Spruce Takes Productivity and Efficiency to New Levels
If you have any doubts about the importance of a strong technology platform for LBM dealers, just spend a few minutes with Lola VanDeWalle, Vice President of Dick-N-Sons Lumber in Blue Grass, Iowa.
An industry veteran with over 20 years of experience, VanDeWalle views technology as a vital strategic resource for her company. “Our customers want instant access to information and the vendors and business partners we work with only want to do business electronically,” she says. “Technology is critical today and it’s only going to get even more important as we go forward.”
That’s why, just over two years ago, Dick-N-Sons made the switch from Epicor’s Eagle program to Spruce LBM software from ECi Software Solutions, the leader in software development for growth-oriented small and mid-size enterprises.
Transitioning from legacy software to an end-to-end solution empowered the business
“We were long-time Epicor Eagle users but while it might have gotten the job done once upon a time, it became increasingly limiting for us as we grew,” VanDeWalle explains. “Epicor Eagle could not really handle our growing lumber business and there was no accounting functionality—we had to manually enter sales data from Epicor into a separate accounting program every day and it took hours!”
When VanDeWalle and her team went looking for replacement software, it didn’t take long to find it. “What we saw in Spruce was a complete package that offered everything we needed to handle both our retail hardware business and our lumber operation from start to finish,” she explains.
“Just about any basic POS system can handle a sale at the register, but our business is so much more than that,” VanDeWalle contends. “With Spruce, we have a single point of contact that can go from estimates to orders, from orders to invoices and dispatch and then on to accounting, all the way through to tax reports at the end of the year. Instead of buying software that does only part of what you need, but then forces you to pay more for additional functionality or programs, Spruce gave us an all-inclusive package that covers all our bases, and offers scalability for the future.”
Cloud-based software automates maintenance, backups, upgrades, and security
Spruce’s status as a cloud-based system also made a big difference, VanDeWalle explains. “Before Spruce, the Epicor program was hosted on a server and we had to do all of our own backups and upgrades,” she recalls. “When we switched to Spruce, we no longer had to take care of maintenance, backups, and security. That freed up valuable time to spend in more productive areas.”
Anytime, anywhere access boosts efficiency by allowing executives the freedom to roam
Plus, being in the cloud means the Dick-N-Sons team can now access the program literally from anywhere. “One of our operations managers is a farmer and he can pull Spruce up from his tractor,” says VanDeWalle, who herself has logged on from an orphanage in the Dominican Republic while working there as a volunteer.
In just two short years, says VanDeWalle, Spruce LBM software has completely transformed operations at Dick-N-Sons and taken productivity and efficiency to whole new levels. “We are completely automated now,” she reports happily. “Our sales team can bid a job and instead of having to re-key everything multiple times, the details all flow seamlessly through the integrated business system.”
Dick-N-Sons’ truck drivers even carry their own Spruce tablets to record delivery details and take photos that go directly into the proof-of-delivery file. And since the information is completely live, anyone can see real-time order status, expected delivery times and more with just a few mouse clicks.
“So many aspects to the Spruce program have been absolutely wonderful for us,” says VanDeWalle. “We have 100% better insight on our inventory and margins thanks to Spruce. It has dramatically improved our receiving and quarterly and year-end reports for our CPA that used to take weeks to prepare now get done in a day.”
Intuitive Windows-based software is easy to learn and master
For all its high-tech bells and whistles, Spruce is a remarkably user-friendly program according to VanDeWalle. “Like most businesses, we have a wide range of ages in our team—from youngsters who grew up with technology to long-time employees who had never used computers before and find them quite daunting,” she reports. “None of our people had any trouble learning the program when we made the switch. Now, when we bring in new hires, all it takes is maybe a day or two and they’re comfortable running the register.”
Spruce’s technical support provides a true technology partnership
And if all that wasn’t enough, VanDeWalle can’t say enough good things about the people side of the Spruce organization. “Spruce’s technical support team did an amazing job of getting us ready for the conversion,” she says. “They don’t go away once you go live and they’re continually upgrading and adding to the program to keep making it better.”
After switching from Epicor Eagle to Spruce, VanDeWalle and her team can now focus on what’s truly important for the business instead of trying to figure out how to run it in spite of their software’s limitations.
“Spruce is supporting our growth in a way that Epicor never did,” she says. “It’s become a critical asset for our entire organization since we started using it and it’s only going to become even more important going forward.”