Cottonsoft gets more competitive while keeping costs down

Cottonsoft Ltd is no stranger to expansion.  In the 17 years since the 100% New Zealand owned manufacturer of tissue products was established, the company has experienced record growth, with sales revenues increasing tenfold.  The company has worked hard over that time to keep growing their sales without the corresponding cost increase that would make their products uncompetitive in the marketplace.

But organisations can only keep costs down so far before cost-cutting itself causes problems. Outside influences can also exacerbate the process - which was where Cottonsoft found itself.

While the company had done an admirable job of managing costs, they couldn't control the rising fuel prices that were significantly cutting into their profit margins via increased freight costs.  And if that wasn't enough, the sale of one of their largest competitors to a multi-national corporation who could afford to frequently engage in aggressive price discounting - both on the shelves, and in competitive tenders for house brand contracts - meant that cost-cutting alone was no longer an option.

The Challenge

Cottonsoft's senior management recognised the need for qualitative change that would strengthen their business processes and enable them to respond to the rapid changes in their environment.  They identified scope for optimising a wide range of their business processes, including inventory levels, freight costs, campaign management, and customer service. What they needed was an IT infrastructure, and a strategic IT roadmap for a way forward that would support this optimisation - and so Project Liberty was born.

Business Services Manager, Ewen Stapley, says the Project Liberty team knew they could use technology to support their business transformation. They were well aware, however, that technology alone wouldn't take them where they wanted to go. It wasn't just about buying a new system - it was about making intelligent use of what they already had, and then strategically investing in the organisation's overall capability by adding to it.

The Solution

Cottonsoft already had a strong financials and inventory system, Microsoft Dynamics GP. Unfortunately, it wasn't set up to integrate with all their other IT systems, which meant that staff needed to rely on inefficient spreadsheets and manual workarounds to access any information outside of its purview.

The Project Liberty team wanted to leverage the strength of Microsoft Dynamics GP in a simple, robust, and cost-effective way that would enable Cottonsoft to implement its own improvements without having to hire a dedicated internal IT resource. It was time to bring in help, and the team asked Olympic Software NZ Limited for both technical and strategic assistance.

The solution began by using Cottonsoft's existing Microsoft Dynamics GP Core Financials modules as a base. From here, the team decided to enhance the existing system's value by bringing in Microsoft Dynamics Distribution and Manufacturing modules. Next they added the Promax Campaign Management system, and finally, they fully integrated everything so information could pass seamlessly between applications.

The integrated system would create immeasurable value in terms of access to information, as well as saving time and money.

Implementation

The Project Liberty team managed the project themselves, relying on Olympic for extensive support.

Stapley believes it was Olympic's local knowledge and understanding of their business that really made the difference throughout the project. "We don't want to work with a large consulting firm with huge fees - Olympic built a partnership with our business, and they took the time to understand what we were trying to achieve. They were easy to work with, supportive and responsive to our learning curve."

The Results

Only a few months after the implementation commenced, Cottonsoft had a technology platform they could be confident would support them in their continued growth. "Olympic has helped us complete a major strategic IT roadmap that offers us clear directions for ensuring our use of technology keeps supporting our business strategy," Stapley says.

And as time has gone by, the team has chosen to keep accessing Olympic's expertise to continue mapping out their organisational IT development.  "Olympic keeps showing us how we can use technology to support our business growth and geographical expansion," Stapley explains.  Which leaves Cottonsoft free to focus on what they do best - growing, expanding, and providing excellent tissue products in a highly competitive marketplace.

Highlights

  • Cottonsoft needed an information technology system that would support them as they continued to grow and expand without increasing  their cost structure.
  • The solution needed to make use of and build upon existing systems, and all systems needed to integrate seamlessly to ensure cost- efficiency.
  • Olympic assisted Cottonsoft's internal project team to implement and integrate their preferred solution.
  • Cottonsoft are now able to focus on their core business operations, knowing they have a strategic partnership in place for IT support and leadership.

SUCCESS STORY

Opening Quotes

Olympic built a partnership with our business, and they took the time to understand what we were trying to achieve. They were easy to work with, supportive and responsive to our learning curve.

Closing Quotes

Ewen Stapley

Business Services Manager, Cottonsoft