Picking Up the Pieces Through Partnership
- A Savance Enterprise Client Case Study
Savance just makes it easy to get customers served and back out on the road.
Founded in 1977 in Dunn, NC, J&J Wholesale Distributors, Inc. is a family-owned and operated business specializing in kitchen and bathroom fixtures, plumbing parts and supplies, tankless water heaters, and more. Owner Jason Carpenter is committed to delivering the best customer service and knowledgeable assistance to each and every customer — with the speed his team needs to thrive.
A little over three years ago, J&J’s Owner Jason Carpenter decided to place a large investment into a new ERP Software for his business - a huge investment to say the least. He was promised the service and a product he didn’t quite get. And after just 3 years of being “Live,” he knew he had made the wrong choice.
“Me and another PHCP/Luxury showroom wholesaler decided to move to the [competitor ERP Software] together. We wanted to be on the same program so that we could communicate with each other more intelligently, talk things over, and trade product advice,” explains Carpenter. “I should have known right off the bat things were going to go south,” Carpenter adds after witnessing the less than promised on-site experience for his friend’s company. Still, there was some hope his transition would go smoother. Until there wasn’t.
“We weren’t able to just make a switch and go live. We were down for a day and a half. We also did not have the same trainer [as the other company],” a specific request Carpenter and his industry colleague required. After all, the whole purpose of the dual package ERP deal was to learn from one another and build similar workflows.
“It took us about three or four months before we realized we were not even on the same version of the software,” says Carpenter referencing the different versions of the ERP software that were rolled out to
each company. “We would find ourselves trying to discuss things over the phone and both looking at our separate computer systems. He would be referencing one populated field, and I would say ‘I don’t see that’ because the systems were not set up the same way.”
The lack of a shared trainer resulted in one business operating one way, and the other operating another way — a total communication breakdown for Carpenter, not just with his counterpart, but with the
software company as well. “Everything became very cumbersome with our previous ERP System,” reflects Carpenter. As he explained, you can’t just implement a new software and expect people to know how to run their businesses seamlessly. “I don’t feel as though I got enough training on the software. I also don’t feel like the trainer knew what needed to be done properly to “let us go”. I felt like I was thrown to the wolves from the very beginning.”
Three months after transitioning to the [competitor software], Carpenter attended the Equity Group Showcase (which has since merged into IMARK Group). Carpenter recounts approaching the Savance booth and beginning conversations that immediately made him feel comfortable. “I remember the Savance gentleman saying to me, ‘Who are you on now?’ and my reply was that I had just recently signed my deal. His response was merely ‘then what are you doing talking to me?’” Carpenter went on to say that he simply was not happy. In fact, he was so unhappy with his decision to transition to [the competitor product] that he told the Savance team he did not have it in him to stay with the selected system for the rest of his career. Carpenter received a quick demonstration and liked what he saw.
“Savance was built on common sense and logic. ”
“Savance was built on common sense and logic,” says Carpenter. Still, he had just invested a lot of money and time into the solution. So Carpenter decided to wait and see if things improved. Much to his dismay, they did not.
Taking a Second Look
J&J found themselves re-evaluating their decision yet again when they took part in the Southern Wholesalers Association’s annual conference. Carpenter recalls seeing yet another ERP option during the show, which got him thinking about his system woes. He tasked himself with getting reacquainted with Savance. “I told myself that I owed it to my businesses and to myself to check Savance out again.”
After receiving another demonstration and doing some more research, Carpenter decided it was time to cut his losses and proceed with a software company that would quickly make up for the lost time and accelerate his business.
“I told myself that I owed it to my businesses and to myself to check Savance out again. ”
The decision to proceed forward spoke volumes about Savance’s ability to cater to each customer’s individual needs. As Carpenter explains “I am a hard person to please. But, everyone at Savance was willing to listen to me, to hear me out. We worked together to find solutions that worked for my business when necessary. That was, and still remains, a big deal to me.” Carpenter reflects on times he brought ideas to his previously committed ERP company saying “every time I had an idea, they would tell me it was invalid or that it would cost me a considerable amount of money to customize into my system. It became exhausting to continuously explain why I needed my software set up the way my business worked.”
In fact, that level of personalization was never more apparent than when J&J began the data extraction for the transition. Carpenter encountered considerable issues with field mapping preventing him to identify critical information that needed to be present in his new system. He recounts trying to find where the information lived within the system. But the data appeared to be corrupt. To make matters worse, the former software company could not locate the missing information, which resulted in lost time and added frustration. After several rounds of back-and-forth of what seemed to be an impossible task, Carpenter, and Savance decided the most logical solution to establish a strong foundation, would be to rebuild the system from scratch — and that’s just what they did.
While the decision to move ended up costing Carpenter a huge investment, he chalks it up to experience and life lessons. “In the end, at some point, you have to lick your wounds and get back into the battle. It was a life lesson and I won’t make that mistake again.”
Pandemic Presents Oppportunity
Though seemingly unconventional, J&J decided to “go-live” amidst the height of the global COVID-19 pandemic. Carpenter says, they simply needed to land on a date and move forward knowing the improvements would be greatly beneficial to their businesses, which was experiencing a huge spike in orders. One immediate benefit? The Savance system created a substantial improvement in automating billing, alleviating the need for paper and added handling.
“Customers are actually paying their bills earlier than they ever have before, which is unheard of in this industry. ”
“Savance's automation has been pretty mistake-free and has helped us a lot during a time when nobody wants to touch anything of someone else’s,” says Carpenter. This feature has helped slash customer payment time by proactively encouraging bill pay earlier than J&J would have previously received. “Customers are actually paying their bills earlier than they ever have before, which is unheard of in this industry,” states Carpenter. Part of the reason for that is because Savance’s intuitive sales order entry automatically notifies the customer of the order which signals a payment is upcoming. Carpenter says this feature has been a blessing in disguise given the recent economic environment.
Employees Take On the Future
Carpenter adds his team is very receptive to the new Savance system and has picked up the workflows pretty quickly. While there are always technical learning curves, his speed-to-customer time has improved greatly since transitioning to Savance. He is delighted to look at the multiple terminals and see everyone serving a customer, faster than they ever have before due to the intuitive nature of sales order entry. “My team doesn’t have time to click around seven times before landing on the screen they need. With Savance, I know my customers are not waiting around an extra five or ten minutes because we’re processing an order. Savance just makes it easy to get customers served and back out on the road”.
J&J Kitchen and Bath has set themselves up for success long into the future with Savance Enterprise ERP Software. Most importantly, the Savance system has given them the ease-of-use needed to learn how to do something and not need to rely on extraneous training and additional fees. Because of that, Carpenter believes his choice to move systems, even after a huge financial loss from previous mistakes, will pay dividends in the end. “Not once have I second-guessed my decision to change over to Savance,” says Carpenter. In part, that is also due to his employee’s 90% approval rating of the new software. As Carpenter says, “sometimes you just need to realize your mistakes and move on, even if it stings at first.”