Reclining on a 20% growth curve

How furniture retailer Big Save rose above a growth-hampering legacy enterprise resource planning (ERP) system and accomplished greater profitability and productivity with an integrated Microsoft Great Plains solution.

Since its establishment in Wellington in 1973, Big Save has grown into New Zealand's largest privately-owned furniture company on the power of its promise of quality customer service and excellent value for money. With 12 outlets and 200 staff, it is imperative that information flows freely and accurately throughout the company.

The Challenge

Big Save's legacy ERP system was holding back growth. Instead of being able to get on with value-adding work, staff were bogged down maintaining information in slow, repetitive processes. The system was so unreliable and complex that an IT consultant was needed every time a small change was needed to the system - even to calculate debtors.

The company knew it urgently needed an accurate, accessible, flexible and secure system. It needed the system to be feature rich and out-of-the-box to minimise development costs. Financial controller Steve Macris began working with administration staff to define their needs and begin the process of selecting a suitable new system.

The company chose Microsoft Dynamics GP supported by Olympic Software from a shortlist of three.

The Solution

The Microsoft Dynamics GP solution incorporated:

  • General Ledger
  • Payables
  • Receivables Bank Reconciliation
  • AP Bank Interface
  • Collections Management
  • Fixed Assets
  • Multicurrency
  • Inventory Control
  • Sales Order Processing

The solution is accessed remotely by more than 20 users across the country via Citrix MetaFrame. Big Save built the solution onto a foundation of Microsoft SQL Server 2000, Windows Server 2003 and Windows 2000. This enabled Big Save to benefit from the synchronisation of systems, ease of installation and maintenance, and the ability to integrate seamlessly from front office through to back office business activities.

The Results

Since Microsoft Great Plains went live at Big Save, staff can apply their energy to growth-supporting activities and managing by exception, rather than getting stuck in constant day-to-day bushfires encountered with the legacy ERP system. For instance, a full-time administrator was dedicated solely to courier coordination, and it could take 72 hours for pricing information to travel between branches. With most information now immediately accessible, staff can engage in more productive work, such as receipting imported products into the system.

Inventory management has changed radically. "We now have the ability to see exactly what stock each branch has stored within 24 hours at the most. Stock information is entered daily so the data is always accurate and up-to-date, which means we can solve any issues instantly, and help to improve customer service," says Macris. "We've also been able to standardise pricing tickets across branches."

The company's dependence on IT consultants has also been eliminated, with Olympic Software setting up the solution so it requires minimal intervention. "We're used to people making false promises, but both Olympic Software and Microsoft Great Plains have delivered on everything we were promised," says Macris.


  • 20% growth enabled [since installation of the system]
  • Timeliness and depth of information, particularly real-time access   to stock inventory
  • High level of information security and integrity
  • At-a-glance knowledge of operations
  • Instant issue resolution
  • Management by exception
  • FRx reporting tool with immediate alerts in key indicators
  • Reduced admin time and courier costs


Opening Quotes

We're used to people making false promises, but both Olympic Software and Microsoft Great Plains have delivered on everything we were promised.

Closing Quotes

Steve Macris

Financial Controller