Queensland-based fencing product company, Factory Direct Fencing (FDF), has used a combined ERP and CRM system to automate functions and help with expansion into Australian sales markets.

FDF managing director Glenn Hosking told Computerworld Australia that since it deployed the Sage ERP X3 system in early 2012, warehousing, manufacturing and distribution admin functions had been automated.

Search for distributors in theDistributor Directory

"We were doing a lot of transactions between our own companies and all of that is automated now in Sage. We no longer need to double up on that data entry which has been a big benefit," he said.

Hosking added that FDF staff can now do searches within the one warehousing system across the three different entities of the business.

"The previous ERP system we were running before didn't integrate with each warehouse," he said.

"It gives us a lot more transparency of fencing stock movements coming in or out of the warehouse."

Automation of admin functions has also meant the company was able to re-assign three internal admin jobs into sales and operations roles.

"The benefits have been two-fold. We're saving wages and because these admin functions are automated nobody sends out the incorrect orders," he said.

This has been important as while the company has an annual turnover of approximately $35 million, Hosking said that the fencing market is still "extremely tough" at the moment.

"We're linked to the building industry and feel the same pain as they do. Our market has shrunk by about 25 per cent over the past 18 months which means we have to work a lot harder and expand our markets," Hosking said. CRM

Expanding markets and attracting new customers is where the CRM module of the Sage system comes into play.

According to Hosking, the company uses CRM in two ways. The first is for automated email campaigns which it sends out to both new and existing customers. The second use of CRM is for the input of sales data which includes prospective customers and state/territory performance across Australia.

"At present, we have distribution centres in Brisbane, Melbourne and Perth. We haven't got a massive presence in the Sydney market at the moment so that is something we are working on for 2013."

In addition, FDF is looking to increases its presence in South Australia and the Northern Territory by targeting large station owners who require many kilometres of fencing.

"We also have a distributor in New Zealand and we're looking to expand with their help over there next year," Hosking said.

Follow Hamish Barwick on Twitter: @HamishBarwick

Follow Computerworld Australia on Twitter: @ComputerworldAU, or take part in the Computerworld conversation on LinkedIn: Computerworld Australia