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Town and Country Covers

Based in Hampshire on the south coast, Town and Country Covers have been producing protective car seat covers for the automotive market since the 1980s, and have continually updated and developed their products into the wide range that they supply today.

Their in-house design and pattern making capabilities, coupled with world class materials, supplier and manufacturing facilities, enables Town and Country Covers to offer the highest specification in all of their products.

Their covers are water resistant to 600mm of Hydrostatic Head – Put simply it will take 600mm of water pushing down on the cover before it starts seeping through.

Town and Country Covers are distributed through a large network of automotive and agricultural dealers. This means that our products can be purchased throughout the UK as well as abroad.

Town and Country Covers have a large distribution network for their products as well as a number of customers who purchase from them directly. All of the data about these suppliers and customers are held in a Sage 200 accounts package that they use to manage key aspects of their business, from ordering stock to invoicing and banking.

The company were experiencing a number of problems that they wanted to get some clearer information about. Firstly, they wanted be able to get some information on customer order patterns. How frequently did customers place an order and what products did they order?

They also wanted alerts for deviations in order value. Over a period of time the order value from a number of customers would decrease. The Sage 200 system did not alert them to these deviations, so having a system that would also enable them to track these deviations over time and then to alert them when there was a deviation of, say, 10%, in the order frequency or order value, would make a great difference in helping to manage stock and increase contact opportunities with key customers.

A further element of their requirement was the ability to provide more detailed stock information. In particular stock holding value, stock turnover and to alert the warehouse staff when stock quantities dropped below average monthly sales and taking into consideration the lead time to replenish stock items.

The company had a lot of data in their accounting package, but were not able to get at the information in a way that would help them to address some of the specific challenges they were facing.

The managers of the company and other key employees (e.g. warehouse staff) needed to be able to look at the data in more creative ways and through a system that provided a more tailored solution to their problem. They also needed a system that would ‘push’ information out to them through data triggered emails to key personnel.

Working closely with their staff and managers who were providing feedback at regular intervals, we were able to address all major elements of their initial requirements.

We developed a series of data dashboards that addressed the key information needs for all aspects of their business. This included dashboards to provide business intelligence about Sales and Sales People, Purchases, Products, Customers and Nominal Accounts.

The dashboard items were designed to enable users to compare trends for each year, month and quarter and to enable authorised users to drill-down into customer details and orders, sales people and product items.

The dashboard items were either a variety of charts, colour-coded tables or gauges, which were selected as the most appropriate ways to effectively display the information that was required.

These dashboards enabled Town and Country Covers staff to be able to see, at a glance, customer purchase histories for key periods eg. 0-3 months, 3-6 months, 6-9 months. They were able to apply filters in order to select data that met specific criteria – both at a dashboard level as well as at a dashboard item level. Hover-overs were also added to dashboard items, providing instant feedback on specific points in a chart or cells in a table.

We also included alerts for sales people who would be provided with information about customers who had ordered recently and those who had not ordered anything for a given period.

During the development of the dashboard, a strategic meeting with 4C Software and staff from Town and Country Covers, enabled them to identify additional key requirements to meet other needs. In particular they were wanted to get more detailed information about stock management in the warehouse as sales of some items dropped sharply during one quarter and it became evident that this had been due to stock shortages at a time when lead times for delivery were quite lengthy.

We were able to build a dashboard item that could alert them to current stock levels and predict when additional stock had to be ordered, based on selling rates and lead time for delivery.

“Running Sage 200 for the past 5 years, we have amassed a huge amount of data on our customer’s ordering habits and our stock inventory,  but Sage offers no tools to analyse this data and present it in a clear and easy to understand format.

The team at 4C Software have listened to our brief and delivered a solution that is flexible enough to allow all departments to access the data they need to save time in their day-to-day work as well as ensure they have access to up-to-date information.  This can be as simple as managers wanting to analyse sales figures or as complicated as keeping field-based sales executives informed on changes in customer ordering patterns by either viewing account data or by email alerts.

We have found 4C Software easy to deal with, responsive to our needs and flexible enough to deliver exactly the data we need to see in a manner that is fast and easy to understand.” Said Managing Director, Guy Ellis.