Located in Charleston, South Carolina, American Paint Paddle (APP) is the leading supplier of paint paddles (a.k.a. stir sticks), rulers, yardsticks, and other promotional wood products for the paint, home improvement, and specialty advertising industries. Since 1986 the company has been committed to providing customers such as Home Depot, Lowes, and Wal-Mart with the best service and quality products.
APP had a fifteen-year relationship with their trusted Sage PFW partner, Susan Lord at Lord and Associates. According to Susan, who supported them on their accounting system, “Despite nearly quadrupling their business over the time we worked together, APP never had to add staff. I think that is a great testament to the power of a solid ERP system, such as Sage 500 ERP.”
The Wrong EDI Software and Vendor Stirs Up Problems
That solid system, however, had suffered from a bad Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) integration with a third-party software vendor. Jill Chamberlain at APP stated, “The EDI system wasn’t integrated properly and was unreliable. As a result, we couldn’t fill the EDI requirements with all the big box vendors. Due to this limitation, we hit a cap on our market share, and we knew we had to make a change quickly if we wanted to continue to grow.”
While looking for a solution for APP, Susan learned that Sage PFW would soon become obsolete and that Sage was offering a migration program with free replacement software. Susan turned to Cherry Williamson at Emerald TC to identify the best option for APP. Susan stated, “I’ve had a long-term standing relationship with Emerald TC and knew they could be trusted to help my client with a transition not only to a new system but with their EDI problems as well.”
Sage 500 Migration Offers Paints a Better Picture
After conducting a thorough needs analysis, “Sage 500 ERP (MAS 500) was the clear choice to replace Sage PFW based on APP’s needs,” recalled Cherry. “Additionally, with EDI being the true driving factor for APP making the change, we identified MAPADOC as the ideal solution for them.”
In addition to Sage 500 and MAPADOC, the implementation included Starship Shipping and Sage Credit Card Processing, along with a new network and hardware. “This was an extremely complex implementation and conversion process,” acknowledged Susan. “It involved a major orchestration between six different software and hardware teams to get all the components working together. We created test data for all the individual functions and, once all the individual tests were working, they were consolidated so that we could go live together and not interrupt any other portion of the project. With EDI processing happening 24 hours a day, 7 days per week, downtime was not an option for APP, and we managed to go live in one day.”
“This was a big change for us,” said Jill. “We used PFW for 18 years, but thanks to careful pre-planning by all parties involved and excellent training and support during our go-live, everything fell into place. The system is user friendly which makes it easy to learn, and the implementation went so smooth we were really wowed that there were no problems.”
Sage 500 Creates the Right Mix for a Solution to Growth
With 80% of APP’s business done through EDI, having reliable processing is significant. “We simply cannot have our EDI system go down,” proclaimed Jill. “With MAPADOC, they monitor the system to ensure that it’s running constantly and that there are no issues. In addition, they are a great company to work with due to their support, and they have taught us how to write our own maps. With the prior company, it was a huge ordeal to do what we needed, and now I don’t have to worry about it anymore.”
In addition to being able to grow their market share again, APP realized other significant benefits to migrating to the new system. By switching to Sage Credit Card Processing, they are now PCI compliant and will save $8,000 annually in merchant fees. APP is also positioned to be able to accommodate new sales tax laws when they are enacted, due to accurate sales tax calculation functionality built into the system.
“As a result of all these system improvements we will have a better knowledge of our customer base, where the sales are coming from, and identify classified customers,” said Jill. “This will provide management with more meaningful information to continue to grow our business. In addition, our marketing person is already using our new EDI capabilities as a sales tool.”
Jill continued, “From an operational level, we were able to process 1100 sales order lines during the 1st period of 2012 with just 2.5 accounting staff. With this system, we will be able to continue to grow our business without having to grow our accounting team. Additionally, our parent company in Massachusetts will now have access to our data in real-time, with better sales statistics and analysis, once we implement BizNet for financial reporting. This robust tool will eliminate many procedures the accounting staff on both sides has to do now.”
Jill concluded by stating, “Emerald TC was great to work with, very supportive, and working with their team put us at ease. We are very satisfied with them and the exceptional system they put in place for us.”