Chubb Electronic Security has replaced manual processing of its customer base with a sophisticated automated billing system from EasiRun Software, which complements Chubb's core Impact accounting package.
Key advantages of the new system include streamlined data processing, as a result of decentralisation, ready access to current information to generate reports and respond to inquiries, plus year 2000 compliance to counter any concerns posed by the millennium switch.
In addition, Chubb has embarked on an acquisition trail and EasiRun's system modifications facilitate smooth integration of new subsidiary companies.
"Chubb has to generate monthly accounts for a base of thousands of corporate and domestic customers," says Chubb Electronic Security's chief information officer Sakkie Booysen. "Accounts are subject to fluctuations, including annual escalations at varying rates, while new clients are added regularly and some customers fall away. There is also a wide range of product categories.
"The standard Impact package doesn't make provision for that type of billing, so EasiRun has devised an add-on system which creates export files for use with Impact. EasiRun has provided the extra fields that don't exist in Impact, while it links with Impact's debtors' master to ensure that Chubb is not operating two separate systems."
"EasiRun's add-on modules also generate invoice files for Chubb, which are sent to an external supplier for printing.
"The solution has proven highly successful, providing the flexibility Chubb requires."
According to EasiRun Software MD Charmaine Strydom, the first billing run on the new system took just seven minutes, instead of the 14 hours taken on the old system.
In the past, Chubb's data was processed on a mainframe, with the organisation's 15 branches countrywide submitting documents for manual punching in. Likewise, anything requiring printing had to be submitted to head office.
Now Chubb's offices are connected via a Diginet-based TCP/IP Unix network, providing branches with far greater autonomy and flexibility. "Decentralised processing is a major benefit of the implementation," says Booysen.
"It eliminates a great deal of internal moving of documents, while ensuring that branch staff have access to information. Previously requests for information had to be sent via internal mail, now online screen enquiries can be conducted and reports generated on the spot.
"While users have to be trained on the new system, EasiRun's add-ons are highly user-friendly."
The new system is fully operation, with both having run in parallel for two months to ensure that account information reconciles.
EasiRun has also written an add-on module to facilitate automatic debit order payments, which Chubb favours. By creating payment files and automating procedures, while linking to Impact, the module eliminates a great deal of manual work.
FlexGen's report writer module, also supplied by EasiRun, enables Booysen to extract reports for e-mailing to branches. "The sky's the limit when it comes to report writing," says Booysen.
Booysen had contracted with EasiRun in the past and had been impressed with the organisation's professionalism and flexibility. "In fact, Chubb's specifications were extended several times during this project, with new reports and procedures required - the more the system gives users, the more they want! EasiRun was able to accommodate these new demands comfortably."
EasiRun's solution was also highly competitive price-wise, according to Booysen. In addition, service levels provided have been "very good". "If Chubb has required a new add-on or report, EasiRun simply writes what is required and mails it through. A small modification in invoice layout, for instance, took less than two hours from the initial request until the change was delivered."
While ongoing support is being considered, currently an EasiRun staffer goes on-site at Chubb once a month to ensure that the system is running smoothly. This has proved crucial as Chubb has acquired partner companies in its bid to dominate the security market.
Acquisitions include Security Call, SeaPoint and Bedford Patrols, while further purchases are still in the pipeline.
"We also acquire these companies' billing decks and EasiRun has been instrumental in exporting data from various accounting packages, then converting it to slot in Chubb's data. Using the manual procedures of the past, these conversions could have taken a month - now all that data is captured in a day."
The value of Chubb's contract with EasiRun is R130 000, including implementation and training, with EasiRun providing enhancements to the custom software suite on request. The contract allows initially for 96 users, to expand to 128. Chubb, one of South Africa's largest security services providers, was created more than a century ago. It is now part of the international Williams security conglomerate.
For details contact Charmaine Strydom of EasiRun Software on tel: (011) 421-4800.
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