Based near Birmingham, West Midlands Hire (www.westmidlandshire.com) has been trading as a family run business since 1973, originally based in Bridge Street, Smethwick. In 1997 West Midlands Hire moved to purpose built premises on Dartmouth Road a short distance from the West Bromwich Albion Football stadium and are still situated here today. In 1984, they opened a second rental depot in Dudley.
From the very beginning, they have been providing short term vehicle rental solutions to their varied customer base. The category of vehicles available to hire ranges from small vans to brick grabs right up to 44 tonne tractor units. Their fleet consists of leading manufactures such as Mercedes-Benz, DAF, MAN, VW and many more.
West Midlands Hire also operates a rental company, vehicle workshop and commercial vehicle sales, serving the Birmingham area. The vast majority of the WMH team have been with them for many years and have built up a wealth of experience within the commercial vehicle industry to include vehicle rental, vehicle sales and now vehicle maintenance.
In 2016 West Midlands Hire introduced contract hire to their list of services to cater for their longer term hire customers enabling them to provide flexible rental options to keep up with customer demand. In the same year West Midlands LDV was also introduced to the Dartmouth Road premises thus becoming the very first LDV manufacturer approved dealer since the official return of LDV.
Jason Horobin, Managing Director of West Midlands Hire contacted Jayne to ask if Sage could help with the information management and cost monitoring of its vehicle fleet. Jason had been appraising various industry standard solutions but felt that they were not quite right for the task he needed to be managed and he wanted a solution that would easily integrate with the Sage 50 Accounts system that they had been using at another company in the group, Thomas’s Vehicle Solutions (www.thomassgroup.com) to minimise the inevitable effect a new system would have on the sales, maintenance and accounting teams in Birmingham.
Sage 50 Accounts Training Workshop
After an initial consultation with Jason and Debbie Howells, Management Accountant at West Midlands Hire, looking through what data needed to be captured, Jayne felt that Sage 50 Projects might fit the bill and as they already subscribed to the top variant, Sage 50 Accounts Professional, they wouldn’t need to invest in more software.
During the one day workshop on site at Dartmouth Road with Debbie, Jayne customised the cost head analysis area, created each vehicle as a Project and posted selected supplier invoices to the records as well as setting up each workshop technician as a resource with their weighted hourly rate and posting their recorded hours on each vehicle to the Project record too. Jayne also showed Debbie how to upload images, files and worksheets to the Project record so that all of the staff who had been given access to the Projects area could store and view all of the individual vehicle data. As the recording of the technician’s hours are not a financial transaction in Projects, Debbie was relieved that it would not encroach upon the Payroll Nominal Ledger analysis by doubling up on postings. Finally, using the standard ‘Service’ style invoice, Jayne created a customised layout and produced a Sales Invoice document that automatically updated to the Customer record and crucially, recorded the sales value of the vehicle to the Project record. Jayne then customised a Sage standard report to give West Midlands Hire both a summarised and transaction detailed profit and loss report for each vehicle.
Using her experience with Sage 50 Accounts, Jayne spared West Midlands Hire the cost of buying and introducing another new solution and the expense of getting the sales, maintenance and accounting teams trained up on a new product with the inevitable down time that this process brings.