Successful IT partnership throughout the years
The holding company now encompasses health foods outlets, both wholesale and retailing through the internet. Throughout the last 35 years, House of Goodness has opened several businesses under their umbrella of companies. For example, farming with related and diversified services within House of Goodness itself, TBS Building Supplies, an independent builders’ merchant, ATMOS heating services and supplies, Skaino Services (building construction services) and ‘White and Bishop’ an outdoor leisure/sports equipment and clothing.
"...The organisation has indeed made significant savings already as gradually each company in the group has had its accounts drawn onto K8. Such savings are of great importance to acharitable organisation, and something which is a clear return of investment.”
Today, the House of Goodness group of companies employs nearly 250 people; the annual turnover is growing and now stands at nearly £16 million. In line with the group’s ethical policies, around half of all profits are donated to their working charities, to support all kinds of people in need, with a focus on the marginalized in society. The group holds high in its ethos principles of equality and valuing all members of the team. The group’s business processes and supporting operating systems have evolved and adapted over the years which has ensured continuing success.
House of Goodness and Kerridge Commercial Systems
The House of Goodness became customers of Kerridge Commercial Systems in 1989. Hilary Oldham, Finance Director at the House of Goodness explains: “We were impressed with the ‘Rev 7’ system as an accounts package. We liked its structure, found it easy to use, and particularly appreciated the high level of understanding shown by the Kerridge implementation team. We were also attracted to its affordability given the importance of maximising our charitable donations. Continuing with Kerridge has assisted as we have chosen to centralise the entire group’s accounting functions.”
Evolving IT solutions
House of Goodness faced several challenges with the ever increasing expansion of the business. It was then necessary to expand the IT functionality to ensure the business functioned as efficiently as possible. The objective was to incorporate its craft timber business and products into the system, utilise the sales order processing functionality and benefit from a modern graphical system. Upgrading to the latest version of K8 proved to be a very good solution.
In 2011, the group took a further upgrade to the K8.09 version, increasing their functionality and providing additional resilience from the Oracle database. In addition, K8.09 now provides a new General Ledger accounting system with enhanced data intelligence reporting, a flexible and simplified data exchange and mapping tool. The system now has 32 users, which also allows the House of Goodness to manage all of their charitable centers on K8, as well as the four commercial companies.
Hilary Oldham explains, “The K8 system helps the group link all areas of the business, from stores and warehouses to its charitable centers, in terms of staff resource. In this way, Kerridge Commercial Systems has supported management’s desire for providing a group service across several totally diverse entities. The House of Goodness now sees K8 as the group’s central accounts product, working out how to maximise its benefits when working alongside the other reporting systems the group uses. The business also needed to know its software provider could move with the times along with the group itself, for instance, moving towards mobile and internet friendly solutions for the trading operations where they are using K8.09 software.”
Today the group uses Kerridge Commercial Systems as a core IT provider; all of the group accounts and some of the trading outlets now operate on K8.
...The Kerridge team are highly knowledgeable and easy to work with at every stage...
Working with the Kerridge Commercial Systems team
Hilary Oldham explained: “We have been very pleased with the level of training offered by Kerridge throughout the relationship. The planning and implementation of training has been very good and the Kerridge team are highly knowledgeable and easy to work with at every stage. We have found the continuity of staff to be particularly helpful over the years and feel that Kerridge has attained a deep level of understanding about the group’s business and the particular challenges and limitations it faces.”
Long-term benefits and savings
“The ability of the K8 system to be user defined without having much bespoke work has enabled House of Goodness to set systems to facilitate employees with less experience and qualifications, to perform functions at a high level. The group finds it easy to structure the Kerridge accounting system within its own office systems to facilitate people doing things at this enhanced level.”
“The efficiency of the software solutions provided by Kerridge Commercial Systems has enabled us to do more - to adopt more of the group functions without having to increase staffing every time. As the company seeks to maximse the benefits of the K8.09 upgrade this will represent a real saving in terms of employee costs going forward. The organisation has indeed made significant savings already as gradually each company in the group has had its accounts drawn onto K8. Such savings are of great importance to a charitable organisation, and something which is a clear return of investment.”
As the House of Goodness group continues to adapt and grow, it needs software that does the same. The diversity of the House of Goodness business also requires specialist knowledge and expertise on the side of the group’s IT provider, in order to be able to offer real-world, effective solutions. The House of Goodness has found this with Kerridge Commercial Systems and the K8 system, and looks forward to a continually evolving and fulfilling relationship.
• Initially the Rev 7 software platform
• Upgrade to the K8.07 and K8.09 versions of K8
• Usability and efficiency
• Saving on employee costs
• Enhanced reporting facilities
• Supports the management function