Chetwynd Petroleums Ltd., a high-volume fuels distribution business operating in remote northern British Columbia, needed reliable integrated business management financial tools fast. It isn't uncommon for the company to process 300-400 fuel sales a day or more – amounting to over 10,000 transactions a month for their on-account customers.
Yet the company was running accounting and billing on proprietary software from a local supplier that was about to go out of business.
The fuel distributor’s customers typically roll in to tank up from all corners of The District of Chetwynd, set in the eastern foothills of the Rocky Mountains. Rich in oil, gas, coal and timber, it is the natural transportation hub of the mighty Peace River Country.
Fortunately, Chetwynd Petroleums found that rare mix of the right tools, set-up, training and support for managing their finances. Within three weeks of calling Oneir Solutions Inc, a Toronto-based provider of scalable Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software that efficiently manages key business functions through one shared information database, the fuel distributor was operating with upgraded integrated financial management tools and had switched over completely from their previous accounting system.
After the initial phone call, Oneir Solutions Inc. quickly addressed a prime concern – how to transform the "Cardlock" fuel management system used by many of Chetwynd's customers from paper-based accounting to an electronic system.
Oneir rapidly set about to develop the Cardlock interface, convert the data from their old system, set-up and confirm the functionality of a modern day Linux server, computerize company invoicing, and train staff on the software.
To expedite the transition to the upgraded ERP software, the software provider sent a comprehensive implementation plan spelling out step-by-step detail and responsibilities, and the Linux-based server by courier, loaded with custom financial modules on board.
An integrated blend of accounts receivable software, accounts payable software, general ledger software, point of sale (POS) software, sales order software and inventory management system – all running on the Linux-based server – has efficiently handled the fuel distributor's high-volume daily bookkeeping needs since then.
The software system helps the fuel distributor keep financial watch as its pumps provide the gas and the grease needed by the rolling stock and machinery of the area's natural resource industries.
Seven days a week, on call 24 hours a day, the software enables Chetwynd to accurately account for the automated fill up of gas tanks of logging and other heavy duty trucks – to the tune of as many as 50,000 liters of gas, diesel and other fuels a day.
In addition, the software handles the fuel distributor's over-the-counter bulk sales of a wide range of industrial lubricants from its warehouse. Sales order software also enables Chetwynd drivers to make house-call deliveries to far flung oil rigs, mines and lumber camps without losing track of a penny.
All of this multiple channel selling makes for an avalanche of daily invoicing, billing and accounting to be kept track of by the office manager.
Despite being about 1,900 miles apart, Chetwynd Petroleums and its financial management software partner enjoy a much closer relationship than the fuel distributor had with its old supplier, which was about 40 miles away.
"We can go online with customers to look at and work from the same screen while talking by phone,” says Jon Mainwaring, Oneir executive Vice President. “That allows us to conduct specialized customer training, help resolve issuess with them, or go straight into their system and correct it directly – all without shutting down the system."
Candide Lavoie, Chetwynd Petroleums' Office Manager, and the person most intimately involved with the software system agrees.
"In the past when we had a problem, we had to call in our provider,” says Lavoie. “We had to wait a couple of hours for them to arrive, shut down our system while they worked on it, and pay them for all that time.”
What Lavoie likes most about the new integrated ERP financial management software is its ease of use. "I was surprised by how quickly I was able to understand, operate, and even program it,” says Lavoie. “If I don't understand something, customer support walks me through it.”
Such user-friendly design and customer support has encouraged Chetwynd Petroleums to make more use of the financial management software than originally planned.
In addition to accounting functions matching the previous system, Oneir developed a new module for the fuels industry that automatically tracks all Cardlock sales. More recently Chetwynd has increased the protection of their inventory by adding inventory and tracking control.
"In effect, what they’ve done with their financial management tools is fully automate their business," says Mainwaring. "I am amazed at the business volume handled by such a small admin staff, which positions them for growth.”
Because the financial management software is designed with the owners of more than one store or business location in mind, it can be used to manage growth without needing an in-house IT department.
"I can now handle payments, make other changes and print a statement if our office manager is away, and our drivers are even doing their own bills,” says Chetwynd Petroleums General Manager Matt Dalke. “We’re getting our statements out much faster, and can go back months into our records if needed, which we could never do before."