TSG implements Sage 200 for Paultons Park
Based near Romsey, on the edge of The New Forest, Paultons Family Theme Park offers a fun day out with over sixty rides and attractions in a unique environment for an all-in price. The Theme Park is also home to the UK’s first and world exclusive Peppa Pig World, based on the well known children’s television character.
Paultons Park Ltd celebrates its thirtieth anniversary in 2013. It has around eighty full-time staff and approximately 450 staff employed during a season.
"Often, when you implement a new system, users find it hard to let go of how things were before. But there’s no nostalgia for our old system. We can do more, more easily, with Sage 200. We have a better springboard for going forward."
Commercial Director Steve Lorton explains why the company decided to migrate from the Sage Line 100 system it had used for over seventeen years, "The system was nearing end of life in terms of support. In addition, for some time we had felt that it was holding us back. We were experiencing strong business growth and, while Sage Line 100 was easy to use and had given us sterling service, there were areas where it struggled, such as making BACS payments to suppliers and consolidating different lines of input. We wanted to streamline our processes and benefit from more functionality and better reporting to manage our growing business."
All these factors – technological and commercial – made it the right time for Paultons Park to seek an alternative business management solution. Halfway through 2011, after discussions with Sage Business Partner TSG, the company selected Sage 200.
Commenting on the decision, Steve says, "We were already very familiar with Sage, so in many ways it was the natural next step. We trusted TSG to deliver a solution that would closely align with our business goals."
The solution was scheduled to go live in January 2012, just before the start of the new season. For Steve, the migration to Sage 200 went surprisingly smoothly: "I’d expected there to be disruption, but the implementation never stopped us operating. The TSG team worked closely with our General Manager for Finance & Administration, who acted as our internal project manager, to ensure it all went well and to tailor aspects of the software to our specific requirements."
The success of the project is particularly noteworthy as the move to Sage 200 was made against a backdrop of wide-ranging investment in the company’s IT infrastructure, to support its back-office and front-of-house operations. Around the same time as installing Sage 200, Paultons Park upgraded its server structure and installed a new EPOS system, tills and admission system (based on the Sage POS solution), all with the help of TSG Steve says, "We are prepared to invest to develop our business. We wanted to establish a firm foundation for future growth without the compatibility issues that can arise from having ageing technology. The IT infrastructure we have now will give us ample room to grow over the next five years."
Today, Sage 200 is an integral part of the Paultons Park business, reliably supporting its financial operations, including the straightforward BACS payments and ability to consolidate different lines of input that were on the company’s original list of priorities.
TSG has also written specialist reports for Paultons Park to produce the management information necessary to maintain control of the growing business. All profit and loss based reports are now completed automatically using the business intelligence reporting tool, which generates reports that can be accessed by all authorised users in the business.
Steve says, "Often, when you implement a new system, users find it hard to let go of how things were before. But there’s no nostalgia for our old system. We can do more, more easily, with Sage 200. In fact, in the early days, we were constantly surprised by just how much it could do for us. We’ve found it much more flexible in the ways we can feed information in and extract reports out of the solution. This information helps us to analyse the business, looking at activities such as invoice reconciliations at a departmental level – a facility that we’re looking to grow and use more extensively over time."
TSG provides management and support for all Paultons Park’s IT infrastructure, including Sage 200. Steve says, "The relationship works very well. We have a single point of accountability and an expert team taking care of our IT. This frees us from technical concerns, so that we can focus on our business and on giving young families a great day out."
The Paultons Park business continues to grow and a new 30,000 square foot building is planned for the 2014 season.
Alongside this, the company continues to develop its IT systems to support the business. A project to link Sage 200 with the electronic point of sale stock control and ordering system is nearing conclusion.
This will ensure a smooth flow of data, such as purchase orders, invoicing and approvals, from day-to-day operations into Sage 200. This link is planned to go live in time for the 2013 season. It will replace the time-consuming current manual process where paper invoices are passed between departments for sign off. Being based on a SQL platform, Sage 200 facilitates this kind of integration.
As the first anniversary of the Sage 200 implementation approaches, Steve says, "We feel as if we’ve had Sage 200 in place for ever. As the business has expanded, it has grown in complexity and Sage 200 has helped us to streamline our business processes. We have a better springboard for going forward."
- A powerful system that generates reliable management data
- A system that staff rapidly came to rely on as an integral part of the business
- Processes have become more streamlined and efficient
- Flexible reports help in managing business growth
- Long-term, expert support from an experienced Sage Business Partner in TSG