Medical Dental Solutions (MDS) was founded in 2005 and is now the largest private biomedical services company in Queensland. Based in Townsville and with offices in Brisbane, Cairns, Mackay and Rockhampton, MDS provides products and services across a broad customer base. MDS’s specialities include dental, veterinary, medical, podiatry and sterilisation equipment.
MDS has been a Jiwa user since 1st January 2020. Prior to then, many of the company’s day‑to‑day business functions were carried out via a popular online accounting program linked to an inventory and order management software system.
While the combined technologies served MDS well for quite some time, the continued steady growth of the company brought about the need to transition to an Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) solution that could capably and cost‑effectively address the company’s expanding list of requirements. Specifically, MDS needed a powerful, flexible and feature‑rich ERP that could streamline business operations, boost efficiency and scale in line with future company growth.
“It was in around 2018 that the functional limitations of our business systems became clear to us”, said Jane Miller, Director of MDS. “One of our biggest pain‑points was the inability of our inventory system to integrate with the online store component of our company website, which lists hundreds of products. This resulted in lots of time wasted double-handling data – the product information we entered into our inventory system then had to be re‑entered into our online store. Ideally we would have been able to transfer the data with just a few mouse-clicks; instead we had to constantly go through a process that was labour‑intensive and frustratingly inefficient.
“On top of that our inventory management requirements had grown and it was obvious that our inventory software was ill‑equipped to cope. For these and other reasons it was evident that in order for us to achieve our medium- to long‑term business goals we needed a high‑performance ERP solution.”
In seeking out a suitable ERP, MDS established an audit committee which set down three KPIs for the new system: value for customers, value for money and value for the company. After a lengthy and thorough product research process, MDS decided on Jiwa.
Jane explains that “there were a number of factors that got Jiwa over the line. The system’s flexibility and its powerful inventory management capabilities played a big role, as did the fact that Jiwa is an Australian company whose product is Australia-centric. It was also reassuring to know that Jiwa provides, through its network of Jiwa Solution Providers, a high standard of local product support.”
“One of the outstanding aspects of Jiwa is its flexibility to evolve with us; to scale in line with our changing needs.”
At MDS’s Townsville head office Jiwa is currently used by approximately half of the company’s 18 employees. Many of MDS’s core business functions are now driven by Jiwa including accounts, inventory, sales, purchasing and warehousing.
Amongst many other business benefits, the deployment of Jiwa enabled MDS to put an end to the tedious practice of double handling data. “Right off the bat Jiwa made our company more efficient by allowing for the integration of our inventory technology with our website”, said Jane. “As a result we only have to enter product information once for it to show up in both our inventory database and our web store. This proved to be such a big time‑saver that it enabled us to reduce our store person’s role from full‑time to a part‑time position, which in turn saved us lots of money.”
As with many other businesses that operate out of multiple locations, managing inventory across several sites and tracking the movement of stock from one warehouse to another can be challenging. Since installing Jiwa MDS has been able to maintain a tight grip on inventory – including shipping – across all of its remote sites. This has been achieved through the company’s use of Jiwa’s multi‑warehousing functionality, as Jane explains:
“We hold stock in all four of our Queensland locations and it’s critical that we know what each warehouse is carrying at all times. Within Jiwa we have set up a separate warehouse for each location; this provides us with a reliable, accurate and easily accessible source of real‑time inventory information for each of our sites – you could call this a ‘single source of truth’ covering all our warehouses. Also highly beneficial is that we can use Jiwa to easily organise and monitor the transfer of products and spare parts from one site to another.”
As a company with a strong reputation for high quality customer service, MDS is always on the lookout for ways it can better address customer needs. This is why ‘value for customers’ was one of the three KPIs the company identified when it began its search for an ERP solution. Through the deployment of Jiwa and its integration with the company website, MDS has improved customer service by enabling customers to easily place product orders, view their purchase history and track order fulfillment progress.
“By linking Jiwa to our website we have given customers even more reasons to do business with us”, said Jane. “Previously we frequently had customers phoning or emailing us to, for example, request copies of invoices or to ask about pricing or the availability of certain products. But now they can access all that information, and plenty more, themselves. Whether they want to check out their purchasing history, pay for an order or find out if their desired stock item is available now, it’s all there. And it’s a win-win situation – we get to reduce the amount of time we spend responding to enquiries and customers get the information they need whenever they need it.”
One of the less pleasant tasks faced by warehouse managers is the write‑off of inventory. Whether it’s because of damage, obsolescence, theft or something else, sometimes a financial loss has to be incurred when a product can no longer be sold. Under these circumstances it’s important for accounting purposes that the write‑offs be managed properly. Achieving this can be challenging when the organisation does not have the right technology tools at its disposal.
For MDS, management of the write‑off process, along with regular stocktaking in general, was improved when Jiwa came on board. Jane says, “Prior to Jiwa the writing off of stock was a haphazard and unreliable process. Because of the limitations of our inventory system, including its weaknesses when it came to tracking inventory, we were never really sure whether we were writing off the right stock items for the right reasons. But now that we have Jiwa we have a far tighter grip on our inventory. With a high level of accuracy we can monitor stock levels and track the movement of inventory. No longer do we have stock that just ‘disappears’; we now know where everything is.”
In recent years MDS has increased the volume of products that it sources from overseas suppliers. This made the 2020 installation of Jiwa particularly timely because, prior to Jiwa, the company’s inventory system lacked the ability to accurately calculate the various expenses associated with international shipments – the ‘landed cost’. If a company can’t accurately work out how much it cost to bring an overseas‑sourced item to market, it’s hard to know what price‑point it should be sold at, and whether the product is even worth stocking in the first place.
“We used to find it really difficult to capture all the costs we incurred when importing products, but not anymore”, said Jane. “Jiwa has excellent landed cost functionality, allowing us to calculate charges such as shipping, GST, freight, customs duty and insurance. This helps us enormously when it comes to assessing what inventory is worth adding to our product range and at what price we should sell it at.”
For many Jiwa users the system’s ability to support a wide variety of plug‑ins is a key feature. MDS took advantage of this capability when the company commissioned Jiwa Service Provider Opal Logic for the development of a plug‑in that would enable product service documentation to be attached to invoices. Jane says that, “We knew when we acquired Jiwa that the system was very customisable and would allow us to attach add‑ons that would help us meet our business process objectives. The plug-in Opal Logic created has proven very useful in this regard.”
Into the Future
While MDS has experienced substantial business benefits from its comprehensive use of both Jiwa’s core and less mission‑critical functions, Jane and her team are keen to explore new ways to get even more from their Jiwa investment.
“If we do nothing more than continue to use Jiwa in the way we’ve been using it, the system has more than paid for itself”, she said. “But that is not our intention. Down the track we would like to integrate a barcode scanning application with Jiwa, which we know we can do quite easily. We are also looking to make better use of customer relationship management technology, and Jiwa will be playing a role in that also.
“One of the outstanding aspects of Jiwa is its flexibility to evolve with us; to scale in line with our changing needs. Consequently we at Medical Dental Solutions expect to be a Jiwa customer for many years to come.”