Home Blog Acumatica Customer Spotlight: Portacool & POLYWOOD

Acumatica Customer Spotlight: Portacool & POLYWOOD

Why are Portacool and POLYWOOD Acumatica’s Customer and Impact Customer of the Year? Acumatica’s Tammy Exner shares their stories today.
Tammy Exner | March 20, 2024

Acumatica Customer Spotlight: Portacool & POLYWOOD


The record-breaking crowd that attended Acumatica Summit 2024 in January was able to network with business leaders and fellow partners and customers, learn more about Acumatica’s visionary cloud ERP solution, and discover new, innovative ways to grow their businesses. Perhaps most importantly, attendees also heard inspirational stories about how their fellow Community members are achieving success with the help of Acumatica’s award-winning business management solution.

The Day 1 and Day 2 Keynotes acknowledged the successes of scores of customers. But Acumatica CEO John Case singled out two companies in particular who were awarded Acumatica’s Customer of the Year and Impact Customer of the Year.

This year’s winners, Portacool, LLC and POLYWOOD®, are organizations that are not only achieving business success and scaling their operations, they are also committed to contributing to their communities and making the world we live in a better place. Acumatica is dedicated to these same goals, and we appreciate the superb efforts of those in our Community who share similar ideals.

Today, let’s take a closer look at each of these amazing companies.

Customer of the Year: Portacool

Headquartered in Center, Texas, Portacool manufactures and sells portable evaporative coolers that cover a multitude of applications, from industrial, automotive, and athletic to hospitality, events, and residential. According to President and CEO Ben Wulf, “Portacool offers a very environmentally friendly, cost-effective alternative to traditional air conditioning.”

After opening its doors in 1990, Portacool continually expanded its product lines, and by doing so, has experienced exponential growth. It now has distributors in all 50 states and in 56 countries, making it a complex operation. To continue expanding while managing the current growth effectively, Portacool needed to replace what Kimberly McElroy, Director of Operations, describes as their “antiquated system.”

By antiquated, Kimberly means it wasn’t customizable, it required multiple plug-in applications, it provided limited visibility into their inventory, and it lacked real-time reporting. The answer? A modern, comprehensive ERP solution they could use to manage all of their inventory, manufacturing, and shipping needs and do so in one place. On the advice of Acumatica partner Algorithm, they chose Acumatica—and they haven’t looked back since.

“With Acumatica, we have that real-time visibility,” Kimberly says. “We didn’t have that before, and now, it’s phenomenal. As soon as that product is produced, it’s showing available in inventory.”

In addition greatly improved inventory management, Portacool’s decision to implement Acumatica provided the growing organization with a number of business-enhancing benefits, including:

  • Streamlined operations.
  • Reduced headcount (even as the team grew over 30% after the implementation).
  • Continued operations without one shutdown—something that was “common practice” prior to Acumatica.
  • Integrated seamlessly with Acumatica-friendly and native third-party applications (e.g., Avalara, Pacejet, and more).

Says Wulf, “You can’t be successful by chance, you have to be successful by change and having a robust ERP that can give us that added flexibility in these unique and uncertain times is going to help us win in the future.”

That successful future was put into jeopardy in June 2023. All of Portacool’s Center facilities burned to the ground, but instead of accepting defeat, the company was able to get back up and running – thanks to the support of a  local community that assisted them in their efforts, and because Portacool was relying on Acumatica—which provides vital remote access—they were able to connect without any issues and to get “back in assembly” by August that same year.

This incredible story exemplifies why Portacool is Acumatica’s Customer of the Year, which recognizes organizations that are “fully using the Acumatica solution to create significant business value, contribute positively to the Community and push Acumatica to make the whole Community better.”

As Kimberly says, “[Acumatica has] become the heartbeat of our company—it’s really the pulse that runs the business now. You have to be agile in the market we’re in today, and you have to be ready to make those decisions based on facts—not on feelings.”

Impact Customer of the Year: POLYWOOD

Like Portacool, POLYWOOD entered the market in 1990. The sustainability-minded manufacturer was the first to create outdoor furniture entirely from recycled plastics and was committed from day one to producing zero waste and to offering products with zero defects.

Sean Valencourt, EVP of Information Systems, told Acumatica CEO John Case during Summit’s Day 1 Keynote that their furniture is both practical and beautiful and that POLYWOOD’s lumber can be recycled back to where it started—something they call “infinitely recyclable.” Sean also noted that all of their products are built in the USA in their Syracuse, Indiana, and Roxboro, North Carolina facilities.

Unsurprisingly, sustainability is the core component of their culture and brand. Says Sean, “We are always looking for ways to be more sustainable and to serve our growing customer base. With seasonal surges in demand for our outdoor furniture and a growing demand for our brand, we needed a system that would enable us as we scale and grow.”

According to Sean’s co-worker, Adam Stoffel, Director of Business Information Services, that system had some very specific requirements, starting with the fact that the POLYWOOD team believes in fitting their technology system to the business—not fitting the business to the system. And that same system must be robust, flexible, and able to handle the complexity of their operations.

As it turns out, they found exactly what they needed in Acumatica. Says Sean, “[Acumatica’s] cloud solution has been critical in scaling our operations and enabling POLYWOOD to grow.”

Per Adam, there are three major ways Acumatica—as their technology hub—has helped change how POLYWOOD operates:

  1. POLYWOOD has been able to integrate all of its critical applications (creating a continuous flow of information), automate unsustainable manual processes, shorten the onboarding timeframe for new resources, and provide real-time data visibility that allows for real-time adjustments.
  2. The POLYWOOD team is no longer focusing on surviving “peak season” but is instead focused on improvements that will help build momentum for the company.
  3. POLYWOOD—as an Acumatica customer—has not only gained great technology but has also joined a great community, which includes their Value Added Reseller (VAR), Martin & Associates.

POLYWOOD is now able to manage its operations efficiently and effectively, which frees the team to focus on its incredible sustainability initiatives. For example, POLYWOOD partners with schools by incentivizing students to gather and send them plastic items. POLYWOOD then recycles these items into “Buddy Benches,” and these benches are then returned to the schools as places to grow friendships.

POLYWOOD also offers apprenticeships that result in career paths with certifications and steady advancement within the company. And their newest initiative, POLYWOOD Academy, allows local high school students to earn credits while learning about sustainable manufacturing skills.

“Sustainability is not only core to what we’ve been doing, but it really is the key to our future,” says Sean.

As Acumatica’s Impact Customer of the Year, awarded to the organization that demonstrates a positive impact on their community and the world in which they operate, POLYWOOD has clearly shown that they are using Acumatica to “make a real difference.”

Customer Success: Today and in the Future

At Acumatica, every product release is designed around customer input—input we gather in person via special events or during customer visits as well as through online customer forums, such as the Acumatica Community. Customers like Portacool and POLYWOOD are encouraged to share what they need from our cloud ERP software, and we turn these needs into reality.

In his article on Acumatica Summit 2024, Jon Reed shared his conversations with a few of Acumatica’s customers about Acumatica’s customer-friendly practices, including where we stand on artificial intelligence (AI). He writes, “[C]ustomers expect Acumatica to deliver AI where it’s useful and minimize their own risks.”

For POLYWOOD, Acumatica is delivering as a partner and as a technology provider. “So to hear something like what Ali [Jani, Chief Product Officer] said today, that Acumatica is going to be leveraging AI and Large Language Models, is what we like to hear because we’re trying to get on the bleeding edge of AI and figure it out ourselves. What we’re looking for is partners who are going to do that and figure out how to bring the value to normal companies like POLYWOOD.”

Bringing sustainable value to our customers today and in the future is Acumatica’s promise, and with help from our customers, we’ll succeed together.

To learn more about our cloud-based ERP solution and our amazing Community, connect with us today.

Recent posts

Blog Author

Senior Product Marketing Manager – Customer Advocacy at Acumatica
Categories: Customers

Receive blog updates in your Inbox.

Subscribe now