LeafGuard

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LeafGuard

Business needs

In 2011, when a franchisee of the LeafGuard division of Perth Amboy, NJ-headquartered gutter and roofing manufacturer Englert Inc. unexpectedly went out of business, the LeafGuard business faced the prospect of having important sales territories unserved by a distributor of its patented covered rain gutter system.

Accordingly, the business took the decision to serve the territories itself, making it the first time that an Englert business had run its own retail operation.

Supporting the retail operation through a combination of Intuit’s QuickBooks Accounting and Crystal Reports, LeafGuard soon found that although the QuickBooks solution had been quick to implement, it lacked the full breadth of functionality that LeafGuard required.

Consequently, a decision taken in 2013 to investigate Microsoft’s Dynamics range of ERP offerings made perfect sense. But the choice of a partner to help the LeafGuard business to identify and implement the most appropriate solution was to prove less propitious.

Challenge

Initially, LeafGuard had evaluated Microsoft’s Microsoft Dynamics GP solution, after another franchisee recommended evaluating the Dynamics GP suite first. But in the event, LeafGuard decided that Microsoft Dynamics AX was a better fit, and in late 2014 began implementing it.

It quickly became clear, however, that the business’s chosen implementation partner lacked real expertise in the system, despite having successfully implemented LeafGuard’s Microsoft Dynamics CRM system.

“It was a very painful implementation, very late, and with a lot of the support coming in the form of overnight e-mails arriving from India,” sums up Tere Valcarel, LeafGuard’s CFO.

Worse was to come, as an attempt at parallel running for the months of July and August 2015 made clear.

“It just wasn’t working,” says Valcarel. “Units of measure weren’t matching, for instance—products were being purchased or manufactured in one unit of measure, and sold in another, so very quickly our inventory balances were way out.”

What to do? LeafGuard’s IT director reached out to industry contacts, with the suggestion quickly coming back that it would make sense to look at the ERP recovery capabilities of eBECS.

Why eBECS?

eBECS’ recovery experts, it transpired, had seen such situations before—and had resolved them, and could point LeafGuard to references where such recoveries had been successful.

What’s more, says Valcarel, eBECS’ experts were on site quickly, demonstrating a familiarity with the issues that LeafGuard was experiencing, and highlighting how difficulties could be overcome.

“We accepted that the recovery process would be painful, but knew that it was important to support our people, and give them the confidence that they could get the answers that they needed immediately, rather than waiting for an e-mail to arrive from India the next day.”

Solution

The work undertaken took several forms. Fixing the configuration and customization issues, for instance, was an important first step. Also important was helping LeafGuard to roll out much-needed user training—not just in terms of headquarters employees, but out in the field, where many of the difficulties were arising.

But a critical part of the role, explains Valcarel, was simply hand-holding: being there, at the end of a phone, or connecting through screen-sharing software, and helping users to work through difficulties. E-mails, too, played a part, with eBECS able to respond in near real-time as queries arose.

All of this took six months, relates Valcarel. But very quickly, she explains, it was evident that the situation had stabilized, and that employees were becoming more confident in using the system.

And by mid-2017, she adds, the number of support calls had fallen to about one a week, and usage of the system had evolved to the point that the business was by now very familiar with what Microsoft Dynamics AX could do, and was actively looking for ways of further exploiting its power, and strengthening and improving the associated business processes.

Importantly, too, also under active consideration was integrating the business’s Dynamics AX and CRM solutions together, which would give rise to a whole new set of benefits.

Benefits

LeafGuard is in no doubt as to the ROI of its investment in the eBECS ERP recovery offering, explains Valcarel.

“We’d already made the financial commitment in the product, and incurred costs,” she points out. “The work with eBECS was about making it work, and learning what we needed to know—as quickly as possible—in order to become self-sufficient from the support point of view.”

But as a result, she concludes, the relationship with eBECS has strengthened and deepened: eBECS, she stresses, is seen as a partner which can deliver.

“What we were looking for initially was a responsive partner who could help us when we needed that help. The fact that we were extremely pleased and satisfied with that help has led to a relationship that has continued and evolved.”

Solution overview

201-500 employees
For over 50 years, Englert Inc. has been the gold standard for commercial and residential metal roofing and gutter systems, and on-site roll-forming machines. There are many reasons why Englert is tops in its industry. Englert is on the cutting edge, and will remain so, consistently improving the quality of its products and services to meet the challenges of a changing world.
eBECS
Microsoft Dynamics AX
Manufacturing, Building Services

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