Financial efficiencies and consolidation make smooth waters for Western Ferries

Slide Visibilty of the financial picture Real-Time Slide Individual &
Consolidated
reporting on revenue streams
Slide Reduction In manual
processes
Slide Efficiencies in online and
telesales order
processing

Western Ferries is a privately owned ferry company with its headquarters in Hunter’s Quay, Scotland, and it has operated the short ferry crossing between Hunter’s Quay (Dunoon) and McInroy’s Point (Gourock), across the Firth of Clyde, since 1973.

Western Ferries’ route links the central belt of Scotland with the Cowal Peninsula and beyond with a fleet of four modern roll-on / roll-off passenger and vehicle ferries which provide a regular and frequent service for locals and tourists alike, delivering nearly 32,000 sailings annually, from early morning to late at night, 365 days a year.

WHAT WERE WESTERN FERRIES' CHALLENGES?

Prior to approaching Eureka Solutions for systems advice, Western Ferries were using Sage 50 for financial management and a legacy bespoke Access Database for their monthly invoicing of account customers. While the Company’s revenue streams are all ticket sales related, there are numerous sources – over the counter in the terminal sales office, through various local ticket agents, over the phone, online sales, and sales on the vessels themselves via handheld devices. 

Primarily to reduce the manual processes involved day to day for the finance and sales teams, the Company was seeking to upgrade to a more integrated system. The new system would be used day in, day out for processing sales, managing credit control and running a variety of different reports. As well as handling this daily use, another key objective – for both the Finance Manager and the Managing Director – was visibility of the company’s financial position at any point in time.

A key requirement was a system that could cope with and consolidate our various income streams, namely the numerous ways in which we sell tickets for our service. We also needed a partner that had the skills to customise our new system to the unique nature of our business.

 

Samantha Proctor, Finance Manager

THE SOLUTION

After assessing the requirements in depth, Eureka Solutions consultants recommended that Western Ferries upgrade from Sage 50 to Sage 200, combined with two key Eureka Addons that would further enhance functionality and efficiencies – Data Exchange for Sage 200 and Sales Order Plus for Sage 200.

I had used various accounting packages before, but never Sage 200. It’s clear to me now that Sage 200 is up there with the best of them – it is very intuitive and flexible, and there is a lot of functionality in there.” explains Sam Proctor, Finance Manager.

 

Sage 200 gives Western Ferries the robust, flexible platform they were looking for, with their nominal ledger, sales ledger and purchase ledger at its core, giving accurate and up to the minute information and allowing the team to track budgets and drill down into their data.

Eureka Solutions has customised reports to monitor Western Ferries’ traffic management KPIs of daily carryings of cars, passengers, and commercial vehicles on each vessel each day.  Eureka Solutions built reporting for this to suit the Managing Director’s weekly reporting requirements. As Samantha says, “It’s great to get a real picture of the situation at any time.”

 

Another major win from the new system has come from its integration with the Company’s Magento website for processing of online sales orders in Sage 200 using the Data Exchange addon. This integration eliminates duplication of effort in data input for online sales, as well as the associated risk of manual errors.

 

Western Ferries’ telesales team benefits from the implementation of the Sales Order Plus addon. Sales Order Plus significantly speeds up the order entry process, providing all the required product and customer information from one screen, making it ideal for a telesales environment.

A LONG-TERM VIEW

Sam and her team continue to work closely with Eureka Solutions as the business grows and requirements develop. The current focus is further enhancing real-time revenue reporting, and future projects include integration of both the office ticketing system and vessel handheld ticketing devices directly into Sage 200.

MAIN BENEFITS REALISED:

  • Real-time visibility of the financial picture.
  • Individual and consolidated reporting on revenue streams.
  • Reduction in manual processes.
  • Efficiencies, particularly in online and telesales order processing.

The Eureka Solutions consultants are on hand, either remotely or in person, to help us get more and more out of our system, increasing our efficiencies as the business grows and modernises. Since joining the business I can see the further potential Sage 200 has, and our great relationship with Eureka will ensure this is exploited to the full. We are already in discussions about what other processes we can automate in a staged approach.

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