“Once we started onboarding, we just ripped the band-aid off and jumped right in, and Acctivate has been great ever since.”
Ryan Jones, VP Operations
Distributor of high-end kitchen appliances
Disconnected data with financials in QuickBooks and inventory and orders manually handled with spreadsheets.
A centralized inventory software connected to QuickBooks to manage inventory and high order demand in a more automated manner.
Getting operational processes under control to support their growth that resulted in revenue doubling in 2020.
“Right now, the real name of the game in the appliance industry is having inventory. If you have it, you can sell it because it is hard to get with supply chain issues. We take care of our customers and do what we say we’re going to do,” Ryan Jones, VP Operations emphasized.
High demand for Maple Distributing products requires better inventory management
As Maple Distributing rapidly grew, QuickBooks and spreadsheets were not keeping up with their demand and operational processes. The challenges were causing issues and they knew they needed to get on top of keeping better track of their inventory.
We started with QuickBooks, but we had way too much inventory to track. We just couldn’t track the things we needed to track in QuickBooks, so we were doing it manually in spreadsheets. QuickBooks just wasn’t adequate.
We started looking around at the larger software companies. They were too big, too expensive, and didn’t get what we were trying to do. We didn’t need all the things that some of the big ones like SAP® did.
We needed something to have better visibility of our inventory,” Jones explained.
Maple Distributing solves operational challenges with a centralized inventory solution
Maple Distributing found the right fit in Acctivate Inventory Software. They went live with Acctivate in December 2019. With Lauren Stine, Onboarding Manager guiding them in their software implementation and the Maple Distributing team working hard on training in the model company and establishing their processes in Acctivate, they were able to meet their goal of being live by January 1, 2020, in a two-month onboarding process.
We had Lauren to help us implement Acctivate and she couldn’t have been better.
The onboarding process was smooth for what we were trying to do, and we were happy with it. If we hadn’t have gone live when we did, our business would have suffered.
Once we started onboarding, we just ripped the band-aid off and jumped right in, and Acctivate has been great ever since,” Jones recalled.
With Acctivate in place, Maple Distributing began to see their top three challenges alleviated, including improving QuickBooks without replacing it; employing better inventory management practices, especially tracking serialized inventory; and calculating landing cost for imports.
QuickBooks challenges solved
The fact that Acctivate works with QuickBooks to extend its capabilities through a direct bi-directional integration, Maple Distributing was able to continue using the software they already trusted and knew. Acctivate became their primary system for managing purchasing, inventory, orders, fulfillment, and customers while QuickBooks remained in the back-end managing financials and retrieving and sending data to Acctivate.
Switching software is a nightmare in any capacity, so having an accounting piece that we didn’t have to change and that we already knew well, made having Acctivate as an add-on to that a huge benefit.”
Inventory management + serial traceability challenges solved
With an actual inventory software to replace manual, error-prone spreadsheets, Maple Distributing now experiences better overall control of inventory, including over their product imports and serialized products.
It’s invaluable to have everyone working in the same system and not working in spreadsheets trying to keep track of inventory.”
With Acctivate, inventory levels are also maintained across all warehouses preventing product from being sold when it is not yet available, particularly as it is imported.
Being able to manage multiple warehouses in Acctivate is huge.
We import products from Italy. When something ships, it’s in our inventory, but we can’t put it in our main warehouse inventory since it is still on a boat. We have an “on the water” warehouse, so as soon as something ships from Italy, Turkey or anywhere overseas, we import it into that warehouse. We know that it is coming and it’s part of our inventory because we own it, but it’s not showing its available inventory in our main warehouse.”
The ability to track and trace serial numbers in Acctivate saves Maple Distributing from detrimental consequences within their operations and keeps their business afloat.
We’re dealing with expensive products and almost all of our appliances are serialized. We bring the serial number into Acctivate, and then we ship the serial number out. If we couldn’t track the serial numbers, we wouldn’t know what was going on and would be in big trouble—it’s our lifeline.”
Maple Distributing gains additional serial number control with Acctivate’s mobile warehousing functionality as they use portable barcoding devices for their order fulfillment process.
For outbound orders, we scan serial numbers for pick tickets, which has cut down on miskeying information. There are no longer issues with warehouse employees writing down incorrect serial numbers or picking the wrong product,” Jones said.
Cost of goods sold challenges solved
Maple Distributing relies heavily on Acctivate’s landed cost feature, which provides them with a true cost of goods sold by adding in their freight charges for container pools that they purchase and have imported. This is especially critical as the price of containers has increased exponentially.
We’re using landed cost in Acctivate to add freight costs into our products. We get a few products from China, and the container that used to be $4,500 could be $18,000 now. To not track that wouldn’t work because the percentage of cost of the item that is freight is enormous.”
Maple Distributing gains a streamlined process to fulfill customer orders
The order manager in Acctivate has been a lifesaver for Maple Distributing after trying to track orders in spreadsheets. As a central hub for order management and fulfillment it enables them to view order progress, perform batch actions for all orders, and keep orders moving through the supply without any mishaps.
We used to keep track of what orders we had and when they needed to go in spreadsheets, then we would cross-reference that spreadsheet with QuickBooks and what we had,” Jones described of their former inefficient process.
A huge aspect of Acctivate is the order manager. Our whole company is based around order manager since products and orders are the heart of our distribution business.
If we didn’t have order manager to put sales orders in and then to move them around in different workflow status buckets, then we wouldn’t be able to operate. The communication between the office and the warehouse is all done through Acctivate.
For example, we put the sales orders in, and if a customer wants it now, we put it in the ‘ready to pick’ bucket, which the warehouse monitors. When something is ready to pick, they go pick it. They’ll then move the order from ‘picked’ into ‘packaging’, and then to ‘shipped.”
Rapid growth under control with Acctivate
Maple Distributing has benefited from moving away from manually managing inventory with spreadsheets. Now, they have Acctivate working on the frontlines of their operations as their centralized, automated inventory solution keeping all their users and data unified; plus, robust functionality to deploy more strategic processes as they steadily grow.
We’re doing 3% more in revenue than when we started. In 2020, we doubled the revenue of our company,” Jones said.
With such growth, Maple Distributing was recognized as one of the fastest-growing private companies in North Texas with the 2021 Dallas 100 Award.
Now with Acctivate in place their growth can be supported, and Jones is seeing the ROI and stands by Acctivate as a software he would recommend to others.
We would be dead in the water without Acctivate. We depend on it so much.
The simplicity of Acctivate is great. The interface is easy to learn and navigate. We liked QuickBooks because it was easy, and it does what we needed to do for our accounting piece. But it is weak with inventory management. Being able to addon Acctivate to QuickBooks is a really great solution for us.”