Owl’s Head Alloys is all about turning something old into something new. The Kentucky-based aluminum smelter recycles its clients’ scrap aluminum, melting it down and returning it to the clients for reuse in production. Owl’s Head is entirely employee-owned and focuses on putting out quality products with minimal impact to the environment. The company has earned a reputation as a leading provider of aluminum alloys, with some of its biggest clients supplying the automobile industry.
When Kevin Mays joined Owl’s Head Alloys as CFO in November of 2017, he discovered that the company was using an antiquated accounting solution known as ACCPAC. The 13-year-old system had outlived its creator, leaving Owl’s Head with no support for its accounting system and no ability to upgrade.
After doing some research and consulting with their existing accounting partner, Mays and Owl’s Head determined the best match for their needs was Microsoft’s cloud-based business management solution, Dynamics 365 Business Central. They began the implementation with high hopes, but as the months dragged on it became clear that their partner did not have the capability to complete the project as promised. Mays became increasingly frustrated with their lack of response to his inquiries, their limited assistance with the implementation and their complete “hands off” approach to training a team that he knew needed a little extra help.
“I was about ready to just chuck Business Central and forget about it,” he said. In hopes that he could still salvage the investment already made into the new system, Mays started asking around to see if he could find a Business Central partner who might be more knowledgeable and able to “pick up the slack and finish the implementation.”
Boyer & Associates was recommended as a Microsoft gold-certified partner who had already completed several successful Dynamics 365 Business Central implementations. By the time the first Boyer consultant stepped on site, the Owl’s Head Alloys team was five months into the implementation process but had made minimal progress. The previous partner knew little about the company’s needs and expected Mays’ small and inexperienced team to figure out for themselves how best to configure the software. It didn’t take long for Mays to see a difference in the quality of work once Boyer took charge of the project.
“(Boyer) did a very good job of coming out and understanding what our business was like, what our needs are, what we were looking for … and tailoring the software to what we were needing,” Mays said. He added that the Boyer consultants knew the solution inside and out.
The responsiveness of his new partner was refreshing too. Whereas his previous partner frequently took days to respond, the Boyer team typically responded the same day or early the following day. He also appreciated their willingness to travel on-site, which Mays said gave his team much more confidence throughout the training process.
Boyer spent four months finishing the implementation. Most of that time was spent cleaning up the previous partner’s mess, according to Mays. “(Boyer) had to do a lot of repair work and get us trained,” he said.
Owl’s Head Alloys went live on Jan. 1, 2020. After just two full months of using their new accounting system, Mays is already noticing huge benefits.
“(Boyer has) gotten us started very well and we’re handling more and more of it now ourselves,” he said. Mays and his coworkers are now able to navigate the system seamlessly and after 13 years on an ancient accounting system, they’re finally getting used to Business Central.
“We had to do accounting the right way with Business Central, which I like. … We were able to fudge numbers a little bit too much with the previous system,” Mays said.
On the old system, they were entering payable and receivables at the end of the month and had no real-time visibility into the company’s finances. Now, Mays can log in on any given day and quickly get an overview of the company’s exact financial position. He is also able to drill down into purchase and sales invoices and general ledger entries, answering any questions he might have without having to track down the person who entered the data.
“We’re just scratching the surface on it,” Mays said. “Once we get our comfort around the core package then we’re going to start exploring what else it can do.”
Currently, Owl’s Head is live with the core modules of Business Central, and implementation of a fixed assets module is in the works. As he gets more used to the system, Mays looks forward to delving into the software’s Power BI capabilities to leverage more informative reports. He also plans to begin using the cost accounting features to provide more insight into individual customer projects.
Mays was so pleased with Boyer’s work that he engaged the Microsoft gold-certified partner to do an implementation for their sister company, MetalWorks. He urged anyone looking to have Boyer implement Business Central to “rely heavily on your consultant.”
“We’ve been very impressed with Boyer’s responsiveness and attention to us and they’ve gained a ton of confidence from us in fixing what harm was done by the previous firm,” Mays said.