Eagle Fence Distributing, LLC is one of the fastest growing wholesale distributors of fencing and perimeter security products in the United States. The company was formed 13 years ago and is a subsidiary of Southwestern Wire, a manufacturer of chain link fencing. It shares Southwestern Wire’s Norman, Oklahoma headquarters and has facilities in Birmingham, Little Rock, Houston, St. Louis, and Chicago.
Eagle Fence sells a complete line of high-quality wholesale fence products in traditional and unique styles. Its full line of products includes access controls, agricultural fencing, vinyl fence, wood, steel and aluminum ornamental fencing as well as chain-link fence and gates for farm and ranch, residential, commercial, industrial, and high security applications.
The company started in 2008 with the purchase of a small fencing wholesaler in Birmingham, AL, and rapidly grew from there, opening new locations, first in Chicago in 2010, then Houston, Little Rock, and St. Louis.
“We started on Sage 50 at the first location and as we grew, we would add another local server with another instance of Sage,” says Keith Ford, a former Southwestern Wire executive who became President of Eagle Fence four years ago. “None of the five Sage instances were connected and each was housed on its own servers at the branches. There was no interconnectivity, no data views, and it was difficult to VPN into those servers to try to collect information. It was very cumbersome.”
Each instance of Sage 50 had problems, says Ford. The systems would lock up and accessing data was difficult. “From a global standpoint, we had zero visibility into the business. Most of the time we had no VPN access, and we would have to have someone export data and send it to us.”
To complicate matters, each location had different ways of naming customers, products and operating. “Another large issue was security because when we had to VPN, we were somewhat connected to headquarters and we wanted to be off of those older servers and into the cloud.”
The consistent lack of data visibility, VPN problems, a ransomware attack, and operational inefficiencies led to the decision to replace Sage, Ford says.
The Eagle Fence team evaluated ERPs from Oracle NetSuite, Infor, and Sage Intacct. Then an acquaintance that formerly was in the fence industry, i-Tech Support‘s Mike Augello, introduced them to Acumatica Cloud ERP. “He gave us all of the reasons we should go with Acumatica,” Ford says.
The Eagle Fence team narrowed its decision to Sage Intacct and Acumatica, which both gave presentations.