The Company: About Bob Drake Reproductions
Bob Drake Reproductions is a great example of the American Dream coming true. Introduced to automobile body and paint work by his father as a boy growing up in Wisconsin during the ‘50s, Bob began studying early Ford’s as they were becoming popular. By the mid-1960s, Bob was trading pre-‘50s Fords and parts, a hobby he eventually turned into a business that started along with his wife Pat in 1971, manufacturing parts in their home garage.
During the past 47 years, Bob Drake’s inventory of parts has grown to over 7,000 products, including many innovative hot rod parts, driven by his dedication to serving purist early Ford restorers. His original one-man garage operation, now owned and operated by his son Trent and family, employs a staff of over 40 and is housed in three buildings with a combined space of over 75,000 square feet in Grants Pass, Oregon.
The Situation: Data Systems Stalling Growth
In 2008, Bob Drake Reproductions (BDR) found itself being held back by the systems they were using to run their business. Their Macola ERP had problems from the outset. The staff found it had unique issues that seemed to outweigh the promised benefits. In fact, the company had to add additional staff just to manage it. Even with that team, they couldn’t get the reporting they needed to best run the company. The reports included in their software were woefully inadequate, and the external report writer required advanced SQL knowledge.
Since BDR sold to other businesses and to retail customers they needed both B2B and B2C support from their system. This, too, required extensive customizations, and by 2012, the expense of maintaining Macola had become unacceptable, so they terminated their support relationship with the system developer (ECI). With only one support person to focus on, they added an e‑commerce system that promised the ability to furnish customers with a Web portal to ease ordering. Even that had been limited to just one e‑commerce solution for their back-end systems.
They soon found it to be outdated, outmoded, and holding them back from running their business the way they wanted to.
The Solution: Acumatica ERP
The first and most profound difference BDR saw was how incredibly easy it was to receive and process a Web order. Previously, on their old system, there was a full-time salesperson assigned only to taking online orders. They spent most of their time cleaning up incoming orders so they could be processed, reaching out to about a third of those customers to clarify or correct something, and then entering the order. The entire advantage of taking orders online was wasted.
Exclaims BDR Vice President Trent Drake, “With Acumatica, the orders just COME!!!” He explains that problems are rare and no order requires more than a 30-second double-check. That full-time salesperson is today selling full-time!
Approximately 70% of the components BDR uses in manufacturing parts come from Asia with long lead times. With their old Macola systems, they were forced to use Excel spreadsheets to manage those, but now Trent Drake informs us, “With Acumatica, we can make those changes easily and do mass
changes with lead times.”
Another time-saving advance takes place daily in their warehouse, where orders for multiple parts among their 7,000 bins are automatically routed so the picker takes the shortest route and completes orders in the fastest possible time. Where they could never consider using barcodes with their old systems, Acumatica has made it easy to use to improve picking accuracy and part tracking.
Acumatica’s reporting capabilities have benefitted their business tremendously. Previously, they had needed to engage a consultant anytime they wanted a report created or modified. With Acumatica, most of the reports they need are a click away. For unusual reporting, Acumatica makes it easy for them to send the needed data to Excel, where they can quickly obtain the answers they seek. Trent Drake acknowledges, “Acumatica has put so much thought into what data needs to be presented and how to present it, and do it in a way that your average user can create these reports instead of having to have a consultant.”
Supporting Their Signature Offerings
Bob Drake is perhaps best known for rendering beautiful reproductions of the grilles on 1940-era Fords. Each is built to order and requires ordering and coordination of a variety of components and a variety of vendors to build them. In many cases, those vendors ship the finished product directly to the customer. With their earlier systems, each of these orders was a major management challenge. Lack of visibility into the receipt of all parts of the bill of materials resulted in significant delays, uncertainty as to whether or not finished products were actually shipped, and ultimately a significant amount of late billing.
Now with Acumatica, they’ve been able to automate the entire process and effortlessly stay ahead of it. Less time investment and prompt billing turn into significant cost savings.
The Results: Acumatica ERP Implementation Benefits
An Effective Algorithm Solves the Problem
Trent Drake recognizes that all of Algorithm’s people have long industry experience, which significantly enhances their consultative value. He explains, “As we worked together, their consultant, Dennis, spotted some shortcomings in our operations and advised us. We’ve taken his advice on financial aspects as well as operations. They weren’t there to just deploy the software and leave. They were invested in seeing our company do better. Can’t say I’ve seen other consultants do that.” Trent also had high praise for Algorithm’s project manager, Mimi. Speaking plainly, he smiles and says, “She’s no BS. Let’s get it done. Have her kick our butts. What an asset to have her there!” He adds that Algorithm will most definitely be his consultant for their upcoming CRM deployment.