Alberta Construction Safety Association
Trusts Sage 300 ERP
The Alberta Construction Safety Association (ACSA) is a not-for-profit organization formed more than 20 years ago with the mission of preventing construction-related injuries in the province. Today, the organization offers training courses, certifications, and other resources to its 48,000 members and the larger construction community. ACSA is making a difference; over the past 20 years, the number of construction industry fatalities and injuries in the province has dropped by more than 50 percent.
Separate Systems Add Work
When Lori Necyk joined the organization as its new CFO, ACSA had been using Sage 300 ERP* for many years. “Sage 300 ERP was our accounting software, there was a separate web commerce application, an Oracle database application, and finally an Access database,” she explains. “Nothing was integrated, and each application contained overlapping data, so we were constantly duplicating data entry to keep all the applications in sync.” For example, when someone called to register for a class, staff entered the registration information in the Oracle database, then entered the data into the web store for payment processing, and finally entered the receivable transaction into Sage 300 ERP.
“There was just too much manual effort involved,” says Necyk. “We knew there was an easier way to handle our operations, and we had support from the staff, management, and board of directors for a change. We began looking for an integrated solution.”
A Blueprint for Change
ACSA had an established relationship with a Sage business partner and together they launched a plan to tie the disparate systems together, forming an integrated and complete business management solution for ACSA. Sage 300 ERP and Sage CRM form the backbone of the system, with an eCommerce application from Iciniti Corporation, and custom programming to address the organization’s unique processing and workflow requirements. “Our Sage partner had the expertise to bring everything together,” Necyk says. “They were really phenomenal.”
Art Riendeau, the organization’s IT manager, notes that ACSA reviewed options other than Sage 300 ERP, but ultimately the Sage solution represented the best value and broadest flexibility. “Sage 300 ERP is a solid, powerful accounting application,” he says. “We were able to leverage our investment and expand it to meet the broader needs of our organization.”
ACSA relied on several disconnected software applications to manage its front- and back-office activities.
Sage 300 ERP, Sage CRM, and Iciniti eCommerce were combined to form a comprehensive business management solution.
Integrated systems eliminate the need for duplicate data entry and save the equivalent of one full-time employee each day, while improving accuracy.
Building a Business Management Solution
The Sage business partner converted the data in the Oracle application into Sage CRM, implemented the new Iciniti eCommerce Web Store, and added the Sage 300 ERP Inventory Control module. The result is an integrated solution that handles both front- and back-office operations for ACSA.
“Now all course registration phone orders are entered directly into Sage CRM, and online orders come through our web store,” explains Brent Schneider, IT programmer for ACSA. “If payment is made by credit card, it is processed automatically through Iciniti, which streamlines our workflow and makes refunds quick and easy.”
By tracking all course information in Sage CRM, ACSA has a complete history of the more than 2,000 courses and 100,000 students who attend courses annually, including whether the students passed. This is especially vital for the organization’s certificate programs, where students are required to complete a set list of courses. “Our business partner added an entire component to Sage CRM to manage our courses,” says Necyk. “The software lends itself to customization.”
Saving Time, Increasing Accuracy
“We have eliminated a tremendous amount of work,” Necyk says. “Now we are saving six to seven hours each day—the equivalent of one full-time person just in course registration handling. In addition, we are saving 2 1/2 hours each day in payment reconciliation.”
Students comment on the friendly, easy-to-use registration process, Necyk notes. “It is a win for everyone —our students, our member companies, and for us.”
Necyk also says accuracy has improved. “When you are rekeying that much data, inevitably something gets missed,” she says.
Customer service has improved, course transfers are quick to complete, and refunds are easier to process. Course confirmations and reminders are generated automatically by the software and sent by email to registrants to improve attendance rates.
Riendeau says that the benefits of ACSA’s new business management solution extend to every department within the organization. “By standardizing on a single platform, based on industry-standard tools, we have a system that is easy to use and easy to maintain,” he says. “Our old way of doing things was so cumbersome and complex that many people skipped steps or worked around the system. Now that we have an integrated system where everyone is working together and sharing the same information—we are much more efficient.”