““The ‘openness’ of the software lets me create custom reports that ‘slice and dice’ the information the way I want to see it, unlike some software systems which just generate standard, unreadable reports.”
– Dan Schroeder, President, Grand Technologies
Grand Technologies, based in Grand Rapids, Michigan, is a distributor of machine automation control components. The company provides sub-assemblies, such as heaters with temperature controls, to process equipment manufacturers and also offers programmable controllers to makers of automated systems. Grand’s customers range from small to large companies in a variety of industries.
While Grand Technologies has a roster of approximately 400 customers throughout the state of Michigan, President Dan Schroeder describes the market as “highly technical industry and extremely competitive.” According to Schroeder, the key market differentiators often are whom the customer trusts and the level of service offered. He emphasizes that Grand focuses on service as its major competitive edge. While many of Grand’s competitors offer some form of service, Grand offers a deeper level of service. In fact, the company maintains a dedicated in-house application engineer to provide customers with post-purchase support, answer operational/technical questions and assist in the programming that some Grand products require.
Grand Technologies had been using a rudimentary ERP software solution for which upgrades and support were no longer available. The company tried several ERP solutions targeted at the smaller manufacturer but found them weak on inventory tracking. With more than 500 different inventory items, Grand required a solution with strong inventory management capabilities.
A software distributor recommended that Schroeder investigate SYSPRO enterprise software. The solution’s powerful inventory management capabilities as well as the integrated nature of the solution convinced Schroeder, and SYSPRO was implemented at Grand Technologies in early 2004. Having set up three software systems for his company, Schroeder anticipated a difficult implementation. “However,” he notes, “the implementation of SYSPRO on Microsoft Windows was a breeze.” While Grand has an eight user SYSPRO software license, there are currently four full-time users.
According to Schroeder, the SYSPRO software has not only delivered what was promised in the way of functionality and ease of use, but it has brought new flexibility to his organization. “Because SYSPRO allows us to download data into spreadsheets, we can easily see trends and trouble areas.” He emphasizes that this capability gives him the opportunity to spot areas where inventories are out of balance with sales trends, “I can create inventory groupings and generate reports by customer by product group or even by region,” he says. “Moreover,” he adds, “The ‘openness’ of the software lets me create custom reports that ‘slice and dice’ the information the way I want to see it, unlike some software systems which just generate standard, unreadable reports.”
Schroeder summarizes the efficiencies that the SYSPRO solution has brought to Grand Technologies: “The software provides in-depth visibility into our business. For example,” he says, “The ability the software gives us to create our own forms, invoices and reports behind the scenes saves us time and money.”