Unitherm is hitting the UK market using Acumatica

Chris McClelland, director at Unitherm

Unitherm is a supplier of heating solutions for residential and commercial applications in Ireland. Today, they announced their partnership with Acumatica Cloud ERP to support their expansion into the UK. 

Unitherm was established in 2004 and is well-known in Ireland for their innovation, design, supply and servicing of high-quality renewable heating and ventilation system solutions. With offices in Dublin, Galway and Cork they’re now expanding their business into the UK. Today, Unitherm opened its first hub in Exeter with several more hubs to follow over the next five years. Each hub will offer training, design services, distribution, as well as a wealth of knowledge in the latest renewable energy heating systems.

As with many businesses in the last year, Unitherm took the challenges of Brexit and the global pandemic to take stock of their operations. Unlike most businesses, though, Unitherm decided this was the time to expand. Director Chris McClelland says, “We already had our business plan in place for expansion into the UK which incorporated the various potential outcomes of Brexit. The pandemic meant we spent some time pivoting, to become a better version of ourselves. We felt that the pandemic and Brexit has created an opportunity for green energy solutions to lift the spirits of the nation, to provide employment, and to help with the fight against climate change. It’s the right time for us to replicate our Irish business in the UK.”

As a design and distribution firm, ERP is a core part of the operation and obviously an essential enabler in the business plan. McClelland went on to say “starting a new business in the UK gave us an opportunity to revaluate our current ERP system and we decided we would need a modern, dynamic and interactive system to suit our needs. The new ERP system had to be economical enough to support the UK operation as a start-up in its own right, which would have to stand on its own two feet with its own P&L. But the ERP would also have to be flexible enough to grow with McClelland’s major ambitions for UK growth.

Having assessed many major providers in the ERP market, Acumatica was the obvious choice because it could fulfil all of their requirements. Their user-friendly interface is an added bonus. McClelland says: “Some systems practically require an honours degree to use properly”, he says. “From order to dispatch to invoice, my mum could use Acumatica, because it’s designed to be clever without being complicated. Thanks to a beautiful user interface, users can get to grips with lots of functionality with minimal training; and as a start-up in the UK, employing new people, that’s really important. Similarly, building a business from the ground up, we did not want to have to invest in new servers and systems, so having ERP in the cloud was a natural decision.”

“But there was another criterion. Most ERPs force your people to change their processes. With Acumatica, we didn’t have to change anything – instead, the software helps us by automating previously manual jobs. For example, all our sales representatives get prompts; intelligent little nudges to progress orders. Serial numbers are stored from the start, so full product histories are available for every support call. It’s all so streamlined.”

Even though Unitherm already had a technology partner in Ireland, they wanted a strong and resilient partner that could service the needs of their expansion. “Pinnacle had a good approach; professional and responsive, and never overselling”, says McClelland. “Pinnacle has the size and infrastructure to help us as we grow. They were not the cheapest, nor the most expensive, but they were certainly the best. Their team took a structured approach from day one; with a delivery plan built around our business needs. In implementation terms, they shone.”