Mature Business, Modern Systems
When the 100-year-old, fourth-generation, family-owned business Ideal Concrete Block Co. needed to replace its end-of-life Falcon point of sale (POS) system, it turned to an expert. Management Consultant Steve Getto spearheaded the effort to evaluate, deploy and manage a robust POS solution.
Selling a proprietary line of concrete pavers, patio products, and retaining wall systems, Ideal Concrete processes up to 400 transactions a day during peak season. Sourcing a powerful, easy-to-use POS was critical. Getto acknowledged, “We liked our system’s ease of use; preserving that functionality was at the top of our list.”
Second, there was a pent-up demand for greater data accessibility, something Falcon didn’t offer. Getto admitted, “When we were assessing solutions, everyone was asking if they could put data into Excel. I would always respond that the goal was not to be using Excel.” An extensive due diligence process yielded Epicor BisTrack as the solution of choice. “It offered everything we were looking for, and I had familiarity with it and knew what it could do,” shared Getto.
Made to Fit
Ideal Concrete has a unique situation; it operates two discrete retail operations—hardscapes and hardware—supported by a full-scale manufacturing operation. Getto explained, “We run two companies, but want to maintain the look of one company to our customers.”
Epicor BisTrack was perfect because it allows Ideal Concrete’s two financial systems to be fed by a single POS. “When the hardware store sells something from the Ideal business, an internal transfer of product happens behind the scenes and vice versa. Customers never see that because the POS is very clean, and they get one invoice, pay one bill,” Getto elaborated.
“What we were able to accomplish demonstrates Epicor’s flexibility, both of the solution and the willingness of the company to consider novel ways of doing things.”
Furthermore, if Getto runs into an issue, he leans on EpiCare Support, saying, “If a matter is urgent, I have a response within hours, and it’s usually that the problem is solved. I can rely on them.”
Data That Works
The Ideal Concrete team achieved its data access dream with Epicor BisTrack. Getto said, “I can happily say that there aren’t many Excel spreadsheets today. The reporting capabilities have been a major win.”
Epicor SmartViews helps to offer a real-time look into the business, such as a number of tickets processed in a day. For longer-term analysis, Getto turns to Cubes. “Cubes let us examine the bigger picture. For instance, if we sold $2M of X product to distributors and increased this price by 5% and another priced by 4%, what is the impact on our total business? We can project what our business will look like next year,” he described.
In addition, Getto appreciates that Epicor BisTrack business intelligence features allow him to slice and dice data by customer type and sales areas, direct versus distributor sales, manufactured products as direct versus distributor. Getto remarked, “Epicor BisTrack gives us the ability to break the larger customer group down as fine as required. The capability to drill down from product level to customer or vice versa is huge.”
Building a Better Business
Overall, Epicor BisTrack helps to offer a range of benefits to the business. “Foremost is using the information to drive efficiencies by aligning the entire organization,” Getto revealed. “Your computer systems are the common language of the business, and I use Epicor BisTrack to foster culture and community.”
“It’s as simple as a daily report focused on a couple of key metrics to get everyone rowing in the same direction. Soon the problem is eliminated.”
Getto cited an example: Receiving orders incorrectly creates an inaccurate cost. When it hits a sales order, people notice the margin is wrong. A SmartView catches those receiving errors at the front of the process, facilitating an accurate product database. He shared, “It’s especially important in this inflationary time, to stay on top of our margins while prices are constantly changing.”
“Epicor BisTrack is helping our team become better businesspeople.” In addition, Ideal Concrete gained an unexpected benefit. As a manufacturer, the solution helped to enable the work order system to evolve into an effective costing system for the manufacturing operation.
“We’ve been able to adapt the work orders to our manufacturing business, running a costing report on each days production by product and production line. It makes it very easy to see how many cycles we ran, what we produced, and the value and cost of each unit. The detailed costing system that Epicor BisTrack has given us has been a nice surprise,” Getto revealed.
Before Epicor, Ideal Concrete was paper-oriented. Since Epicor, paper usage has been slashed by at least 75%, and continues to dwindle.
Getto observed, “Paper is money. Not just the cost of paper, but the handling of paper is time and money.” Since Epicor BisTrack’s implementation, people aren’t getting 300 invoices at the end of day and manually reviewing. They’re in the order monitoring function, reviewing orders and invoicing them as they come in throughout the day.”
It created a huge productivity boost. Getto disclosed, “One of the owners spent a lot of time reviewing invoices. When he retired, we didn’t need to backfill that task.” He continued, “Part of that was getting over the fear of issues in regard to pricing and margins. The hyper-focus on invoicing has been eliminated. Epicor BisTrack gave us confidence that inventory is in stock and is priced and costed correctly.”
Matching the Pace of Growth
Ideal Concrete was a major benefactor of COVID-19, driven by the desire for people to enhance their outdoor living. Getto divulged, “Our business doubled from 2017 to 2022 and without Epicor BisTrack, handling that surge of business would have been very difficult.”
He concluded, “We had challenges making enough product to handle the COVID-19 boom, but Epicor actually increased invoice accuracy, made it seamless in conducting the transactions and greatly augmented visibility into our business during this growth period.”