The situation

New Plymouth-based Liquigas is New Zealand’s leader in bulk LPG handling. New Zealanders use over 160,000 tonnes of LPG every year, for heating, cooking, as a vehicle fuel and, of course, for the great Kiwi barbecue. Whether it’s used in a home, a restaurant, hotel, or industrial setting, around 50% of this LPG is likely to have started its journey through New Zealand at a Liquigas facility.

In operation since 1981, the company has depots in Port Taranaki, Auckland, Christchurch and Dunedin and is managed and operated by a team of 29 staff across these depots, all of whom are now using Dynamics NAV.

Prior to moving to Microsoft Dynamics NAV 5 in 2008, business systems were disparate, basic and largely manual – picture green screens and screeds of Excel spreadsheets – and depots outside of New Plymouth had no access to the finance system.

Before we had NAV people weren’t getting the information they needed until 20 days into the following month, when it was well past its use-by date; now we’re completing month-end processes in two to three days.

Bruce Lawrence
Finance Manager/Company Secretary, Liquigas

The pain

Before NAV, Liquigas’ reporting was done using multiple Excel spreadsheets. Processes were paper-based and left room for manual error. Month-end was laborious and time intensive, and resulted in delayed reporting, meaning that by the time critical business information reached the depots it was past its use-by date.

In addition to this, the introduction of new International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) necessitated more detailed reporting and greater visibility and levels of transparency across the business.

With these two key business drivers front of mind, it was clear to Liquigas that an ERP solution was needed that would bring together both information and people across the whole business, creating a strong platform for the future.

“One of our biggest business goals was to make information available to people at the press of a button, and to tailor this information to their needs, so they are getting only the information they need based on their role requirements,” says Bruce Lawrence, Liquigas’ Finance Manager/Company Secretary.

The solution

With a number of staff completing very physical work out on the plants, being on a computer is not necessarily how they want to spend their time. Mindful of this, NAV has been configured so that information is streamlined and role-based, with all users only seeing what they need to. For example, depot workers across New Zealand are able to get to their purchase order documents in one click and another click will take them to their load in load out (LILO) journals. Gone are the days of wasting valuable time hunting around for information: relevant information is easily accessible.

With its people playing a strong role in the technology journey, Dynamics NAV has gained Liquigas’ people’s buy-in. And now that people can see what is possible with NAV, and rely on the system for the core components of their roles, they proactively ask for incremental changes to be made that will give them even greater insights. 

A relationship designed for success

“We chose Intergen for its people, and we chose NAV for its ease of use, the familiarity of Microsoft’s look, feel and functionality,” Bruce says.

With Liquigas based in New Plymouth. Intergen ensures regular contact is maintained, and technologies such as Skype for Business helps with communication, check-ins and knowledge sharing. The Liquigas team receives quarterly visits from an Intergen consultant, focusing on enhancements and particular areas within NAV, which has proved to be a great opportunity for training and knowledge enhancement.

Key Liquigas staff also ensure they attend Intergen’s Dynamics Day each year; they believe it is a great chance to see what is possible and to get to know key people.

The future

Having upgraded to Dynamics NAV 2013 R2 in August 2014, and committing to future upgrades every two years, Liquigas is now enjoying the benefits of keeping up to date. These include the ability to take advantage of the changes, fixes and enhancements Microsoft has made in the product and get as much as possible out of NAV as their core system.

With a number of staff travelling around the country and a growing engineering team required to travelling around the depots, mobility is a key focus for future enhancements. This will see NAV readily available to staff on tablets and mobile phones, allowing everyone to work at any time, no matter where they are.

Other planned enhancements? Budgeting and forecasting add-ons are also on the radar. As is a move to back up in the cloud, ensuring the safety and accessibility of their information.

The gain

Dynamics NAV is now used for the majority of the business’ day-to-day running, and has given Liquigas a clean, tidy, simple system with great outcomes for all the various roles across the business.

“There has been a huge mental shift across the organisation. Seven years ago we had paper purchase orders; now everyone uses NAV, expects to use NAV – and wants to,” Bruce says.

The business case

With 29 staff spread across its four depots nationwide, and a need to share and access accurate, timely, role-based information across the business, Liquigas recognised a need to invest in a robust ERP system that would provide critical business insights, improve processes and give its people one single source of the truth.

The business value

  • Access to accurate, timely information providing a single source of truth
  • Search functions and filters make information-finding fast and user friendly
  • Improved reporting, time saving and business  efficiencies
  • Accurate monitoring of stock levels gives accountability for LPG volumes across the country
  • Accuracy of job tracking and access to historical job information
  • Efficient storage and access of data within a data warehouse
  • Month-end processes reduced from nearly three weeks to two to three days
  • Regular upgrades enable greater currency and ability to maximise the features available in NAV and across other Microsoft products


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