The Metropolitan Sewerage District of Buncombe County Implements Serenic Navigator
"Previously, all inventory tracking was done manually, resulting in days or even weeks of delay. Now it is done automatically with the push of a button, saving on average 12 man-hours per month.”
- Art Mandler, Information Systems Administrator
The Metropolitan Sewerage District (MSD) of Buncombe County is located in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Western North Carolina. The District is an independent municipality formed in 1962 under the North Carolina Metropolitan Sewerage Districts Act. It was created for the purpose of constructing and operating facilities for the treatment and disposal of the sewage generated by the 15 political subdivisions that comprise the District.
MSD employs about 155 full-time staffers, with duties ranging from maintaining sewer lines, overseeing 17 pump stations, operating the treatment plant, engineering sewer line rehabilitation projects, and monitoring industrial waste and reducing grease from restaurants.
Oversight of MSD is the responsibility of an 11-member governing board, which has developed a strategic plan for the future of the organization. The board’s budgetary process, which incorporates management by objectives, serves as a tool to translate planning objectives into work objectives on an annual basis. The District’s management team and employees carry out the goals, objectives and policies as set by the governing board.
MSD owns, operates and maintains a 40 million gallon per day wastewater treatment plant, which treats raw sewage and industrial wastewaters collected from an extensive network (approximately 950 miles) of public sewer pipes. The District also owns, operates and maintains approximately 60 miles of interceptor sewers that connect such sewers to the treatment plant.
Water treated by MSD is returned to the French Broad River, where it has a lower bacteria count than the river water itself.
When MSD began the search for a new fund accounting solution nearly two years ago, it sought a software program that would provide some basic, yet often hard-to-find, functionality. “We simply wanted a fund accounting package that increased our productivity,” explained Art Mandler, MSD’s management information systems administrator. “More specifically, we wanted easier reporting and data mining, full compatibility with Microsoft Windows, true multi-user functionality, clean code, and solid technical support.”
Mandler added that the organization’s top priority was a fund accounting solution that was easy to use. “Perhaps the greatest pain point that we were trying to overcome was ease-of-use,” he said. “Many people in our organization have an occasional need to access financial data. We needed a fund accounting solution that would provide these occasional users with an easy way to get the information they need.”
After thoroughly exploring the fund accounting landscape, Mandler and his colleagues selected Serenic Navigator from Lakewood, Colo.-based Serenic Corporation. “Although we’ve only been using Serenic Navigator for 13 months, we expect tremendous productivity gains in the years to come,” said Mandler, a seven year veteran of MSD. “Serenic has done an excellent job of taking the extremely clean code of Microsoft Business Solutions-NAV® and creating a highly effective fund accounting solution.”
Founded in 1999, Serenic Corporation, is a Microsoft Business Solutions industry solutions vendor and was recently named to Microsoft Business Solutions Inner Circle, an accomplishment earned by firms whose sales achievement ranks them at the top echelon of the Microsoft Business Solutions global network of valueadded reselling partners.
Serenic Corporation’s flagship fund accounting product, Serenic Navigator, is certified for Microsoft Dynamics®.
Mandler believes that no product will impact the small to medium-sized not-for-profit and government markets more dramatically than Serenic Navigator. “Serenic Corporation gives its clients the unique combination of young-company enthusiasm combined with the rock-solid dependability of the underlying Navision code,” he said. “Most vendors of fund accounting software are mired in legacy technology issues, which renders their products obsolete in today’s competitive environment.”
The software is used at MSD by eight full-time users and ten or more occasional users.
Regarding specific productivity improvements, Mandler noted that Serenic Navigator has allowed MSD to do real-time inventory tracking for the first time. “This is a very significant occurrence,” he said. “Previously, all inventory tracking was done manually, resulting in days or even weeks of delay. Now it is done automatically with the push of a button, saving on average 12 man-hours per month.”
Mandler admitted that other productivity issues are hard to quantify because Serenic Navigator was fully implemented a mere 13 months ago, but he said he fully expects five years or more of trouble-free use. “If my expectations turn into reality, it would be a very positive return-on-investment indeed,” he said.
Case Study developed in October, 2007.