raised orders as well as what time users log in and out of the system. As a result, you can see directly how out-of-office workers are performing”.

A final issue is how the users adapted to the new technology. For this company in particular, by hosting their line of business software on Citadel, the virtual workforce has been an effective solution.

“Overall, adoption of the new system has been very positive. It did require some changes in behaviour from working with a paper-based system to working directly online, but most employees were quick to appreciate the benefits of this new approach. Drivers save time, and can cross-sell and upsell onsite and benefit from less travelling between customers and the office.

“Office-based workers are pleased they can reduce the time taken to carry out mundane tasks and resources are freed up to focus on company strategy. Perhaps most importantly, the more responsive service is well received by customers particularly the instant electronic delivery of provision notes, receipts and invoices.”

If you think that you and your employees will benefit from a flexible workspace and you would like to consider adopting a virtual office for your business, we can advise you and provide the technology to make it happen! Call Synergy Technology on 0345 456 0050

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