Hardwood Flooring Company

From tracking customers to jobs…Vigilant aids hardwood flooring company

Barwood Flooring gains complete control of sales management, job costing and accounting with Vigilant’s integrated business solution.

by Andy Shaw

Burgundy Oak. It’s hardwood flooring to die for. A glistening square yard of Burgundy Oak hangs like a piece of art on the showroom walls of Barwood Flooring in east-end Toronto. For Barwood’s customers, the rich, dark hues of that sample slab of Burgundy Oak are but one of over 700 different hardwood floorings available to have installed from Barwood’s vast inventory.

But what they won’t likely see is the software controlling and managing that inventory. Vigilant Inventory Control is just part of a complete package of accounting, purchasing and sales management software that Barwood Flooring president, Vito DiFranco, has at his fingertips. And Vigilant has been with Vito since day one, indeed before day one. “It was a legacy system that had been here since 1986 or so when I bought the company in 1995,” explains DiFranco. “Barwood Flooring had been a chain of stores in various cities, all using Vigilant.”

With an eye to the growing corporate and home building markets for quality hardwood flooring in the Toronto area, DiFranco cleaned house when he took the location over through an employee buy-out. He reduced his management hierarchy. Still, he kept Vigilant. “You can bet that if I wasn’t happy with what it was doing for us, I would have replaced it too. It really does give me complete control of the business,” DiFranco reveals as he flips through Vigilant’s various screens on his speedy new PC. “It’s got a great reporting package and now that we’re into about the eighth upgrade of the software, it’s just getting better all the time.”

Using Vigilant, DiFranco can track Barwood’s complete inventory and see it automatically update as each sale is made. Report and analysis functions in the inventory module ensure that items are being inventoried properly and that the most cost-efficient inventory levels are being maintained. Any shrinkage of inventory becomes immediately apparent. Automated costing ensures accurate pricing of each and every item in the Barwood inventory. “Once you’ve entered a product, Vigilant will track it to pretty well anywhere,” relates DiFranco. “It doesn’t just disappear.”

As a result, DiFranco asserts that Vigilant makes it ideal for any retail business.

“I know a number of people, friends of mine, who have gone into different businesses and are using Vigilant successfully.”

Clients who’s floors glisten with Barwood hardwood floors range from stores such as Harry Rosen’s and Gap Clothing in the Toronto Eaton Centre to up-market homebuilders, school gymnasiums and even museums. For such clients, Barwood provides a complete flooring service. Its skilled installers lay, prepare and stain the flooring then polish it off with a finishing coat. Thanks to Vigilant’s built-in Job Costing Control function, DiFranco can manage the costs of each of these installation phases. Job Costing Control monitors labor and material charges, identifying any variances.

“We need to know that every aspect of the job is profitable and with Vigilant we can make sure of it,” says DiFranco.

To keep Vigilant software running smoothly for Barwood, DiFranco says he makes occasional calls to the Vigilant help desk. But for handling more serious upgrades or troubleshooting or integration, he says he relies on an independent consultant highly experienced with Vigilant software.

DiFranco doesn’t say whether the consultant or even an admiring freelance writer can cut a deal on having their home offices floored in that lustrous Burgundy Oak.

Andy Shaw is a freelance writer, broadcaster and international journalist with articles in many business and technical publications.

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