The Company: About Millard Lumber Inc.
Building supply dealer uses Epicor BisTrack to manage installed sales and turnkey projects
Millard Lumber’s business has grown to two locations that include design centers, drive-thru yards, manufacturing plants, and a turnkey project office. They decided to replace their Epicor ECS Pro system with newer technology that could better support their business. “We’ve always tried to integrate as much technology as we can into our organization,” explained Joel Russell, Vice President and Chief Operations Officer at Millard Lumber. “With Epicor® BisTrack™, we feel like we actually have a tool that we can build upon.”
Turnkey systems for speed and control
Millard Lumber deals with mostly professional clientele, residential and commercial builders, and contractors representing upwards of 90 percent of their business. They offer a wide variety of building materials for projects ranging from kitchen renovations to the construction of multi-family apartments and retirement homes.
“The unemployment rate is phenomenally low in our state, and it’s hard to find skilled labor in the construction trade,” said Russell. “So we offer whole turnkey packages, including labor for a lump sum price. We panelize walls and manufacture roof and floor trusses — and we’re able to get the work done in the timeframe needed by our builders.
The Situation: Better Job Costing
Better job costing for contract-driven sales
“We do a lot of larger commercial jobs,” said Russell. “We use Epicor BisTrack for contract management and billing, as well as labor and materials tracking. We enter each phase of the contract on a line item — for example, wall panels or windows and window labor — and schedule its billing. We can monitor in real-time at each phase of the contract to see if we’re making or losing money, and if something is going wrong, we can drill down in seconds to find out why.”
Accessible, real-time data
“The biggest benefit of Epicor BisTrack is that real-time data is easily accessible to anyone,” said Chris Routhe, VP of Operations at Millard Lumber.
“Now, we’re able to create custom dashboards with real-time information relevant to specific jobs and operations. We display orders and ticket information for everyone to see — the salesperson, shop supervisors, purchasers, and the dispatch team.”
Millard Lumber is now much more responsive to changes in delivery dates. Routhe explained, “If the salesperson pulls in the delivery date for a millwork item — such as pre-hung doors — everyone knows about it so it’s not a mad rush.”
The Solution: Epicor Building Supply ERP System
Efficient delivery operations
Epicor BisTrack Delivery is a mobile app that helps drivers quickly and easily record and document deliveries and pickups. “It was a big deal for us to add the Epicor BisTrack Delivery application,” said Routhe. “Prior to Epicor BisTrack Delivery, our manual way of documenting drop-offs was extremely time-consuming. The drivers had to take the photos and then give the digital cameras to the dispatcher at the end of each day.
The dispatcher then had to go through 25 different cameras to download the pictures — trying to figure out which pictures went with which sales order ticket — and lastly, had to save the photos on our server. It was a painful process that, in actuality, never happened all the time. The other problem was our entire team had difficulty finding the photos when needed — we always had to call up a dispatcher to help track down the photo. This caused a lot of wasted time when we had customer disputes.”
“We decided to make the investment in Epicor BisTrack Delivery to more efficiently run our delivery operations. Our entire team loves it and we couldn’t imagine working without it,” said Routhe. “We’ve been able to smooth out several customer situations when they say, ‘You didn’t drop off this product.’ We can simply and quickly pull up a photo and see where and when the delivery was dropped, which is really helpful with new construction when there isn’t always an address. We tell other dealers that the first Epicor BisTrack add-on application that anyone should buy is Epicor BisTrack Delivery. It’s a staple in our business and having the visibility and real-time information is crucial for success,” said Routhe.
Dashboards motivate salespeople
Millard Lumber has more than 30 salespeople and Routhe credits Epicor BisTrack software and its dashboards for keeping them informed and motivated. “The salespeople are able to get answers quicker. They get a list of their orders going out that day. They can see things like back ordered items and decide how to handle it before it becomes an issue,” said Routhe. “It was a big deal for us to add the Epicor BisTrack Delivery application. Prior to Epicor BisTrack Delivery, our manual way of documenting drop-offs was extremely time-consuming,” said Routhe.
“We show them their top 10 customers and their daily and monthly sales and margins,” said Routhe. “We rank the sales guys by total sales. They’re pretty competitive, so having that on their desktops gets them going.” “We’re building out a CRM dashboard now, too,” said Russell. “It will allow the salespeople and their managers to review opportunities and the sales pipeline for each salesperson.”
The Result: Epicor Building Supply ERP Implementation Benefits
Quality of service improved amid growth
Russell says that data availability from Epicor BisTrack has improved their operations and profitability, but adds that it also improves customer service. “For example, when something comes into the Epicor Warehouse Management Solution and is scanned, it’s received instantaneously,” said Russell. “So, if it’s a special order, now the salesperson gets a notification on their dashboard immediately that it has arrived, and he can let the customer know. There’s little doubt in my mind that we’ve picked up margin and efficiency using the Epicor BisTrack solution, but the quality of service we can give our customers has also been greatly enhanced — even though our volume has grown. You’d think it would be more difficult to service the customer the same way, but we’re able to do it more efficiently.”