E24 – Nice Link
MFX up and under
lEpisode 24 of the ERPodcast – Nice Link Home Furnishings – a distribution story of Digital Transformation in the Age of Covid… if you’ve been listening to the ERPodcast for any time, we’ve been telling stories of how resilient companies are using cloud software and digital transformation to survive, and in some cases even thrive in the covidian economy –
this week, It’s Jay Carlson, President of Nice Link talking about how their business turned to Acumatica, the Cloud ERP, as well as Acumatica Partner Net At Work, – – – initially to save money – – as Jay will put it, ‘he couldn’t keep throwing labor and spreadsheets at the problem’. Later Nice Link would find entire new lines of business made possible by simple digital integrations – so it’s a real life story of taking on an ERP project at the height of covid, and having the project succeed wildly – allowing Nice Link to actually Profit From ERP – see how I slipped that one in there.
This podcast is not wild claims of how ERP is an end all – but how a growing company can use ERP to better connect, to extend sales options, to process orders electronically – and go from QuickBooks and spreadsheet inventory to 7 shared warehouses nationwide with complex cross selling all integrated into the system. Then getting closer to their customers with electronic integration into Wayfair, Costco, Macy’s and others – and how when the pandemic had everyone working from home, and everyone shopping from home – Nice Link was the right products at the right time and business exploded.
Will your business be able to do the same? The answer is, with some creativity, flexibility, working with the right consulting team and the right software – the sky’s the limit. And as Jay says, you can’t keep throwing labor and spreadsheets at the problem – ProfitFromERP is a more effective and efficient answer – We’ll be right back with Jay Carlson – all in today’s episode of the ERPodcast
Endorsement Spot – Net@ Work v2.0
Welcome back to the ERPodcast. Let’s get started – let’s kick off as it were, with Notre Dame football. I’m not a particular Irish fan, but they’re always on TV – every Saturday in the fall whether they’re playing Michigan or an all-girls high school football team – it’s on TV – I think it’s either a FCC must carry regulation or maybe has something to do with ratings, but the other day I’m watching and the halftime show comes on – and this is the part where universities show everything non-football related that goes on on campus, because we all know there’s really nothing football fans like better than non-football topics, but anyway, it turns out there’s some professors at Notre Dame helping to design and create space suits for astronauts and they made the following statement – ‘Making a new spacesuit is not measured in months or years but decades’ meaning it takes more than 10 years to come up with a new design. Now we’ve talked about Willamson’s law, ‘Everything’s simple if you don’t know a damn thing about it’ – and I would list space suits pretty low on my chart of areas of knowledge – but a decade for a new space suit? That seems like a lot. But if that’s the expectation…well you know, they’re probably right. It probably does take them 10 years.
Now to change the subject – let’s talk about vaccines and drugs getting to market – at Profit From ERP we’ve worked with many pharmaceutical manufacturers as software clients – going back to the 90’s and we know clinical trials can easily stretch on for 5 years or longer before they release a new drug or vaccine – that’s been the normal expectation – again for decades. But last week we had recent announcements that actually two covid vaccines were entering final approval, only 8 months after Covid reared it’s viral head. How did we go from 5 years to 8 months, well for one, the expectations had been changed – and of course as well as a few of the standard protocols – as long as safety wasn’t compromised. And what formerly took 5 years is now coming out within months.
So what does Notre Dame’s spacesuits and Pfiser’s covid vaccine have to do with ERP?
Traditionally, a mid-sized ERP implementation took 9-12 months. Over the years, cloud ERP project dropped down to 3-6 months.
And when the pandemic hit, there were basically two camps of business management – one said, ‘Preserve capital at all costs – and wait to see what will happen’ the other camp said ‘Preserve revenue at all costs – find new ways to reach our customers where they are in a post covid world’ – Again, these are generalizations, and different industries are affected in different manners. But here’s the deal – if your expectations are that ERP takes so long to implement that it stops you from moving forward? You’re probably right. Just like the spacesuit guys at Notre Dame
And what many wait and see businesses will see after they wait, is that they’re customers have moved on to other providers that shifted market strategy to meet the customer where they were.
Well, today’s episode talks to Jay Carlson President of Nice Link – and they launched Acumatica, the Cloud ERP in June – yes – they’d been in the planning stages, evaluations and such, but how easy would it have been to put the whole project on hold in Februrary when covid fueled uncertainties were exceeded only by the false predictions of the coming covid impact.
And had they taken the quote cautious unquote path and said, let’s put this ERP thing on hold til we see how the market shakes out, Nice Link would have missed out on one of the hottest home furnishings market in recent history. It’s true, as people started working from home, well, the home office took on a new meaning and instead of a one-person desk in an dingy corner where Dad or Mom could catch up on email after work, now we needed two fulltime workspaces as well as somewhere for the kids to connect online. Besides that, Looking at the same threadbare couch all day long had people starting to look online for home furnishing replacements.
So time is of the essence
One of the pure advantages of using ProfitFromERP’s software selection and consulting is cutting down the time spent in evaluations – which to tell you the truth, software evaluations can go from 6-9 months because it’s such a big decision– we’ve done hundreds with nearly every major ERP software brand – so we can short list you to the right few ERP’s to evaluate – and we can put you with implementation partners like Net At Work who have the teams and the experience to get you live in a decent amount of time – it’s not about skipping steps, but moving forward efficiently.
And you can either take the Notre Dame Spacesuit approach or the Pfiser vaccine approach – and say we need to get this done fast to become resilient and digitally transform how we approach our customers – and even look for new ways and new channels to make those sales – the choice is up to you.
So let’s take a real world look at how Nice Link approached it. And join our interview with Nice Link’s President, Jay Carlson
Interview Part One here.
Episode One Close – Jay Carlson Interview Nice Link
So that wraps up Part One of our interview with Nice Link’s Jay Carlson. Some really good points there, besides running cloud based Acumatica without an onsite IT department, you heard how Jay said they ‘couldn’t keep throwing spreadsheets and labor at the problem – which is so key.
So often, companies face an increasing workload in the back office and the solution is to hire one more person…followed by one more person six months later, and the next thing you know, we documented a Denver Oil Field services group with 13 people in the business office when they should have had 6 – but that’s the thing. It’s really easy to add one more person to your staff instead of an upfront implementation cost and software subscription spend. Before you know it, you’re paying $350k in additional labor a year to avoid a $50k ERP project. So that’s where software leasing comes in. Profit From ERP has a program through an affiliated leasing company to spread those costs over three years – so now, instead of hiring one more person, you can take the spend you’d normally pay for a staff member, and implement at ERP system. So you get the same lower cost of hiring a single staffer, and end up with the advanced automation and technology of cloud software – you can contact us for more at info@ProfitFromERP.com for details. And next week, Part Two of Nice Link’s Jay Carlson talking about the returns they’re seeing on Acumatica, also how Net at Work helped with best practices and support when running a really lean staff. Also, how they moved into the next tier of online ecommerce – a great story and wonderful podcast, next week on the ERPodcast Episode 25 – you can sign up for notices at Profit From ERP dot com or subscribe at Apple Podcasts or wherever you get your podcasts. Until then, I’m the director of Profit from ERP, Gene Hammons wishing you a profitable week and better days to come – of course this being the year 2020, that’s a pretty low bar – hey, but if we stick together, anything’s possible, even Profit From ERP.