Whenever you pick up a bottle of Famous Dave’s BBQ sauce at the local grocery store, you have Famous Products to thank for making it so readily available. The award-winning line of sauces, seasonings, marinades, corn bread and pickles has earned its reputation for legendary taste. Famous Products even sells its famous corn bread in South Korea.
Challenge: Finding an ERP solution for inventory management
While staying the same is great for legendary recipes, it wasn’t such a great tactic for the company’s technology solutions.
Since opening the retail line in 2000, the company had continued to use QuickBooks to manage its finances and Excel spreadsheets to track its inventory of products across multiple warehouses. The inventory piece especially made month-end closing a headache.
“We were beyond ready to invest in some new technology,” said Heather McTeague, VP of Operations. “Inventory management was really the driving factor.”
Solution: Replace QuickBooks with Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central
McTeague and her team knew they could trust their technology partner at SOL-I.S. Technology Solutions to point the company in the right direction. They recommended using Boyer & Associates to replace QuickBooks with Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central, a cloud-based Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) solution.
Famous Products also decided to switch out its EDI system from eBridge Connections to SPS Commerce, a trusted Boyer associate.
“Our board has set aggressive growth plans for us, so I felt we needed to implement something that can grow with us and help us achieve that growth,” McTeague said.
Working with multiple consultants on two major implementation projects at the same time was stressful, but McTeague said the Boyer team helped them focus on what was most important.
“They made it feel less overwhelming. Those initial interviews helped us to really define what our business was and what we needed to solve for. We don’t have to solve for everything,” McTeague said.
For example, Dynamics 365 Business Central can handle complex manufacturing and warehousing processes, but because Famous Products contracts out that piece of the business, they didn’t have to worry about implementing those features.
Famous Products implemented General Ledger and Inventory and relied on Boyer & Associates to complete a few customizations and ensure that the EDI transition went smoothly. Both projects kicked off in November 2020, and they were live on the new systems by April 1, just in time for the busy season. McTeague said the bulk of the time was driven by EDI testing to make sure all the connections were working properly.
“I think it went really well. It is obviously a stressful time, but considering we are a small company heading into our busiest season while implementing new systems, it went well,” she said, adding that they never missed shipping an order.
That was true despite turning over three people in the middle of the project. The turnover caused minor delays as the implementation team had to restart training with new staff members. “We had a longer learning curve because we had new people who were learning our business as well as a new system,” McTeague said.
While they are still learning the new system, they appreciate Boyer’s support team as well. McTeague added, “As we refine our processes within Business Central, we often consult with the Boyer team to ask questions and inquire about best practices.”
Benefits of Microsoft cloud ERP for inventory
McTeague said she is happy with the new solution. She especially likes being able to see the company’s inventory status in simple, real-time snapshots.
“I like that you can do a lot of things with it. … There’s a lot of flexibility that comes with it because it is such a robust system,” McTeague said.
One huge perk of replacing QuickBooks with Business Central is the ability to drill down into various data points. With Business Central’s built-in analytics combined with Jet Reports, the team can quickly determine what it costs them to ship orders to one customer over another, McTeague said.
“Our customer profitability is much easier to get to right now. With the dimensions we’re able to cut the data how we want it. QuickBooks was very one-dimensional. We had a hard time getting to the detail we wanted,” she said.
McTeague said the granularity in reporting capabilities is helping them make better business decisions — and it’s based on real-time data thanks to the cloud technology.
“We were running QuickBooks on a server so everything that goes along with being cloud-based is fantastic,” she said. No longer does she have to drive into work on the weekend if the server goes down. No longer will the sales team have to wait for weekly or monthly reports. The entire team can access needed data points in real-time, from anywhere.
McTeague is excited to start using the analytics to help with forecasting and demand planning too. Next up she said they hope to implement Microsoft’s CRM solution and Power BI dashboards. And of course she will be using Boyer & Associates to get that next project done.
“The most important thing we’ve told people is definitely use an implementation team,” McTeague said.
She said the Boyer team walked her through the ERP implementation process and helped her set deadlines and stay on track to meet the company’s target “go-live” date. They told her when they needed certain information and conducted weekly status meetings to answer questions and make sure the project went smoothly.
“I thought Boyer did a great job. It was a great referral. They kept us on track and were knowledgeable. … I felt like our implementation consultants were really engaged and wanted us to succeed,” McTeague said.
In conclusion, McTeague said, “We are still learning. The system is so different from our old one that we continue to optimize our internal processes based on the new capabilities. But we are definitely heading in the right direction.”