Automotive services chain Pit Stop says it has been able to keep its IT staff down to one over the last three years even with a complicated franchise and branch network by using a homegrown email-based EDI package.
And Pit Stop says the fact that Auckland-based supplier Computer Work’s new version of its “push and pull” document exchange programme MailRules has an administration feature, a reporting function and extra security means Pit Stop can keep it this way as the chain, already at 25 branches and 25 franchises, continues to grow.
Computer systems manager Paul Silvester says the company would “without a doubt” had to hire more staff to go out to the sites and gather in sales information manually if MailRules hadn’t automated the file transfer process and allowed the different reporting levels for each outlet.
“Before it was often random when the information got here but MailRules does it all for us overnight.”
Computer Works chief executive Mukesh (Mike) Mohanbhai says Pit Stop was a beta site for MailRules three years ago and taught Computer Works how to deal with franchised chains and reporting. Mohanbhai says the second version of MailRules – which will incorporate further e-commerce functions such as the conversion of e-commerce transactions into the back end of accounting packages - goes on sale this month.
MailRules, which is also used by Mainfreight, works on all versions of Windows. It was created using Visual Basic and was designed to work with most email and accounting packages.
For Pitstop, MailRules daily sends out updated customer lists for credit checking, and weekly and quarterly stock lists, which when received automatically update applications at each outlet. Overnight MailRules activates a customised application built by Pitstop which collects daily financial details and Eftpos transactions and exports this back to head office. Silvester says the administration function allows him to send out new rules to branches and the reporting function tells him exactly where and if transmission faults have occurred.
MailRules costs $US499 for the professional (head office) licence and $US199 for divisional branch licences.