Meissner Manufacturing is a leading swimming pool and spa filter element manufacturer based in Chatsworth, CA. They manufacture popular and industry standard Unicel filtration products.
Terry Nielson has been the Credit & Collections Manager at Meissner for over 20 years. He manages the entire accounts receivable (AR) portfolio, a role that requires him to have a thorough understanding of the entire credit to cash process.
Unique payment terms require a configurable software
After outgrowing an outdated ERP system, Meissner chose HarrisData Software to manage and integrate the functional areas of their business. Because of the nature of their industry and unique payment terms, Nielson and his team also required configurable business intelligence software to complement HarrisData. They needed software that would bolster their ability to access data and quickly create reports with the flexibility to fit their unique processes.
“We have specialized payment terms that are not normal in most industries,” said Nielson. “Many software packages simply cannot handle those terms.”
Not having quick access to data would slow down Meissner’s ability to know which customers are in highest debt, which invoices are past due, and other similar pieces of information crucial to running a successful business.
Getting vital information quickly and in one spot with Sequel
While attending the HarrisData User Conference, Christine M. Schaeffer, PhD, MBA (VP of Administration at Meissner) and Mr. Nielson attended a Sequel presentation while looking for a piece of software to pair with HarrisData to create reports and give their team the ability to access key business data. It also needed to be intuitive enough that users without a technical background could still utilize it. On seeing Sequel in action, they were convinced it was the right fit for their needs: “Once we saw Sequel, we were pretty much convinced that it was what we wanted to go with…we were sold right away.”
Quickly incorporating Sequel into their AR processes, Nielson said that the ability to run account queries and pull data into personalized views has saved him and his team valuable time. “I can tailor whatever information I need out of our database. And so that's why Sequel is so integral for us. I could pull any piece of data I want out and I can actually have my views in the format I needed.”
Nielson added that the positive results can be seen not just in their AR process and reporting, but for processes across the company. “I've created probably more than a hundred different views since we've started using the Sequel software. It helps in the processing of reporting information and many things that I need to do my job.”
Meissner created reports and saved over 100 hours of manual report-building per month
“I wouldn't be surprised if Sequel has saved us over a hundred hours a month with all of the things that we've created and streamlined,” said Nielson of Sequel’s impact on how they operate.
Among some of the most useful reports Nielson has created include:
- An aging report that accommodates unique payment terms and can be run on the fly to quickly access overdue invoices.
- A credit reference inquiry view that has allowed the Meissner team to quickly answer the frequent credit reference requests they receive in minutes, all in one place.
- A required AR overview report for all members of a national trade credit group, which needs to fit a specific format. Once a manual process, this report is now quickly and easily exported directly from Sequel.
- Automated customer statements have allowed customers to receive monthly statements automatically, something previously not possible with Meissner’s payment terms.
“Automating customer statements has been a real benefit,” said Nielson, adding that getting customers to reach out to him with account questions—instead of the other way around—has been a large timesaver and ultimately customers are paying invoices quicker.
Even after his positive initial impression of Sequel, Nielson has been surprised to find it is more powerful than he first thought: “There's a lot of potential. I know that I basically can do just about anything I want by accessing the data in our database using Sequel. That’s a powerful tool. That's something that we needed. And I don't think we really knew we needed it until we started getting into it.”
The Meissner team worked closely with HelpSystems technical support while setting up personalized views and reports in Sequel. Nielson also attended an in-person training course at the HelpSystems office in Schaumburg, IL. “It was great, other than the snow” laughed Nielson. “I definitely learned a lot and I recommend anybody that gets the software to take the class in Schaumburg. It is well worth the investment.”
When it comes to how he sees Sequel fitting in with Meissner moving forward, Nielson isn’t content to rest on his laurels. Whether it’s becoming more familiar with reporting dashboards or creating more sales-centric views in Sequel for the sales team, Nielson is actively looking at new ways to incorporate Sequel.
“There's an easy use for Sequel across the entire organization,” Nielson concludes. “There are so many things that can be done.”
Saved 100+ hours of manual report-building per month
Developed several personalized accounting reports to fit unique payment terms
Automated customer statements and increased the speed of invoice payment