2013 was an exciting year for us and we thought it would good to have a look at the highs and lows of the year.
Staff in 2013:
We ended 2012 with 4 staff members. We are ending 2013 with 9. With the planned growth, we expect our staff count to more than double by the end of 2014.
In 2013 we welcomed (in order):
Sam – Chartered Accountant
Phillip – Senior Technician
Joy – Chief Operations Officer
Garth – Senior Technician
All of our new members quickly became part of the team and they have all performed exceptionally well. We really have an excellent team at Platinum Repairs and the fruits of the work have paid off through the years. Each member is an asset and we look forward to growing together and pushing each other to reach new heights in 2014.
Vehicles in 2013:
1 x Chevy Spark written off by a Mitsubushi Triton. Thankfully Phillip only sustained minor injuries despite being hit from behind at 100km hour, the brakes failing and the car flying out of control across 4 lanes of traffic on the N3 during peak hour.
4 x vehicles added to the growing fleet.
1 x Hyundai i10 hit by a Hilux. No injuries this time and the vehicle was not written off.
Thanks go to Ryan, Raymond, Meliska and the the team at TuffStuff insurance for always helping us when needed. They run an amazing insurance company. Although they specialise in 4×4 cover, they also provide world-class cover for both businesses and individuals.
Successes in 2013:
In June 2013 we began repairing Samsung devices. This was after many customers literally begged us to help them – they were battling to find a reputable Samsung repair centre that could offer the same service levels that we offered to Apple device owners. Although the move into Samsung has been capital intensive, it has been worth it. Garth is a Samsung expert and has helped the team get up to speed on the devices. We have tried to stay highly focused on the brands we repair so that we can offer far higher levels of service compared to what can be expected from a “general phone repair shop”.
On the 17th of October we attended our first SIAS Starlight Awards. SIAS is the company that works with all the OUTsurance Service Providers. It was really exciting for us because we had only been on their panel for 11 months and it was our first foray into working directly for an insurance company. At the end of 2012, Platinum Repairs was awarded the contract to be the sole Apple iPhone and iPad repair agent for SIAS. It was a great honour for us and we did everything in our power to provide the same level of service to OUTsurance clients as we do for our private clients.
We walked away with two awards:
- 3rd in Gauteng for CSI (Customer Satisfaction Index)
- 2nd Nationally for Excellence
This was an unbelievable achievement for such a small team and we were bowled over by the kind words that they had to say about us at the awards ceremony. They explained that they had initially been nervous about appointing us because we would be getting in the way of their customers getting new devices and they suspected that clients would not be impressed with us at all. We would now be repairing their devices, where in the past the device would have just been replaced. Through a combination of good customer service as well as only using the best available parts and not cutting corners, we were able to achieve industry leading customer satisfaction levels.
Difficulties in 2013:
Building a rapidly growing business isn’t easy. At the beginning of 2013 we were running on Pastel My Business, an online accounting solution. As the business grew, we battled to keep track of all our stock that was spread out between 5 technicians and our head office. Pastel didn’t offer multiple warehouse tracking and we had to look for a better solution.
Quickbooks Online was recommended to us and at the outset it looked like it would work well however once we got into it, we found the stock tracking to be lacking. We tried using various plugins to get the system to work but nothing could properly serve our needs. After only a few months after moving everything over to Quickbooks, we had to write off all the money spent in the move, and began looking for another solution.
Sam, our CA, began looking for a fully fledged ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) system that could combine Warehousing, CRM, HR and the accounting functions of the business. After doing much research, we settled on the open-source ERPNext system. At the moment we are still running the accounting side on Quickbooks but will be making the transition to ERPNext within the first week of Jan. We are already running our warehousing on the new system and have only been impressed so far. We can now track all of our parts and locations, set up automated purchase orders, and manage faulty part returns. If you run a small to medium business I would suggest you look into this system. While it’s a fully fledged ERP system, it is open source and affordable, compared to the likes of SAP and Oracle. Even large manufacturing businesses use this system with great success. It can either be hosted in the cloud, or on your own server.
In June we lost approximately R65,000 in stock to theft. We can’t go into the details here but we were not able to claim from insurance and our cashflow took quite a hit. Thankfully we were able to recover quite quickly and have taken precautions to prevent this from happening again.
Plans for 2014:
Retail Repair Centre:
We are planning to open a state-of-the-art repair centre in Johannesburg in early 2014. This will be followed up quickly by stores in Cape Town and Pretoria. We have proven ourselves through our on-site service and we are now ready to take on the competition on the ground. We are busy considering at a great store in a popular shopping centre in Rivonia. We have a lot of vision for the store and while we haven’t figured it all out yet, we can promise it’s going to be something special – a place where customers will love to be, even if they don’t have anything for us to repair.
We have enjoyed fantastic success working with SIAS and OUTsurance in 2013. Through Platinum Repairs, the companies were able to offer an on-site repair service for their insured clients – something that has never been done before in SA. We also started with a salvage recovery program later in the year. In 2014, we are looking to expand on this by partnering with insurance companies, both for repairs and electronic salvage. Any leads or assistance in this regard would be greatly appreciated.
To all of our loyal clients: We couldn’t have done this without you. We really appreciate the encouraging compliments you have given us and we look forward to working with you in 2014. We will continue to work on improving ourselves and the business, revolutionising an industry that is not known for good customer service, while continuing to upset the rest of the “Apple cart” and keeping them on their toes.
May 2014 be an exciting and prosperous year for you all.
Brad Eyre and the Platinum Team