Aiming high with AIRBOW

“Adaptiv’s industry knowledge gave us a real head start. That was very important to us.”

“The project was completed on time and the system does everything we wanted it to do. It’s worked so well that we’ve only needed 2.5 hours of support since go-live four months ago.”

AIRBOW Systems is the brainchild of a small group of builders in New Zealand. Frustration with the performance of framing guns used in the construction industry persuaded these entrepreneurial builders to join forces with some talented mechanical engineers. Together, they set out on a path of innovation and invention.

By 2016, the business had a viable framing nail gun product. The ergonomically balanced AIRBOW FRAMER utilises the clean, sustainable power of compressed air. The tool delivers faultless, professional performance on even the busiest building and construction sites. And unsurprisingly, given the market potential of the product, business boomed. From a tight core of people passionate about turning technology into products, the company shot up to a team of 15 ready to conquer the world.

Getting a head start on growth

In late 2018, Placemakers, New Zealand’s largest supplier of materials and hardware to the building trade, became AIRBOW’s first (and exclusive) New Zealand customer. AIRBOW contracted Mainfreight as their 3PL partner to distribute product direct to Placemakers’ stores.

Kieran Morgan, CFO of AIRBOW, was determined to do things right from the outset. “As a new supplier to Placemakers, we wanted to make sure that everything was as streamlined as it could be,” says Morgan. “We were determined to start off on the right foot, with the most efficient systems to record and automate all of the transactions between our companies. That’s when we got in contact with Adaptiv.”

In the search for a local integration partner, Morgan had discovered that Nikolai Blackie, one of the founders of Adaptiv Integration and their principal architect, had worked with Placemakers and thoroughly understood their processes. “Adaptiv’s industry knowledge gave us a real head start,” says Morgan. “That was very important to us.”

“We didn’t have any systems to record inventory,” says Morgan. “We’d developed our Unleashed inventory management software to suit our needs. But we wanted to integrate it with Placemakers’ financial and sales system and Mainfreight’s logistics system, to make the order, sale and despatch process automatic and hands-free. This would give us an efficient three-way flow of information.”

Adaptiv people, excellent results

“Nikolai and his team produced a plan of how the integration application would be developed and took us through the options. We had a short series of meetings about the project and exchanged some correspondence backwards and forwards during the development period,” says Morgan. “The project was completed on time and the system does everything we wanted it to do. It’s worked so well that we’ve only needed 2.5 hours of support since go-live eight months ago.”

”AIRBOW has a cloud-first IT strategy, so leveraging Microsoft Azure Integration Services for the project was a natural decision.”

Utilising SaaS platforms like Xero and Unleashed WMS, combined with requirements to connect to Mainfreight’s cloud-based logistics platform and Fletcher Distributions EDI endpoint, meant there was no burden of on-premises integration, making Azure Integration Services a perfect fit. The solution utilised the best of IPaaS and Serverless with Azure Logic Apps and Azure Functions for a scalable, micro-billed and easy-to-develop application that’s ready to grow alongside AIRBOW’s business.

Morgan is extremely positive about working with Adaptiv and has no hesitation in recommending them to others.

“Our response from them has been excellent. We’ve needed very little support time, but on the odd occasion when we’ve needed to contact them about any transactional issues, we had a very quick response and the outcome was successful.”

Seamless sales order processes

Morgan is delighted with the results of the project. “With the integration, all orders from Placemakers are directed straight into Unleashed. From there, Unleashed automatically generates and sends a sales order receipt and invoice to Placemakers’ ERP, and a picking list and dispatch instruction for Mainfreight’s logistics system – so they can ship to the Placemakers’ store.”

The system also manages stock returns, and issues credit notes automatically on the rare occasion there’s a problem with a product.

AIRBOW’s sales order process is as free of interference as it’s possible to be. The ordering, invoicing and despatch processes all happen in the background, seamlessly and efficiently, while the business focusses on new products and new markets.

And despite the added volume of transactions, AIRBOW hasn’t needed to hire further staff. “One of the reasons we wanted to implement an integration like this was to allow us to rely on the systems without having to bring on more people to do those chores.”

The future

AIRBOW’s compressed air technology is patented around the world, and the business is busy exploring other applications for their invention, both in and out of the construction business.

Morgan says that given the success of the AIRBOW FRAMER, the business has its sights firmly on the global market, with an as-yet-to-be-revealed new product he describes as ‘a real game-changer’.

And based on the impressive outcomes of this first project with Adaptiv, Morgan is fully confident that future integrations for AIRBOW will work just as perfectly.