Forte & Jeld Wen - Working
Based in Oregon, USA, Jeld-Wen started as a small
millwork plant in 1960 and today is one of the largest manufacturers
of doors and windows in the world, with over 12,000 employees
worldwide. In August 1999, the John Carr and Boulton & Paul
brands were acquired from the Rugby Group and integrated into
the Jeld-Wen family. The company continues to be committed to
outstanding service, through the supply of joinery products,
to its customers throughout the United Kingdom.
Mike Ward, Jeld-Wen UK’ s Financial Director, recognises the contribution
and benefits of pro-active suggestions from the Forte team who regularly
suggest ways in which features can be used more productively. His
comments on the introduction of Forte and its contribution to the
ability to cope with the tremendous changes are unequivocal. He
"Our ability to react quickly
has been crucial over the last four years. Forte gave us that flexibility
and much more."
Doncaster based John Carr decided that its current in-house ledger
systems were not supportable in the longer term. Management surveyed
the market for a suitable replacement package and working partner,
and identified Forte as able to provide the flexibility required.
Implementation began immediately, and the system was installed running under
Windows NT with interfaces to the existing AS/400 systems, which continue
to service the Order Processing requirements.
Initial emphasis was on the introduction of the Forte Sales Ledger to enable a
more interactive approach to the account management of the existing £10m of
Meeting the Challenge
Immediately after installation, the flexibility of the new system was
challenged by the company’ s acquisition of a major competitor, Boulton & Paul.
Overnight, there was need to cater for double the turnover and amount of
customer receivables, and to provide for the integration and rationalisation of the
existing outsourced accounting facilities.
Forte rose to this challenge admirably, demonstrating its flexibility and
scalability, and within a few months, the new operations were consolidated
into Forte, and were administered uniformly from Doncaster. Now, Forte was
accounting for the combined operation with nearly £25m in receivables and
processing 40,000 customer invoices a month.
Implementing the Plan
Forte consultants worked closely with John Carr staff to rationalise and improve
the provision of the financial and management accounting requirements
for the combined operation.
The Forte General Ledger and integrated report writer were used to provide
the requirements for financial stewardship and timely reporting.
As part of the need to support local accountability, five sites became self-accounting
whilst contributing to the central consolidation.
The purchase ledger was introduced universally, and was used to
implement a cheque-less payment policy with all payments now made
routinely through the BACS system. Forte consultants provided active
input into this highly successful exercise by providing system-produced
invitation letters with fax-back replies. More recently, the Forte
Fixed Asset Register was introduced to provide improved control
in this important area.
There was now an opportunity to revisit the area of receivables management
to ensure that the power of Forte was fully harnessed to achieve increased
efficiencies with the Debt Management function. The large volume of accounts
and transactions, compounded by Corporate/Branch relationships had resulted
in a historically complex cash allocation and credit control requirement.
Again, Forte consultants worked closely with those involved to provide enhanced
convenience features to strengthen the already powerful Forte functionality.
Cash could now be applied against a branch or corporate account, and would
automatically be reflected in both views.
Debit note recognition was improved, and users had many ways of applying
cash, depending on what method was relevant in individual circumstances.
Return on Investment
Dramatic savings were achieved by reducing the number of staff required for
accounting functions, where 80 staff were reduced to a team of 35, providing
a vastly more efficient service. Increased efficiency also resulted in the
number of staff required to apply cash being reduced from four to one.
Efficiently working together
Forte was well established when the acquisition of Jeld-Wen presented a new
challenge to its ability to move with change. The new America-based owners
had their own coding and reporting requirements and local management was given
six months to implement these new standards.
Here, Forte consultants took a proactive role and suggested ways in which these
requirements could be met immediately. They were able to introduce a new coding
model, involving 10,000 codes, virtually overnight. Because of this, the UK
operation was the first unit to present its results in the first month, and
has continued to do so ahead of the rest of the world and within five working
days of the month end.
Geared for the Future
With these massive changes behind them, Forte is now routinely providing for
the accounting and management information needs, both locally and for
the Group, and stands ready to respond to whatever changes are demanded of it
in the future. Whatever this may be, the company remains confident that Forte
and its support team will be able to respond to the challenge.