Wiring a Better System with Sage 100, SalesLogix, and AEP Netilla
Wire & Cable Specialties, Inc.
Wire and Cable Specialties, Inc., is a leading manufacturer of stainless steel, Monel and Inconel wire, strand and cable, in Coatesville and West Chester, Pa. Founded over a quarter of a century ago, Wire and Cable Specialties has grown 50 percent in the past two years and almost tripled its sales in the past five years. One of the primary reasons for the company’s success is the growth of the arts and crafts industry. Beadalon, a Wire and Cable Specialties company and trademark, is the originator, innovator and manufacturer of bead stringing wire. It is the only company that makes its own wire, strand and cable for the very popular beading industry. The other side of the Wire and Cable Specialties’ business is very different from Beadalon, but is also experiencing an increase in demand for its products. American Fishing Wire, another Wire and Cable Specialties company and trademark, manufactures wire, strand and cable to provide wire and rigging products to the fishing industry.
Where It Hurt: Limited Support and Expertise
To manage the financial side of its rapidly growing business, Wire and Cable Specialties has been running Sage 100 ERP solution for 10 years. The company had originally purchased the solution from a consultant that was unable to offer custom programming, provided limited support and had very little experience in the Sage Software product line. Doug Clark, the vice president of Wire and Cable Specialties, is the closest person to a systems administrator on the staff at the company. It was evident to him that he needed the support of an outside expert to maximize the features of Sage 100 ERP in order to gain a clearer understanding of its operations. It is especially important today now that the company has over 100 employees and continues to grow. In 2000, Clark came across CompuData at an industry tradeshow and there was no turning back. “We knew we wanted to stay with Sage 100. It has always been a stable product, providing us with reliable information and has grown with us,” explained Clark. “We just needed some custom programming and support for Sage 100 that we couldn’t get from our prior consultant. CompuData is very accommodating to our needs and extremely proficient in the Sage Software products. We built a strong relationship with them right from the start.”
How We Made Better: A Solid Foundation
In its initial evaluation, CompuData found that Wire and Cable Specialties’ computer system was corrupted. CompuData began working with the manufacturer by re-implementing its Sage 100 ERP solution to ensure it was operating properly. Before Sage 100, the computer system was used only for accounting and invoicing purposes. Its inventory was managed using Lotus spreadsheets and “eyeballs”, making it very difficult to know what was in inventory, on sales orders, or on purchase order at any given time.
Utilizing Sage 100 External Modules
Now, with CompuData’s expertise, Wire and Cable Specialties is using a number of Sage 100 manufacturing modules, including the Sales Order, Inventory Management, Purchase Order, Bill of Materials, and Work Order modules. When a product is manufactured at its West Chester, Pa. manufacturing facility, and is ready to be sold, Sage 100 assigns that product a code and the product then goes to Coatesville for packaging and distribution. “We automated all of our accounting and much of our warehousing processes and now have a much clearer picture of our business at any point in time. We know what we have manufactured, what is in inventory and what has been sold,” added Clark. “This business intelligence is imperative to the continued success of our company.”
“We automated all of our accounting and much of our warehousing processes and now have a much clearer picture of our business at any point in time.”
“We use Saleslogix to generate and manage all of our communications, helping us better manage our sales cycle and customer support activities.”
Further Upgrades: An Improved CRM Solution
As a manufacturing and distribution company that primarily sells through wholesalers, Wire and Cable Specialties was using a sales management solution that was extremely outdated and had not been supported by the vendor for many years.
The Power of Saleslogix
CompuData moved Wire and Cable Specialties over to the Sage CRM SalesLogix customer relationship management (CRM) solution. “Saleslogix is an excellent sales management tool,” said Mike Shields, the manufacturer’s vice president of Sales & Marketing. “We use Saleslogix to generate and manage all of our business communications, helping us better manage our sales cycle and customer support activities.” Saleslogix CRM provides a single data repository to manage and access account and contact information, track opportunities throughout the sales cycle, manage team calendars and activities, develop accurate forecasts and effectively report on sales activities. “Saleslogix provides us with a much more powerful solution,” added Shields. “It is multidimensional and offers us a wide variety of features to manage sales opportunities and campaigns. It also integrates well with our Word and Outlook applications and is a great tool for generating necessary reports on our sales initiatives.”
Creating a Secure and Reliable Network
Once CompuData got Wire and Cable Specialties on track with its Sage 100 solution, the manufacturer began turning to the business and technology solutions provider for networking and hardware projects as well. “Our network was a mess and we found that CompuData could do it all – from supporting our software applications to ensuring we have the best possible voice and data infrastructure in place for our business.”
Proper Communication Infrastructure
One major project that CompuData tackled was handling the technology aspect of the company’s move to its new corporate location for its headquarters in Coatesville while keeping its heavy wire manufacturing facility in West Chester. CompuData set up the new building in Coatesville and tied the two buildings together with the appropriate voice and data technologies. “As an AT&T Authorized Agent, they even handled our contract with AT&T as our phone vendor,” said Clark. “CompuData was able to provide us with a single source solution for our telecommunications needs. They set up a Coatesville to West Chester connection on the phone system and also a point-to-point T1 line between the two locations.” “CompuData had done this before and we knew they could handle it for us,” explained Clark. “We needed to ensure that our move was smooth and that our phones and computer systems were in place and working properly upon our arrival at our new facility.”
Increased Security Protection
In addition, CompuData provided Wire and Cable Specialties with Internet access, security and firewall solutions as well as implemented a remote access solution for its mobile employees. Using the AEP Netilla Security Platform, Wire and Cable Specialties’ staff has access over the Internet to their applications, files and mission-critical data from any location 24x7. “We have about 10 people that are often on the road for a variety of reasons and they need access to their email as well as the ability to pull up accounts in Sage 100 and Saleslogix. The remote access was the best thing we ever did. It definitely makes us more productive.”
“The remote access was the best thing we ever did. It definitely makes us more productive.”
What’s Next: Continued Growth
The Wire and Cable Specialties staff utilized the CompuData Authorized Training Center in Philadelphia for both Sage 100 and Saleslogix training. “They did a good job at educating us on the solutions and helping us better understand how we can maximize the features in these applications to best meet our needs.” “From its training programs through to its implementation and consulting services, CompuData’s expertise has helped us to leverage technology to streamline our business processes, enabling us to make significant improvements in our productivity,” said Clark. “CompuData has been very professional and always responsive,” added Clark. “They take care of issues right away and we are always able to rely on them for support. They are also fair and honest and we know that we can trust that they have our best interests in mind when recommending solutions.” ”We have a great relationship with CompuData,” added Shields. “They continue to provide us with innovative ideas to improve our efficiency and help us save money.”