SAPPHIRE Management – a smarter management system.

“SAPPHIRE Management gives me a snapshot of my business at any time”

Although happy with the internal systems they had, several years ago Peter Owen, manager of Owen Truss, was on the lookout for smarter management systems.

“We have always kept good records and maintained a solid data base for monitoring our business, but even with the most diligent intentions, things occasionally fell-through-the-cracks,” Owen admits. “The systems we had in place were kept simple but they were systems (plural)… not one overriding management tool.

“At times they weren’t cohesive because information was in multiple places and, end-of-day reporting required manual processing. That all took time. And although we often output weekly reviews of workloads and workstations and the like, ready access to the ‘big picture’ was limited. We were looking for a better way to manage workflow through the office – especially with our estimating and detailing.”

It was only after attending a MiTek conference that Owen walked away knowing a solution was on the horizon.

“I was so impressed with what MiTek had to say about SAPPHIRE™ that I put my hand up straight away to be involved in the development of this fantastic program,” he says.

Owen and his team have been using SAPPHIRE Management for more than a year now, and they couldn’t be happier.

“Because we got in early at the development stage, we’ve played a part in how SAPPHIRE Management has been refined,” Owen says. “Plus, SAPPHIRE Management has the in-built flexibility to be tailored to a specific business’s needs.  Andy Scane [product manager SAPPHIRE implementation] and the developers at MiTek have been really helpful from day one.”

Owen says that both management and staff are seeing benefits already.

“SAPPHIRE Management enables us to maximise staff output – especially with estimating and detailing – without putting unrealistic workloads on people,” he says. “We can see where a job is at any time and, importantly, if someone has too much on their plate. We can spread the load evenly. This results in much less stress for staff and less chance of errors.”

Another advantage Owen notes: “If we see one staff member might have a better strike rate than others or is better with walls, floors or roof trusses, MiTek’s SAPPHIRE Management helps us to recognise where to focus training,” he says. “And on-going training is critical to any business wanting to survive and thrive in this very competitive industry.”

However, it’s a well-documented fact that people tend to resist change.

“People get in their comfort zones,” Owen says, “and I suppose I’m no different, but since introducing SAPPHIRE Management we’ve noticed improvements in the way we operate. Yes, it has meant a change in culture for our business, but it’s all been for the good.

The Owen Truss operational scenario is probably a bit different to most. The business has estimator/detailers in Melbourne, in Warrnambool (some 250km and three hours from Melbourne) and utilise the offshore services of Platinum Global in Vietnam.

“Being able to successfully monitor activity across three very different dynamics all in real time is vital to our future operations,” Owen says. “SAPPHIRE Management does this perfectly, allowing us to break down quotes and orders by individuals, by groups and by clients.”

The Owen Truss production plant is in Warrnambool, while Owen and eight staff are based in Springvale, 23km south-east of Melbourne’s CBD. Owen Truss services Melbourne and a host of larger rural communities north and west of Warrnambool, reaching into South Australia and as far north as the Murray River towns and beyond. Yet it is this tyranny of distance that reveals yet another advantage MiTek SAPPHIRE Management delivers.

“We run our own fleet of trucks, and optimising our delivery network is very important,” Owen says. “The last thing we want is a half-loaded truck heading up the Princess Highway. In fact, all of our trucks do at least two drops a day – some three to four! We’ve found MiTek’s SAPPHIRE Management has helped us build loads a lot more efficiently because we can see everything a lot better than in the past. It’s like the right hand knowing what the left hand is doing. We can now plan our loads better.”

SAPPHIRE is the management program that the timber industry has always needed, Owen believes.

“It’s brilliant,” he says. “I look back on the old systems we employed, thinking them very efficient at the time and wonder how we coped – it seems so long ago now.”

For more information, on Owen Truss, head to

For more information on SAPPHIRE Management, head to