Sports Equipment


Woods Canada relies on Vigilant for their entire accounting system and customer management: Point of Sale, Order Entry, and Invoicing, Inventory Control, Accounts Receivable, Accounts Payable, Job Costing and General Ledger.

by Andy Shaw

For those looking to establish a new company and searching for an accounting package to begin, take wisdom from a 115-year-old. “If there is anyone out there who is just starting a new business, Vigilant is the very best program to start with.”

This from Chris Vivani, treasurer for Woods Canada Ltd., Canada’s foremost manufacturer and distributor of sleeping bags, tents and other outdoor products. Though Chris Vivani is far from being even one hundred, Woods Canada dates back to no less than 115 years ago, precisely founded in 1885 in the Ottawa Valley of Eastern Ontario. Woods’ quality materials and workmanship first came to world attention when the company equipped troops in World War I. Since that time, Woods’ rugged outerwear and equipment have clothed and sheltered hunters, fishermen, and campers all over the world. So reputable is their gear, it was even chosen by the Canadian expedition to Mount Everest.

The original company’s business acumen turned out to be not quite as dependable as its products and Woods went into receivership in the 1980s. When it built back up once more in 1983, there was Vivani with a clean sheet. “We were doing all our accounting manually. Because the large, expensive IBM 360 we had needed special care and was expensive, it was sold by the receivers,” recalls Vivani. “We were doing all our accounting manually and looking for a new system. We were really starting from scratch.”Vigilant greatly eased their transition into automation. “In 1985, we met Jon Mainwaring [President of Vigilant]. We saw his program on a really great demo and we went with them. We’ve been with Vigilant ever since and I speak very highly of them.”

In particular, Vivani praises Vigilant for keeping up with these fast-paced times and Woods’ own expanding business needs. “The program was very basic at the time, but they’ve added more and more features as the company grew,” she recounts.

So now we have almost all the modules they offer. We have Sales Order, Inventory Control, Accounts Receivable and Payable, Job Costing, Sales Analysis, and the General Ledger. We also do order entry and invoicing with it. Our entire accounting system is on Vigilant.

And yet, she maintains that this sophisticated combination remains dead simple to use. “It is very user friendly and a really easy package to learn. That’s why I went with it in the first place,” Chris reveals. “Of course, it depends on the person and the number of modules they’ve got to know about, but there’s very little training needed and a person can be fully competent on the system in a couple of days.”

All nine of Woods’ salaried headquarters staff in Toronto use Vigilant as well as two others in the company’s satellite Vancouver office, designed to serve the Asian market. In either office users can access Vigilant remotely even from home. “What I like about it is that it ties everything together,” Vivani explains. “It’s a great system because as soon as you post something somewhere, it updates everything else. You don’t have to sit there and do a lot of manual entries.” Vigilant’s on-going service and support to Woods Canada is important to Chris Vivani.

We had a lot of support in the early years directly from Vigilant when we needed it. They didn’t leave us lying in the dirt, like some companies do, after we bought their system.”

With all this in mind, next time you venture into nature and come across Woods Canada’s familiar pine tree logo on the tent above your head, you may rest assured that this company has been vigilant about its quality in more ways than one.

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

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