Ceramic Tile Retailer/Wholesaler Cuts Losses, Expands Business with Industry Specific ERP Software
June 22nd, 2015

Ton Holten began in the ceramic tile industry driving tile-laden tractor-trailers for a Dutch forwarding company from the far reaches of two continents back to his native Holland. In the 1980s, the Holten family moved to Canada and began Tilemaster, a retail and construction industry supplier in Aurora, Ontario, where it provides a vast array of metal, stone, slate and marble tiles, as well as countertops and related products.

Early on at Tilemaster, Holten moved company accounting from paper ledgers to the computer, where Vigilant point of sale and inventory control software helped Holten control his business for over 20 years. But faced with a growing demand for tile fueled by a boom in local house building and a healthy economy, Holten moved Tilemaster from its original location to another in Aurora and opened a second store in Barrie, about 25 miles away.

In 2005, Holten upgraded Tilemaster’s accounting software to Oneir Solutions Inc, a provider of scalable Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software that efficiently manages key business functions through one shared information database. But the new software runs on a modern-day Linux operating system, making it more capable of meeting the needs of an expanding business.

The software update included modules that provided added capabilities to cover additional business areas and automate functions that had previously been performed manually. Yet on the Windows workstations where Tilemaster staff make entries at the sales counter, in the warehouse, and in the back office, there was little need for re-training.

Jane Giggal, Oneir Solutions Inc. president, says, “We developed the upgraded software for growing businesses needing more capable, adaptable accounting and inventory control, and those with multiple stores or outlets.”

Holten appreciated the result of upgrading Tilemaster’s accounting system.

“By upgrading we were able to open and manage our new store in Barrie,” says Holten. “In the past, we did try a second store but had to re-enter the invoices from it by hand every night. Now with Oneir we’re always online with the new store in Barrie and can check stock, sales, and know what is going on in both locations up to the minute. We couldn’t have done that before.”

One of the reasons Holten implemented the ERP system upgrade was to accommodate new storage for rapidly growing inventory in Aurora.

“Now we have a new 40,000 square foot warehouse,” says Holten. “To efficiently manage the 3,000 different kinds of tiles, we need to be very specific. We have to show on the invoices how many tiles the warehouse has to pick, so the order taker knows how many boxes and how many loose pieces he has to pick.”

To make that work, Holten needed additional controls over his inventory. So Oneir Solutions Inc. developed a “Tile Calculation” option available to clerks and other users at Tilemaster’s point of sale.

“When a Tilemaster customer orders so many square feet of tile, the clerk can access the Oneir software, which calculates the required number of pallets, boxes and individual tiles, rounded up to the nearest unit,” explains Giggal. “That ensures that all tiles get paid for and that the correct quantity is calculated – rather than leaving it up to a warehouse clerk to do the math.”

The software also shows on each invoice the weight of the order – so that the pallets of tiles shipped are not too heavy for the vehicles carrying them.

“The weight feature double checks that the amount ordered is the same as the amount shipped,” says Giggal. “That means the shipping department cannot mistakenly send an order of 100 boxes when it should have been only 100 pieces. This provides much tighter control over valuable yet vulnerable inventory assets.”

Giggal, given her background as a financial controller, has made sure that such controls have become a major part of the accounting software, which has helped to stem losses that were bleeding Tilemaster.

“Because the people in the warehouse used to have to make their own calculations on how much tile a customer needs, I estimate we were losing $2 – $3 on every order,” says Holten. “We fill 20,000 to 25,000 orders a year. By upgrading to Oneir we’ve avoided the mis-shipments of too many or too few tiles going out to a contractor and have recovered more than a year’s wages.”

Similarly, Holten uses the software’s order taking and invoicing capabilities to control costs and run Holten Impex International, the wholesale side of his business.

That’s not to say that the always practical Holten didn’t consider other software systems when making his expansion plans for his businesses.

“We did look at other accounting system suppliers,” admits Holten, “But their costs were way out of reach. Not just the initial costs but also the maintenance contracts were far higher. Even if their software were free, the fees we would have paid them over the year would have exceeded the total cost of Oneir, which is very affordable.”

For more information contact:
Oneir Solutions Inc., PO Box 112, Queenston, ON L0S 1L0; Phone: (877) 322-3580 x1; Email: info@oneirsolutions.com; or visit the website: http://www.oneirsolutions.com/

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