Apex Networks Ltd has added AutoglazeIT and Whatwindscreen to its successful stable of web based software, guaranteeing a bright future for the efficiency of windscreen replacement systems.
Great products make a formidable duo
AutoglazeIT is a business software package designed to enable anyone in the automotive glass replacement industry to manage their everyday operations smoothly. Its natural partner is Whatwindscreen, an app that identifies the exact windscreen for every car or vehicle with a simple registration lookup function. Together, the pair form a formidable partnership.
Winds of change
Change does not always come with benefits. However, the acquisition by Apex Networks Ltd will reassure windscreen replacement companies across the UK that the efficient software is in safe hands. It will also encourage those who haven’t yet taken the plunge to invest in the technology. Afterall, Apex has an impressive track record in understanding the time sensitive needs of the automotive repair industry and the necessity for accuracy. It is the largest software supplier to the sector and sees itself as an ‘important link in the chain’ that connects its component parts with spot on functionality.
Apex RMS (Recovery Management Software) has become an essential package, widely used by businesses of all sizes, from sole traders to large national groups and breakdown cover providers. Not only that, Apex does not rest on its laurels. They listen and keep up to date with the requirements of the sector, continually striving to improve performance.
Apex Network’s managing director, JP Dekker is committed to welcoming the Systechnix team; combining their strengths, whilst continuing to provide excellent support to its own very satisfied customer base. The Apex team have already progressed some improvements, and more are planned. “All Apex products are web based and use very modern software,” he says. “Whatwindscreen is a great product that has been rewritten and upgraded and will be launched in April. Fresh developments are in the pipeline for AutoglazeIT. These will further enhance and extend its scope, keeping it up to date.”
AutoglazeIT: an industry favourite
AutoglazeIT is popular in the Windscreen Replacement Industry because it was designed with understanding of what it needed. Apex Networks has expertise in working with businesses in transportation and breakdown. It takes pride in developing software that actually helps them run things day to day, rather than tweaking a format from a different sector or imposing ideas. JP and his team examined what AutoglazeIT could do and knew it would suit its portfolio perfectly. So what do they think a business would really notice if it took it on? “The integration and seamless communication with other software tools is initially the biggest change,” explains JP. “But most of all, they will find it efficient, smooth and accurate.”
A valuable business decision…
Barry Hegley is owner of The Windscreen Company in Ipswich – an automotive replacement screen company that has traded for over 21 years. Starting from nothing, and now with a turnover in the region of £3.5M, Barry understands the needs of companies of all sizes. He valued the attention given to customer needs by AutoglazeIT and Whatwindscreen’s previous ownership, and has every reason to expect the same level of service from Apex.
A huge fan of the products now, Barry admits he was not initially keen: “I felt it might be more of a hassle than a help. There was also the issue with security. I didn’t like the idea that our information might be accessed by others. But we were growing fast, and I developed a good relationship with the company that made AutoglazeIT and Whatwindscreen. They explained what it could do and were able to reassure me on privacy. Then we started to get really busy, and I knew our whole systems had to change. On top of that, the additional information paper provided to inform the business was nil; nor could we do effective analysis. Pen and paper simply had to go.”
…with instant benefits
To start off, The Windscreen Company used AutoglazeIT as a job allocation system. “Instantly we didn’t have to do any writing,” says Barry. “It gave us great flexibility, saved time and reduced errors: the lads were allocated their jobs, but if needed could be changed easily, and everyone would immediately know.”
As the business grew, managing the increased workload was easy – but the smooth running of the work force wasn’t the only benefit. “Our customer base is happy, too,” he says. “It has made us more efficient than we have ever been before.
If things don’t go to plan, we know instantly and can review. Customers appreciate us pre-empting a problem by ringing ahead and notifying them. And it saves our lads from a rollicking when they do arrive!”
“It has made us more efficient than we have ever been before.”
Mind blowing information
Over time, Barry explored the software’s capacity. At the touch of a button, he now has access to information that was previously forgotten, or lost on scraps of paper. The company has also capitalised on savings for bulk buying because the software tracks stock usage volumes that previously went unnoticed.
The work of his technicians is analysed: who’s done the most jobs or added the most value (which is not always the same). The system also records technicians’ availability and absenteeism. “Time off for a dentist appointment is fine with me,” says Barry, “but in the past it was possible to lose track. Now I can see if absences are adding up to a lot.” Barry is more than satisfied with his business decision: “It wasn’t easy at first. Then the penny started to drop. We took what we wanted from it, a bit at a time. Now we have so much information, it’s mind blowing… and especially helpful for effective planning and audit.”
“It gives us so much information, it’s mind blowing…”
Whatwindscreen: fewer errors saves time and money
Barry cites the use of the Whatwindscreen app, which allows accurate part identification from simply knowing the registration number, as being key to efficiency. Apex also spotted that this was pivotal for competitive business productivity and success. “Twenty years ago, there might be 2 windscreens for a Mercedes e class model,” says JP. “Today that same model could have 35 options. If you get it wrong, you have to do all the work again.”
On the frontline of dealing with this confusion, Barry knows that car owners are unlikely to be able to pinpoint precisely if they have rain sensors, reverse cameras or heated windscreens… to name a few. “Often a customer says, ‘I just drive it!’” he says. “But that’s no problem with Whatwindscreen. We take the registration number and ask which piece of glass is broken. The app returns the Eurocode number, which is accepted by distributers. The order is done correctly; given to our technician correctly; and fitted correctly. It takes the element out of guessing, and is 99.9% accurate. It is a truly remarkable system for our business.”
“It is a truly remarkable system for our business.”
Software to suit any sized business
Apex Network’s RMS system has cost effective products to suit the budget of the sole trader right through to medium businesses and national groups. AutoglazeIT and Whatwindscreen will work similarly. “Financially, with the efficiency it brings, it’s a no brainer,” says JP. “Whatever your size, it will fit your budget.”
Owner of a start-up, and now running a successful medium concern, Barry agrees on its necessity. “It’s about time, money and mistakes. Your business analysis is done on the system, and you know exactly the glass you want from the distributer. Even if I started from scratch as a one man band, driving and on the go, I could not run my business without it.”
“…I could not run my business without it.”
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