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Acumatica’s flexibility propels K9 manufacturer’s growth and strategy

Since 1948, Ray Allen Manufacturing has been a leading manufacturer of canine equipment for military and police departments. Owned by private equity firm Benford Capital Partners, the firm has grown rapidly through organic growth and recent acquisitions. Realizing the company’s legacy AS400 system was holding his company back, Steve Cates, president, decided to implement Acumatica to gain better insight into the company’s operations and to build a platform for future growth.

About Ray Allen Manufacturing

Location: Colorado Springs, CO

industry: Manufacturing, Retail & eCommerce

Website: http://www.rayallen.com

Application Replaced: Other

Ray Allen Manufacturing Video Testimonial

Key results

  • Streamlined operations
  • Better management of inventory levels
  • Improved customer service
  • Gained deeper insight into operations for better decision-making
  • Established strategic platform for rapid growth

Challenges

Ray Allen needed:

  • A flexible system that didn’t restrict operations
  • Technology that integrated well with best-of-breed applications, including manufacturing and eCommerce
  • A strong CRM system
  • Powerful reporting
  • Ability to run mltiple companies from a singular inventory
When you use Acumatica, it’s almost as if you follow a bouncing ball down the path you need to go. This makes it so easy, using the software becomes second nature.
Steve Cates, President at Ray Allen Manufacturing

Steve Cates
President

ERP Solution

The company wanted a flexible system, one that didn’t restrict operations. They wanted technology that integrated well with best-of-breed applications, including manufacturing and eCommerce systems. Cates says he also wanted a CRM, powerful reporting and most important: the ability to run multiple companies from a singular inventory.

“We wanted to avoid boxing ourselves into a closed system, which was really important,” he says. “We wanted something with a robust foundation; something that would allow us to expand, rather than limit us.”

He considered NetSuite, which Signature K9 used; Sage, which Cates had experience with; Mail Order Manager, which J&J used, and briefly considered Epicore Software Corp., which was quickly eliminated due to its pricing structure. The company was reviewing NetSuite when the systems integration partner suggested Acumatica might be a better fit, Cates says.

“I had not heard of Acumatica but started doing some homework and looking at demos,” he says. “I quickly realized Acumatica’s open platform was well aligned with our company’s goals.”

Cates hired M2 Technologies to help them with the ERP implementation, which started in late 2015. Besides implementing Acumatica, Cates added JAAS Advanced Manufacturing Software (JAMS) and moved its web operations to Magento, which meant multiple partners and increased complexity.

“We had to coordinate all three implementations and did a lot of the heavy lifting ourselves,” Cates says. He reorganized customer segmentation and other functions, for example. “You can’t really hand that data off to the partner,” he says. “You have to understand the data, and know what you are looking at. We used Matt Marks at M2 Technologies and Acumatica for guidance and when we got stuck, and both teams were great.”

Acumatica’s flexibility paved the way for a smooth transition to going live with Acumatica SaaS in April 2016. “We didn’t have to move heaven and earth to do things like changing tables, and having control of the data, to upload and test, meant we could be more hands-on.”

Benefits for Ray Allen Manufacturing

Streamlined operations and robust reporting leads to continued growth

Acumatica, paired with JAMS and Magento, streamlined Ray Allen Manufacturing, providing insight into operations, which allows the company to better serve customers which in turn increases revenues and profits.

“Acumatica’s integration with our websites and the ability to better track customers was great for us,” Cates says. “Reporting is very robust and the ability to create reports specific to us is huge. Now that we have a CRM, we are creating an outbound sales division and doing account management, which was hard to do before because we had no central resource for data.”

Ray Allen’s team eliminated many manual paper-based tasks, including putting tracking numbers on shipments and manually notifying customers of tracking numbers. Picking and packing slips now include branding, and incoming orders automatically flow into Acumatica and are matched with previous customers on repeat orders. Order response emails automatically include tracking numbers.

“Having accounting from our various sub-companies rolled up is more efficient,” Cates says. “Better reporting makes us a better company overall.”

Acumatica provides deeper insights into operations, customers

Acumatica helps Ray Allen Manufacturing serve its customers better, he adds. “Knowing who our customers are and knowing their value and which channel they order from is very important to us. It also gives us a much better grasp on inventory so we can make sure we have the products when our customers need them.”

The integration of JAMS, Magento and Acumatica allowed Ray Allen to move its gift card process from a manual spreadsheet to an online process, and to add PayPal as a payment option. The company plans to add its first loyalty program later this year. Acumatica has also paved the way for faster processing of returns and better customer service because the call center team no longer has to toggle between two screens and two different financial systems.

“I estimate the call center has saved 25 percent of its time; the distribution team has saved 20 percent, and finance and marketing 10 percent,” Cates says.

The accounting team has gained confidence in the manufacturing numbers Acumatica provides, a level of trust that the company didn’t have with its legacy software. “Having the entire ecosystem all together allows us to run more definitive reports and we can move forward based on that data rather than spending time going to multiple applications to verify the data,” Cates says. “Each day we go quickly into action, which sounds like it should be routine, but on an older legacy system that’s not always the case.”

Navigation so easy it’s like following a bouncing ball

Acumatica is very intuitive and easy to use, Cates says. “When you use Acumatica, it’s almost as if you follow a bouncing ball down the path you need to go. This makes it so easy, using the software becomes second nature.” Those paths are not rigid, but can be customized to the way a company does business, and the way an individual works, he says. “Having access to the data points in reporting and being able to pull the data easily are also incredibly important and easy to do.”

Acumatica’s mobility capabilities allow Cates to log in from home without a complicated log in process, and allow several remote workers to perform tasks without assistance. Acumatica’s unlimited pricing model will gain more importance with future acquisitions, he adds. “We don’t want to make an acquisition and then not have the ability to add users, so that’s definitely a plus,” he says. Cates is relieved that he won’t have to spend more to add users or restrict access when the company adds to its 40-person work force.

Open, flexible system paves way for future growth

Cates praises Acumatica’s robust features and flexibility, which allow him to use best-of-breed applications as he sees fit. “The strength of Acumatica is that it’s an open system that’s flexible and integrates well with other applications. That gives us a lot of control to run our business the way we want.”