Dolphin is a £15m British success story. They’ve been working with architects, contractors and developers to create beautiful high-performance commercial washrooms for nearly 20 years.
From the Shard to the Royal Shakespeare Theatre, from Sydney Airport to St Pancras International, from Wimbledon to Wells Cathedral Dolphin washrooms can be found in an incredible range of prestigious settings.
Many clients return back to Dolphin time and again, for every new project, resulting in the business doubling in size over a 3 year period. It was for this reason, a few years ago, that their systems started creaking under pressure.
Carl Mumford, Financial Controller for Dolphin explains: “When I joined the business around 7 years ago, we were working on Sage Line 50. We worked to develop the system as much as we could to meet the needs of a successful growing business, but with the sheer number of transactions we were putting through the books as sales took off, the system was struggling to cope.”
With the system failing to meet the needs of this dynamic business, it was time for Dolphin to search for a more robust and scalable ERP system that could equip them for the exciting future that laid ahead.
A new beginning
A statement of requirements detailing what the business was looking or from its new ERP investment was created. This scope was sent to all the major ERP vendors. For some, Dolphin’s bespoke requirements were not a good fit. 4 potential partners were put forward to the demo stage. Potential suitors had a full panel of the great and the good to impress. As well as Carl driving the project, the senior team were well represented, including the Managing Director and Sales Director.
Carl explains: “From demo stage, we narrowed it down quickly to a head-to-head battle between two systems. We were clear we wanted a strong ERP system with an integrated CRM module.
“Both the final shortlisted products were very good. We felt that Epicor edged it out as it has the ideal blend of functionality and ease-of-use. We brought in some members of the sales team and operations team to see what they thought and they really saw the ease of use as being a significant factor too. We felt that everyone would be able to become familiar with the tool pretty easy. Crucially, we also could see that it could scale with us as we continued on our growth trajectory.”
Getting down to business
Dolphin got right down to work on implementing the system. Initially selecting Epicor Consulting to drive the installation project, they set to work attacking a fast-paced go-live process.
As is quite often the case with ERP implementations, things did not go according to plan straight away.
Carl comments: “One of the key individuals involved in the project was out of the business on maternity leave. This meant I had to balance my other responsibilities with a more hands-on role in the ERP implementation project.
“Aside from that, the project management side of things wasn’t as tight as it needed to be. We weren’t making ground quick enough. It became clear to me that we needed additional help from a third party to help us get to where we needed to be in a timely fashion.”
After being referred to Clear Business Outcome from another Epicor user, Carl got in contact. An individual was put on-site up to 4 days a week to manage the go-live process from an operational perspective over the coming weeks. With the support of Clear Business Outcome, Dolphin went live on-time.
Carl adds: “We would never had done it ourselves. We ended up needing a lot more setup and customisation of the Epicor system than we were initially expecting. Clear Business Outcome’s support and understanding of what was required was exemplary, and their help in project managing it and getting all the tasks done was exceptional.
Accommodating the growth
As a successful growing business, Dolphin are always keen to add new skills to their portfolio. They acquired FC Frost in October 2017 to add to their washroom product capabilities, which proved to be the ideal test for the scalability that they longed for back at the beginning of their ERP project. Following a two month process where FC Frost continued to operate as a stand-alone entity, the data load and integration was completed in December 2017. This has meant from acquisition announcement to operational go live has been a matter of just 8 weeks for their new business unit.”
Carl explains: “For us, as a business with big ambitions, it’s really important to know that we now have a system that can accommodate our requirements when we make a big jump forward.”
Looking into the future
Far from resting on their laurels, Dolphin are continuing to push the boundaries and ensure that their systems remain fit for purpose into the future.
Clear Business Outcome are supporting Dolphin through an upgrade process to 10.1.600.
CRM is a big focus. With specific requirements regarding the linking of accounts, contacts and opportunities the business wants to augment its offering in this area.
Carl comments: “We have a relatively complex buying process involving architects, contractors and wholesalers often involving a number of contacts looking at the same opportunity with our product set. All of this requires a different CRM approach going forward and we will be looking to augment our ERP system in the coming months.”
It’s not just CRM that’s getting some attention. With a new Epicor version update, a wider project looking at barcode inventory management, and a potential deployment of QBuild to integrate Epicor to CAD drawings – future development is set to continue at a brisk pace.
Why Clear Business Outcome?
For Carl, the strengths of Clear Business Outcome are clear:
“Clear Business Outcome’s support has been invaluable. They have really taken the time to understand our business. They are able to cut through the tech and translate it into real business talk to help set up sustainable processes that perfectly suit your needs.
“It’s all about a hands-on approach. They put someone on the ground who works in a proactive way to get things done on time and in line with the project’s objectives. For this reason, we continue to use them to this day on monthly update calls to help smooth over any challenges we have. It gives us all the extra support we need, or gives guidance on how we may be able to find a solution ourselves. It’s a true partnership.”