- Location: London, Ontario
- Industry: Lumber and Building Materials
- Number of Locations: 6
- Sales Profile: 75% contractor, 25% retail
- Website: www.moffattandpowell.ca
“We added another branch, and we didn’t add any head office support. BisTrack software helps us work so efficiently that we simply absorbed that work.”
D’Arcy Quinn, Vice President | Moffatt & Powell RONA
Moffatt & Powell is using business intelligence to optimize efficiency in their growing operations. A few years ago, Moffatt & Powell signed on as an affiliate dealer with RONA, Canada’s largest distributor of hardware, renovation and gardening products. They bought a store from RONA, bringing them to a total of six locations serving the London, Ontario area. Continuing to grow, they’re tripling retail and doubling yard size specifically at one location. Epicor BisTrack software helps them stay lean, take advantage of economies of scale, and adapt to business fluctuations.
“We added another branch with 30 employees, and we didn’t add any head office support,” says D’Arcy Quinn, vice president at Moffatt & Powell | RONA. “BisTrack software helps us work so efficiently that we simply absorbed that work. We probably still have some capacity here to create another branch.”
“RONA was blown away by how quickly we converted the recently acquired store,” says Randy Brown, who together with an Epicor data conversion expert took just a week to convert the new store’s product, customer and pricing data. “It was very seamless. The only thing the customer noticed was a new invoice with a Moffatt & Powell logo at the top.” It also took just five days to convert to RONA’s hardline products, pricing and bin tickets. Brown recalls: “RONA couldn’t believe how quickly we turned that around.” Quinn adds: “Now purchase orders are flowing to RONA through EDI, and we can leverage each other’s automatic transfer of information.”
Data mining improves performance, efficiency and profitability
Brown’s title reflects just how fully the company embraces business intelligence synthesized from the information mined from the BisTrack solution and other systems. As Manager of Information, Systems and Performance, Brown extracts data from their IT systems, analyzes and synthesizes it, and presents it to company’s managers and employees to enable higher performance.
Quinn describes a labor management technique that saves the company hundreds of thousands of dollars in labor wages. “Randy has combined BisTrack software’s sales data with data from our time clock software on a BisTrack dashboard for each store manager. Now they’re looking at live data. If there’s a spike in demand, or if sales are down today, we have time to adjust our drivers’ schedules tomorrow.”
“We can see, for example, that tomorrow we have 100 hours of labor coming in, but only 30 hours of deliveries scheduled. We can easily switch orders from one branch to balance the load, if one branch is maxed out and another branch has capacity,” adds Brown.
Moffatt & Powell also tags products to indicate if they’re stored inside or outside, so that staffing in each zone can be adjusted on the fly based on the tickets actually being written.
“We’re definitely a lot more efficient,” says Brown, who attributes the ability to combine data from multiple sources onto a BisTrack dashboard to the openness of its database.
Role-based dashboards keep job tasks on track
Brown has developed dashboards for almost every function in the company: dispatcher, store manager, yard foreman, outside sales, inside sales, counter sales, rental department, credit, purchasing, accounts payable, inventory maintenance, data entry operator and head office. “We push them information based on what we think is necessary for them to do their jobs,” says Quinn. “We tailor it to their workflow, and there are Smart Views and reports that they have to look at daily, weekly, monthly and quarterly.”
“We use dashboards to display, for each user, what he or she needs to do the job right. You can’t train everybody on everything,” says Brown. “So the easier you make it, the more it’s designed for them, the more they’ll use it.”
Exception reporting helps managers work smart
Quinn and the store managers are constantly referring to dashboards that point out exceptions to them. “Instead of looking at every purchase order, store managers’ dashboards show only the purchase orders that deviate from the BisTrack suggested orders tool,” Quinn explains. “I can see real time data from all six branches. To quickly audit operations, I may look only at sales orders with margin percent problems in the last 24 hours, or products sold below a certain percent margin, products manually changed by a user in the past seven days, or inventory control items that haven’t had a price update in some period of time. So, again, managing by exception.”
“Lots of these issues were slipping through the cracks. You’d catch it when you were signing checks,” recalls Quinn. “Now, I spot a problem that happened in the last 24 hours, I make a phone call and talk to the person involved, and the problem is resolved.”
Tighter control on inventory and pricing practices impact profitability
“We’ve tidied up discounting quite a bit so people aren’t getting discounts they’re not entitled to,” says Quinn. “You can’t have a renovator who buys $10,000 getting the same discount as a pro-builder that buys $1 million from you. We have these thresholds in place for a reason, and BisTrack software helps us monitor discounts.”
“We’re doing a lot of low level analysis on inventory as well now, by product group and section,” says Brown. “It shows us which products aren’t selling, and how many months supply we have. BisTrack software is very good at identifying the problems.”
Better customer service with quick access to information
Quinn also appreciates how BisTrack software simplifies customer service, making it easy to find information quickly and present it to customers how they want it. “Everyone wants their information instantly in this world we live in. So simple things: A customer asks for a copy of a ticket, right click on Related Documents, click on the document, e-mail it, done in 30 seconds,” remarks Quinn as he describes how the BisTrack integrated document scanning and storage functionality as a Related Document speeds document retrieval to improve customer responsiveness.
“We’re looking at creating invoices for our preferred customers to show them how much they save over retail price,” says Quinn. “I can’t even imagine how we would have done it in the past.”
User community offers opportunity for business improvement
“I can see how a new person looking at BisTrack software would find it very intimidating,” Quinn comments. “The biggest challenge for a new person is to decide how they want to run their business. BisTrack software is flexible and so powerful. You can run it any way you like, and there are users out there running it different ways…And they’re all successful in different ways.”
He describes Moffatt & Powell’s strategy to first use the BisTrack solution to improve efficiency, productivity and economies of scale in their multi-location operation. “Next, we’ll use the BisTrack Mobile Stock Count functionality in the larger retail operations,” says Quinn explaining that they are currently testing BisTrack Mobile applications, as well as truck-mounted GPS to optimize centralization of dispatch.
“The BisTrack software user community are doing amazing things, and we can’t wait until we have time to tackle some of them because they’re awesome,” says Quinn referring to reports of increased sales through CRM, data mining customer buying habits, selling kits, and other ideas coming out of the user community. “It’s a really good group of people who are great at sharing ideas and information. They think we’re doing some pretty cool things, but the feeling is mutual. With a strong group like that, BisTrack software just keeps getting stronger for us.”