The tranquil and serene settings of Helderberg Retirement Village, tucked up against the gentle slopes of the Helderberg Mountain in Somerset West, holds a very active and competent management team. Helderberg Village, with more than 800 housing units, was awarded the World’s Best International Retirement Village for 2012-2013. The reason for this award becomes apparent when one starts to discuss business performance with their CEO Vagn Nielsen.
Having implemented Accpac (now re-branded as Sage 300 ERP) some years ago, the organization still lacked the availability of information required to run Helderberg Village efficiently. Mr Nielsen and his team experienced that their Sage 300 ERP system was very capable of accounting for revenue and expenditure, but in its standard format it was not designed to extract the required information from the ERP and other systems deployed by Helderberg Village, in order to facilitate effective management reporting.
Helderberg Village’s challenge correlated with a recent ITWeb survey among ERP users, which found that 33% had difficulty accessing current data, while 32% found transactional or financial decisions cannot be done in real-time. On these findings it was commented: “this is a concerning trend as it clearly shows a disjoint between data that management needs in order to make informed decisions and the data that they have access to or are being presented with”.
Mr Nielsen also realised that the extent of their business activities made it near impossible for a single manager to keep track of the current state of the organization. It became important to use performance measurement and control systems to replace the eyes and ears of the beleaguered manager.
AWCape’s CEO Henri Hattingh commented: “It is important to think outside the box when business performance metrics are defined. The metrics should not be designed according to the capabilities of the ERP system, but rather designed around the information needs of each senior manager in the business”. He concluded by saying that the motto of the AWCape Systems Engineering division was applied at Helderberg Village, which reads: “No planning, no results. No measurement, no performance”.
On the question of how AWCape’s services helped Helderberg Village to improve business efficiency, Vagn Nielsen commented “By having access to current information as and when needed, and being able to analyse trends and measure performance, we were able to create a culture of managing by results, which brought about a massive increase in our business efficiency“.
Mobility and accessibility were important factors for delivering management reports. A simple and cost effective solution was making use of Microsoft’s Office Online – enabling delivery of reports to any mobile device.