Laptop company cuts service time in half

The Laptop Company has reduced its service time by at least 50% since it installed the Pronto enterprise management system from Auckland software house Structured Data Systems (SDS). Pronto is an Australian suite of modules covering accounting, distribution, manufacturing, service, contracting and other industry applications.

The Laptop Company has reduced its service time by at least 50% since it installed the Pronto enterprise management system from Auckland software house Structured Data Systems (SDS).

Pronto is an Australian suite of modules covering accounting, distribution, manufacturing, service, contracting and other industry applications.

“It configures sales statistics and profiles for us,” says managing director David Pettengell.

“That means we rely less on a specific technician knowing all about a single client.

“”We can also better manage our inventory, which was a major criterion.”

The Laptop Company previously had its own in-house systems. “We’ve been growing at 100% a year and decided we needed an integrated system,” Pettengell says.

The company is focused on Toshibas, and 85% of its business comes from the corporate and government sectors.

“Machines are turned over every two to three years, and we see probably 25% of the machines once a year for some issue, usually something minor like software installation. Only around 6% come in under warranty.

“This is not a profit centre for the business — it’s a value-add.”

Pronto is now the main line for SDS, which was formed nine years ago as an IBM business partner. The company originally developed the SDS distribution package for the AS/400, and still has 20 sites for that in Auckland. Pharmaceutical company Zuelig Pharma bought the package, which is now in five Asian countries and will go live in the Philippines next April.

Managing director John Rayner says SDS was approached by Melbourne-based Prometheus Software to sell Pronto and now has 15 sites in New Zealand.

At under $200,000 for a total suite, including implementation and support, Pronto is well suited to the New Zealand market.

SDS sells a third product, Pacsoft, which is retail point-of-sale and a back-office package. It is installed in 56 Mitre 10 shops around the country.

At the Laptop Company, a prototype of Pronto was installed in May on an RS/6000. The system went live earlier this month.

Pettengell says it’s also meant staff savings for the business, with its 100% growth rate. “We had been taking on 1.5 people a year. We now see that shrinking and being able to get more executive tasks done.”

The software records the serial numbers of notebooks, which is important because of the “huge” market for stolen notebooks.

Pettengell says that when the label on the back is removed, the glue etches “void” on to the case of the notebook.

“We won’t then service the machine till we get proof of ownership.”

One thing the software can’t do is cater for personal whims. One customer recently was so fascinated with his notebook that his fed-up wife threw it out the window. From two storeys up.

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