Breathing Buildings

They were always on board with us. We recognised that the timeline was ambitious but regardless of the current situation with the pandemic and the need to come up with creative ways to continue working, we feel that CBO stepped up and were an essential part of delivering the change we needed.

Andrew Rodgers

About Breathing Buildings

Breathing Buildings is the UK’s leading provider of controlled hybrid ventilation systems.

Founded in 2006 with the goal of bringing the newly-developed mixing ventilation concept to the wider market, Breathing Buildings has since gone from strength to strength.

Their range of patented e-stack® and NVHR® products have fundamentally changed how the UK construction industry thinks about low-energy ventilation.

As of December 2016, Breathing Buildings has joined with Volution Group plc to enhance product development and growth throughout the commercial construction market.


Reasons for the project

Since Breathing Buildings joined Volution Group plc in 2016, the objective has been to bring the different Volution Group brands under the same ERP umbrella. This meant leaving behind antiquated ERP systems in favour of Epicor software that would finally streamline and integrate the group’s processes.

UK Finance Director, Andrew Rodgers said, “Volution Group was formed because of a management buyout around 2008. Over time, the business has grown, and the group has acquired a number of other businesses [including Breathing Buildings] with the aim of being the key player in the ventilation space.”

“Unfortunately, each business arrived with its own ERP system. Therefore, part of our journey when starting to integrate our business from a systems and operational capabilities perspective has been to bring those businesses into the Epicor environment.”

“This started with Manrose, followed by Ventaxia. Then, at the start of 2020, we brought in the National Ventilation and Airtech businesses. Finally, Breathing Buildings was identified as the next candidate in the middle of last year.”

A key motivation behind the move to Epicor was to reduce the need for additional transactions between the group’s brands.

UK IT Director, Lewis Maitland explained, “What we wanted was to get more integration. Since the businesses are separate entities, we still had to raise a purchase order, followed by a sales order and invoice, as any business would. But what we wanted to do is bring those companies closer together and eliminate any unnecessary transactions. The companies would be treated as different entities but sit within the same database.”

Andrew Rodgers said: “As part of the continued development of the Volution Group businesses, a further objective was to create a single platform for the finance function. By bringing Breathing Buildings into Epicor, it was hoped that we would benefit from additional efficiencies in back-office processes.”


A smooth selection process

Choosing CBO as the partner to deliver the Breathing Buildings project was never really in doubt.

Andrew Rodgers explained: “there’s a long-standing relationship between the two of us and over time CBO has become a key partner in helping manage these transitions.”

Lewis Maitland added: “The relationship with CBO goes back for years. Our initial contact was for consultancy work in 2014 but they have since been responsible for implementing Epicor across our Airtech and National Ventilation brands in 2019 and 2020. When it came to Breathing Buildings, we had confidence in CBO to manage the full implementation.”


Navigating the implementation project

A key challenge at the beginning of the project was in sticking to strict timeframes.

Aaron Ballard, Operations Manager, outlined the core goal of the project as being live on Epicor by December: “The timeframe was approximately 6 months. It was truncated to a space that was less than ideal but fundamentally we resourced ourselves by offloading parts of peoples’ activities to other parts of the business to create the necessary free time.”

When asked about the strengths of CBO, Andrew Rodgers was most impressed with CBO’s project management capabilities: “Where we most appreciated CBO’s support was with the project management and their ability to shine a light on the key deliverables across the various stages. This provided us with good insights on our status along the way.”

“We were therefore able to direct our internal resources to deliver the project on time and on budget.”

“They were also able to give us a gap analysis that allowed us to understand where to develop the existing business setup to migrate Breathing Buildings across and where it was possible to simply change processes to take advantage of existing functionality.”

Aaron Ballard added: “We also had ideas around best practice that weren’t within our previous operating system that we wanted to take advantage of. The guidance we received from CBO was invaluable in putting these into practice.”


Early successes

While the project has only been completed for a couple of months, the group are already beginning to see benefits.

Aaron Ballard said: “Operationally, we were keen to implement a planning dashboard and the benefits of this have been fantastic. Now, as project dates move, we can migrate that information directly from the project engineer who is on-site into Epicor – as opposed to it being emailed to someone who gets around to it much later.”

“The data is ‘live’ and is updated regularly and this leads to better planning decisions. Operationally it’s been fantastic. We also have better control over our MRP purchases.”

Andrew Rodgers added: “We’ve also eliminated a set of ledgers, so there is less for us to manage from a finance perspective. All of this has been well integrated into the Epicor environment.”

“It’s given us efficiencies in terms of our closing process, and it has started to improve our visibility from a reporting perspective because we can now use the information within Epicor to feed into Epicor Data Analytics (EDA).”

Lewis Maitland was impressed by the minimal fuss in navigating the implementation process with CBO: “Overall the project resulted in the smallest number of issues we’ve seen when compared to previous projects and this is despite the nature of Breathing Buildings being make-to-order as opposed to make-to-stock”.


A job well done

When asked if he would recommend CBO to another company, Andrew Rodgers was unequivocal: “We would certainly recommend CBO’s services and we have really appreciated the partnership they have brought to this project.”

“They were always on board with us. We recognised that the timeline was ambitious but regardless of the current situation with the pandemic and the need to come up with creative ways to continue working, we feel that CBO stepped up and were an essential part of delivering the change we needed.”

Overall, then, the project could be described as a job well done, even in difficult conditions.

Do you like what you’ve heard about our Breathing Buildings project? Get in touch to discuss how we can harness Epicor ERP to help your business grow here.