Gunner’s Office Equipment is a 57-year-old family-run business. This is the story of the journey invested by Nick and his team to evolve the business into becoming more competitive and relevant in the market.
A bit about our family
We service the regional town of Warrnambool and its surrounding areas, a region that we love. We have always provided local businesses with the latest office technology and business solutions, whatever that might have been at the time. When we first started, typewriters and desktop calculating machines were cutting edge and to think where we are now - the mind boggles at what’s still to come. We have always prided ourselves on our capacity to stay ahead of the curve and ensure that the businesses we work with are getting the most up to date technology and information. Our industry is moving too fast for our clients to keep pace with and we believe it’s our role to help cut the path for them and make sure they are getting the right solutions to solve the challenges they encounter day to day - all of which we also experience.
As a Business Owner and Business Manager, we're in charge of planning and strategy for the Gunner business. We’re also involved in every aspect of the business, from finance and accounting, marketing and sales, to customer service, human resources and legal. These tasks carry great responsibility and require a lot of day-to-day juggling. We have to wear many hats!
The tipping point
Before some of the recent advancements in technology, our office was a completely different place. We had the standard environment that most other businesses had, with a single shared server network. Our document storage was split between digital and hard copy. The biggest challenges we were experiencing were that information was being stored where-and-how the individual wanted to save and store it - there wasn’t a top-down approach to it. So when staff went to find information where they thought it might be, a lot of the time it wasn’t there - but it was somewhere else, we just didn’t know where to look. Trying to retrieve documents was slow because we never knew if what we were looking for was on the server, or if it had been printed and filed somewhere out back. The environment also meant that often documents got reprinted, wasting time and paper.
Like most businesses, information is generally linked to a business process - we print the information out as a part of the process, whether that’s for an approval, so that someone else can use part of that information as part of the next step in a process or whatever it might be. It’s one of the greatest issues that all businesses have - where is this up to in the process and is it the most recent piece of information? Information really is the key piece to all processes and we were finding that with so many moving parts to our business - the information trail really wasn’t keeping up, and trying to rely on something like printing and shifting that information around when parts of our processes were digital, really wasn’t cutting it any longer.
Having been an authorised Canon partner for 40 years, we are always being exposed to new and innovative ways of working. The transformation to digital was really the next logical step as the crossover between old ways of working and newer technologies were widening - we had to find a way to shorten the gap and this is where Therefore really stood out to us once we got to understand how we could leverage it in the right ways.
Today, we use Therefore™ as a digital repository for employee records, customer contracts and client information Any one of our staff can easily find the information they need, and due to version control and traceability of each document, it’s easy to see which information is the most recent and accurate. Therefore™ gives us a single source of truth that we can rely on. When one of our technicians finds a solution to a problem, they can store this information in Therefore™ as a record for the next technician to use when needed. When clients call, we can be confident that we’re giving them up-to-date and correct information instantly.
Therefore™ has made life easier for us. The biggest and best results have come from how convenient and intuitive this system is to use. We’ve seen a speed-up in our workflows and better data accuracy. Repetitive and important processes are now automated so we can accurately view data in real time to see where things are.
These problems don’t just exist in our business, these are problems that every small business faces. The framework of business is always very similar but the ways in which the work gets done will always vary and that’s the challenge. Therefore has allowed us to create standardised approaches across all key areas of business and there’s now just one single approach to how the work gets done - which has a positive knock-on effect. The great thing is though, we have been there and done it - so now when we meet with other business owners, we understand where they are coming from. This helps us come up with effective ways of solving similar issues to those which we faced.We are able to show them precisely what the software can do to streamline their business processes. It’s heart-warming to see them gain many of the same benefits that we have. It saves our clients time by automating labour-intensive tasks. For example, one of our clients would spend two days a week matching purchase orders and invoices. Now that they’re using Therefore™, and that same process is digitised, it only takes them two days a month.