Smart Graphics increases efficiency with Tharstern MIS buy

Richard Stuart-Turner
Friday, July 7, 2017

Scottish specialist graphics provider Smart Graphics has invested in a full Tharstern MIS which it said will slash estimating time.

The Clydebank-headquartered business installed the system, which will replace an ageing system based on FileMaker, in May. Training is now underway and it is expected to go fully live by around October.

“We’d had the FileMaker system for a number of years. It was like a whole series of boxes, each of which did something but none of the boxes actually communicated with each other and we had no data,” said Smart Graphics general manager Paul Bellard.

“It was totally unsuitable for the business in order for us to grow because there’s a large amount of data that you need that we just didn’t have and the only way to get it was to go through hours, days and weeks of collating information and putting it into spreadsheets and doing it all manually.”

The firm looked at a range of MIS options on the market but decided Tharstern would be the best fit for its requirements.

“The Tharstern MIS seemed to have virtually everything we needed straight away. And the actual commitment Tharstern made was far more than I had experienced with other companies,” said Bellard.

“The light bulb moment for us was when we started to drill down into how long each part of the sales and estimating process took. In the past, even the simplest of business quotes for customers would have taken around 30 minutes to produce, but this will now be done in a third of the time.”

He added: “We’ll be using the estimating daily and we’ll use the scheduling across three different departments of the business. We’ll also use the purchase orders, the stock system and invoicing – everything is going to be used on a day-to-day basis.

“It’s going to take a little bit of time to bed in. It’s not like we’re going to be seeing massive benefits in week one, it’s going to take six to 12 months before we start seeing realistic, meaningful data that we can start acting upon.”

Smart Graphics, which operates two HP Latex 370 printers and an HP DesignJet Z6200, has 20 staff and is targeting growth of around 25% to 30% in the next two to three years.

With the Tharstern system in place, Bellard said the business is now actively looking to employ more salespeople as it will be able to process more orders in a quicker timeframe.

The firm specialises in public transport graphics, particularly on buses, as well as fleet work, and its customers include Stagecoach and FirstGroup.

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