Cloud-based software for independent hardware dealers and convenience lumberyards

Success Story:
Spann’s Hardware

RockSolid MAX® Hardware Store Software Saves Time and Money

These are good times for Chuck Spann and his team at Spann's Hardware in Winfield, Alabama. Since he and his sister April took over the business six years ago, sales are up an impressive 50%, far ahead of the pace of the local economy overall.

One factor behind that growth is Chuck’s own background. When he returned to the family business his father started in 1966, he brought with him over 30 years of corporate management experience that included 20 years as a CFO and 10 more in a CEO position for major healthcare organizations.

Chuck knows how to run a business and while Spann’s Hardware is far smaller than just about all of the organizations where he worked before he and April took it over, the principals he used in the large corporate world have proved their worth just as well in a small business environment.

But there’s also another key factor behind the store’s growth over the past six years: hard work and plenty of it!

When Chuck and April took over from their dad, Spann’s was still being run by a paper-based system. “Everything revolved around the ticket book and the cash register and even the most important business decisions were being made on the basis of little more than guesswork and gut instinct,” he recalls.

Not only did lack of business management software mean Chuck was flying blind on the business, it also meant he and the rest of the team were putting in incredibly long hours! “I was working seven days a week, 12-14 hours a day and even though I would take one day off from the store each week, I would still be up at 7:00 a.m. that day and working on the business at the kitchen table until 7:00 p.m. that night,” he remembers painfully.

But while Chuck recognized there was a pressing need to automate the business, other priorities also required attention. During his first four years at the helm, Chuck reset the store, changing out all the fixtures and embarking on an ambitious remerchandising program that is still in progress.

It was time to automate the business—enter RockSolid MAX POS Software

It was only after all that was in place that Chuck started to focus in earnest on finding the right computer system to run the business. After doing due diligence on several industry systems, one choice stood out clearly from the rest: RockSolid MAX® hardware store software from ECi Software Solutions.

“We looked at EPICOR and Paladin and both of them would have required a $10,000–$11,000 upfront investment just for the software license alone,” he recalls. “With RockSolid MAX, there were no upfront software costs and we were able to sign up with a pay-as-you-go rental type arrangement. From a pure dollars-and-cents point of view, switching to RockSolid MAX was not a hard decision!”

But even savings on that scale—no matter how good they looked—would have been worthless if the program itself failed to meet Chuck’s needs as a manager.

Fortunately, that was never a problem with RockSolid MAX.

Conversion to RockSolid MAX hardware store software went smoothly

“I had put in a lot of computer systems during my years as a CFO and CEO in healthcare and I had a good idea of what we needed from our software,” Chuck says. RockSolid MAX not only fit the bill for Spann’s but also, he reports, implementation went remarkably smoothly.

Moving to some programs from a purely paper-based system can often be a challenging, labor-intensive process, with a massive amount of manual data entry with which to contend. Not so, however, with RockSolid MAX.

“The conversion went very well,” Chuck recalls. “We had more than 20,000 SKUs that needed to go into the system but I was able to pull purchase history from all our vendors and upload it into RockSolid MAX with no major problems or glitches. And once we had tested out the data and done some initial training, going live was easy—we pretty much just flicked a switch and there we were!”

The hardware business now runs smoothly, too

Once Spann’s Hardware was in the hands of RockSolid MAX, life for Chuck Spann started to change dramatically and in a very good way!

Instead of needing at least an hour each day to balance sales from the cash register tape, all Chuck had to do now was just count the cash and the system took care of the rest!

An order for Orgill or True Value® that used to take two hours or more to put together now assembles and transmits in 15 minutes or less with RockSolid MAX.

Statements for charge accounts, which before the switch could take as long as 12 hours each month to assemble and mail, now required little more than an hour!

The cloud-based hardware business system requires little maintenance

Also important from the ease-of-management-and-maintenance perspective was RockSolid’s cloud-based platform.

“I knew from the day we started looking for software that we wanted a cloud-based system,” Chuck recalls. “I really liked the idea that they would be taking care of our data and we would not have to manage a server and deal with software updates and daily back-ups.”

RockSolid MAX helped them increase the value of their customer service

RockSolid MAX not only made Chuck’s life a whole lot easier, it also took customer service at Spann’s to a whole new level.

The large contractor buys that before might have taken over an hour to price properly and ring up now move through the checkout in less than 10 minutes. Quotes that could take a day or more to deliver can now be turned around in minutes. And a growing number of customers are receiving invoices and statements by email, something that was simply impossible for Spann’s before the move to RockSolid MAX.

Less than six months after going live with RockSolid MAX, life at Spann’s Hardware is so much better. Business decisions are now being made on the basis of hard data instead of gut feel and guesswork. Customers are being served better than ever before. And Chuck Spann has got his life back!

Thanks to RockSolid MAX, he no longer has to spend his days off working on the business and those long, long hours he put in to balance the books or build an order are an increasingly distant memory.

“RockSolid MAX has lived up to expectations and then some,” he says. “For our store and for me personally, it gives us just what we need.”

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