If you’ve used Spruce from ECi Software Solutions to run your business for any length of time, chances are you already know about its powerful information management capabilities, its ease of use and the many features that make clear that it’s a program designed for lumber and building materials businesses by people who know the industry inside out.
But what you might not know quite so well is that when you become a Spruce user, you’re not just buying software; you’re also gaining a business partner who’s just as interested as you are in seeing you make the most of all the program offers.
Just ask Alan Pippenger, president of the Requarth Co. in Dayton, Ohio. More on Alan’s recent Spruce experiences in a moment, but first a little background.
Alan has the lumber and building materials business hardwired into his DNA. The Requarth Co. is one of the oldest lumberyards in the country, with a history that goes all the way back to Civil War days. Alan himself is part of the fifth generation of his family in the business and he’s been involved in the industry one way or another for more than 30 years.
With that kind of background and experience, he knows exactly what he wants from his business software. “It has to be easy to learn, easy to place an order and come with the ability to evolve and add features and functionality as our business needs and customer expectations change over time,” he says.
Spruce keeps company strong and growing in face of competition
All that is why Alan and his team are long-time Spruce users and, he says, Spruce has played a key role in keeping the business strong and growing despite some tough economic challenges and fierce competition from national lumberyard chains, big box hardware operations, other specialty retailers and more.
“Spruce has done an excellent job for us since we implemented the system in 2009,” says Alan. “It has given us a solid, fast order entry system and that’s been critical for customer service. At the same time, it’s easy to get our people to use the system and they are comfortable entering orders, purchase orders and quotes. Spruce has also proven its ability to grow with us and keep up with all the changes we’ve put in place over the past few years.”
Despite all the benefits Spruce has already brought to the business, Alan knows there’s always more he could be doing with the system and he gives kudos to Spruce for the consulting services the company offers that allow him to make it an even more valuable resource.
Spruce’s personal training helps the company improve at the employee level
Earlier this year, Alan brought in Spruce programmer Randy Caves to review the company’s use of the software and provide personal training for team members.
It was, he says, time very well spent.
“Given the level of competition we face, continually improving sales per employee and margin per employee is critical to our ability to grow and prosper,” he points out. “The two days Randy spent with us gave our people new insights and expertise that has definitely streamlined some key processes and made us all more productive,” he reports happily.
“Bringing in someone who knows the program inside out to help us make better use of all the features and functionality Spruce offers has had a significant impact in some key areas and made work easier and faster, pretty much company-wide.”
Thanks to Randy, Alan and his team have implemented more efficient ways to handle a broad range of issues and procedures that runs the gamut from cost corrections in accounts payables and tracking cash accounts to standardizing item sets for quotes, setting up return codes to better track that side of the business and implementing new and better techniques for searching the Spruce databases and making changes on a global basis.
“Randy’s visit was a real eye opener that made several aspects of the software much more useful for us,” says Alan. “And we got very positive feedback from our people from the time he spent with us.”
Company further streamlines processes through use of mobile apps
Alan and his team are far from finished with their efforts to make the most of all Spruce offers.
Plans for the next 12 months include implementation both of Spruce ProLink—which will give customers the ability to connect directly with the company and submit order and quote requests, view documents, check balances, and more on a 24/7 basis—and Spruce AnyWare—to improve receiving operations and capture electronic proof-of-delivery signatures on orders.
And there’s little doubt that the pattern of continuous improvements and upgrades to Spruce at the Requarth Company will continue, as Alan and his team search out new ways to run faster, leaner and more profitably.
“When we selected Spruce in 2009, we were looking for a system that would be able to grow with us and keep up with all the changes we would be going through,” Alan explains. “Spruce has certainly done that for over seven years and we’re confident in its ability to keep doing so for at least the next seven.”