Success Story: Precise Manufacturing
M1 Serves as Powerful Resource on Multiple Levels
Despite the challenges of a persistently weak economy and fierce competition, both domestically and from overseas, Whitcraft and his team have doubled revenues over the past five years. Increased sales to existing accounts and the acquisition of a nearby competitor significantly broadened both its custom machining capabilities and its customer and vendor base. A track record of sustained, profitable growth during difficult times provides more than enough reason to listen to what Whitcraft has to say about technology. But there’s more.
Before he took over as Precise president, Whitcraft spent four years working on complex ERP installations for other manufacturers. He’s seen up-close what works and what doesn’t when it comes to effective use of technology in a manufacturing environment. And he knows how the wrong technology decisions can take a successful, smooth-running business and turn it, sometimes almost overnight, into an operational nightmare.
'A strong technology infrastructure is absolutely critical for a company like ours,” Whitcraft points out. “First of all, our people need a program that works for them, because happy employees are productive employees. But from a sales and customer service perspective, quick and easy access to real-time data is essential in today’s environment'.
The good news for Whitcraft and his team is that with M1, they get all that and more.
'One of the things we really like about M1 is that it’s put together by folks who listened to their customers on what they wanted to see and how they wanted the software to behave', reports Whitcraft.
'The program we were using before converting to M1 was certainly technically correct and would do what it was supposed to do', he recalls. 'But we always felt it was designed by programmers who never actually had to use the software themselves, and that’s a big difference!'
Precise converted to M1 in 2009 and, the way Whitcraft tells the story, it brought a whole new level of productivity and efficiency to his business.
'With our old system, renewing quotes or making minor changes was a painful process', he recalls. 'M1 does all that really easy and gives us the ability to take a quote to market much faster'.
Customer service at Precise also benefitted from the move to M1. 'It keeps our customers happy when they can call and get an immediate answer to their questions, rather than being asked to hang up and wait until we get back to them', Whitcraft says. 'We really couldn’t do that as effectively without M1'.
The program has proved just as effective on the financial management front. 'We perform a financial close at the end of every month. With our previous system, it was always a struggle. With M1, we can complete a monthly financial close literally within just one or two days after the last day of the month. And because M1 uses an SQL database instead of a proprietary system, exporting data into Crystal Reports or Excel is so much easier'.
And as for the installation process?
'I worked on ERP installations for four years before taking over at Precise and I would have to say bringing M1 in was one of the easier installs I ever had', Whitcraft reports happily. 'We moved 10 years’ worth of important business data from our old system to M1 and it was easy. We did it locally and the whole process took less than an hour!'
Once the program was up and running, the M1 training and technical support teams made sure things continued to go smoothly.
'The training and support from M1, particularly in the initial implementation phase, was really good', says Whitcraft. 'The implementation was so simple that it didn’t take a lot of training anyway. In addition, we really liked switching from an overseas call centre system for technical support, which our previous software provider had been using, to the M1 approach, where we got a prompt response from technicians who had the ability, when needed, to just take over the desktop by remote control and quickly resolve any issues right in front of us'.
If all that sounds impressive, it gets even better when you’re seeing it through the eyes of an ERP veteran. 'When I used to sell software, we typically worked on $200,000-300,000 installs', Whitcraft remembers. 'With M1, the number is closer to $30,000!'
Even more impressive is the low level of ongoing care and maintenance M1 requires. 'There are a lot of ERP systems out there that require a full-time staff to manage', Whitcraft points out. I’m the president and owner of a good-sized company but because of my background, I’m also the IT guy. MI works like it’s supposed to and it takes up very little of my time. All in all, M1 is an incredibly robust system for the price and offers a lot of value for what you pay'.
As John Whitcraft looks to the future for Precise, he sees nothing but good things ahead. 'The manufacturing sector in the United States will continue to rebound, as the cost advantages of overseas manufacturing continue to decline', he predicts confidently.
'And we feel very good about our own future at Precise', Whitcraft add. 'There’s already quite a bit of work out there and a growing number of companies that are looking for the kind of quality service that we offer as well as competitive prices'.
As John Whitcraft talks about the future, there’s no doubt his confidence in M1’s ability to take his company where it needs to go.
In M1, he and his team have found a resource that effectively supports their business model on multiple levels. It’s software that’s powerful, easy to use and that comes with a flexibility that’s needed to respond to the demands of a fiercely competitive market. That’s good news for Precise Manufacturing today and it promises to stay that way for many years to come!