“If I’d known how great Emerald TC and Sage 100 (MAS 200) were, I would have switched a long time ago.”
H. A. (Buddy) Hawkins, president of Hawkins & Associates, had major software headaches. His water treatment equipment business was thriving, but his Navision accounting package couldn’t give him the reports he needed, and licensing to stay current on the system was getting way too expensive.
Searching for Superior Solution
Hawkins & Associates distributes the equipment used by industrial and municipal water treatment facilities.
Founded in 1974 by Buddy’s father, Heyward Hawkins, the company now sells ten equipment lines that all integrate with one another, serving resellers in Georgia, Alabama and Tennessee. Customer service has always been Hawkins’ hallmark. So, when Buddy wasn’t getting the service he wanted on his business software—and therefore couldn’t pass along premium service to his own customers—he took action.
“I spent at least a year looking at every financial system on the market,” he explains. “Emerald TC stood out head and shoulders above everyone else, both by having a superior product in Sage 100, and for knowing how to implement it to meet our exact needs.”
Hawkins & Associates now uses the Sage system to automate all its financials. The system includes specific modules for the general ledger, payables, receivables, inventory, sales orders, purchasing, returned merchandise authorization, and reconciling bank statements. Modules integrate seamlessly, so data is only entered once, saving time for administrative staff and increasing accuracy.
Listening to Needs
“Billy Balser, Emerald’s IT expert, came out on the initial sales call with Bob Kazmarek, and they took careful notes as they listened to our needs,” Buddy continues. “Being a CPA, Billy was able to match Sage 100 benefits directly with our pain points. “Specifically, Emerald TC showed us how the software would improve our inventory management, pinpoint reorder points, track order quantities, and provide a complete sales history. When it came time for designing our new system, Emerald TC was able to go back to the notes and save us a lot of time.”
Speedy Implementation of Sage 100
Getting the new Sage 100 system up and running proved to be much faster and easier than Hawkins had ever dreamed. “Emerald brought us live a good three to four months earlier than we’d anticipated,” he says.
“This was despite custom reports that had to be written. Whatever we needed, Emerald TC was able to find an answer, whether that meant asking Sage for a work-around or creating a report. Plus, they trained us on a very short cycle.
“Another great thing was the fact that Emerald TC seemed to read peoples’ minds. They understood who was computer literate, and who was less proficient. Then they designed training accordingly and had us practice before the system even went live. By the time we were operational, we were already trained.
“Emerald TC also wrote custom reports for us during training. This was something like changing lanes on a track while you’re in the middle of a race. Plus, we received a lot of attention from Emerald’s Director of Sales, Cherry. All these special touches made us feel like kings. For a small company to get personalized service like this is really remarkable.”
Water treatment equipment must often be customized. A PVC head might have to be “borrowed” from an existing assembly to replace an acrylic or stainless-steel head, for instance. Hawkins’ crew members therefore swap parts from one piece of equipment to another, complicating inventory management.
“None of the other resellers I spoke with could figure out how to track our inventory properly,” says Buddy.
“Emerald TC got the picture right away and helped us devise a concept that worked. Their model allows us to physically put the robbed assembly back on the shelf, and expense the correct account. If not for their ingenious solution, we would have been stuck doing a bill of materials for every single permutation of pump.”
Bonus Benefits to Sage 100
The list of improvements Hawkins is experiencing from Emerald TC and Sage 100 goes on and on. “First off, the system has made us more efficient,” says Buddy. “It saves us time and gives us ready access to the information we need to manage our company and move forward.
“In addition, Sage 100 is saving us thousands of dollars a year in direct and soft costs. We’re saving on IT consultant fees, too. Putting all the improvements together, I figure Sage 100 will pay for itself within 12 months. Add to that the fact that we now have reliable reports and have dramatically improved customer service, and you can see why we’re so enthusiastic about the software—and our partner, Emerald TC!”