Bowen & Groves Inc

California Manufacturer Carves Out Competitive Advantage with Efficiency and Quality Gains with M1.


Irvine, CA -- (ReleaseWire) -- 06/02/2006 --In recent years, Southern California has experienced one of the biggest housing booms in the nation. Builders, investors, and homeowners have looked for extra touches to upgrade their homes and make them more attractive to buyers in this competitive market.

CCM Enterprises, based in Santee, California, serves the bustling construction and remodel market in the San Diego, Los Angeles, and western Arizona areas as one of the premier providers of surfaces for bathrooms and kitchens, manufacturing and installing a broad spectrum of products for the bath and kitchen including: bathtubs (with optional therapy systems), shower pans, bath walls and accessories, bathroom countertops, kitchen countertops, and fireplaces. CCM offers a wide variety of choices in surfaces: cultured marble, onyx, and granite, laminated plastic, natural stone, Technistone, major solid surface brands and our CORINTHIAN 2000 solid surface. By offering innovative surfaces and staying committed to quality and customer satisfaction, the company has expanded to nearly 150 employees across five locations.

Along with success, however, the company has experienced some growing pains. Communication, while easier in a small company, became more challenging with multiple projects in progress. Without a unified system for tracking orders and installations, team members resorted to calling and emailing to learn the status of each project. Likewise, those answering the phone had to direct customers to specific individuals with access to the relevant information to get answers.

“We weren’t getting communication across all aspects of the company,” said Paul Servello, VP of Finance at CCM. “Sales reps and measurers didn’t know when jobs were due to be installed. It was email city.”

Contributing to the problem, the company had separate, disconnected systems for accounting and production. The various departments had to re-enter data into each system, leading to errors that affected project quality and service to customers.

“Easier than Any Other ERP Solution”
Experienced with Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software, Servello joined the company largely to help find a solution to unify the company’s separate information and activities. Ultimately, he chose M1 by B & G™ software for its rich functionality, simple cost-effective installation, and ease of use. By comparison, other solutions would have required months of implementation time and upfront implementation costs that would add up to as much as the software itself. In fact, Servello implemented and customized the software on his own using M1’s comprehensive implementation checklist after receiving training from Bowen & Groves.

Employees quickly picked up the software, even those who had never used a computer before. That ease of use empowers employees to enter and access information on their own, rather than requesting it from coworkers.

“M1 has been easier than any other ERP solution I have ever used,” Servello said. “I can add fields and tables as needed, and show employees how to run their own searches and reports. In two to three weeks, two production supervisors with no prior computer experience were looking up their production schedules and using M1 to balance their workloads – to find jobs when they weren’t busy.”

Now, about 30 CCM employees use the software across Accounting, Finance, Sales, Production, Installation, and Purchasing. When an employee enters customer or order information once, that information carries through to each step of the process, reducing the chance for errors. “With M1, we manage customer relationships and orders all the way from the time a customer comes in, through to the final installation, and to accounting and invoicing,” Servello said.

M1’s value also extends to sales, which previously had no way of tracking leads. When a customer walks in or the company collects leads at a home show, CCM manages those leads through to sales and beyond. Employees tap into customer information to create quotes and later invoices, and can even run reports to determine win-loss ratios. CCM relies on a variety of reports to look at information previously unavailable or difficult to attain without manual calculations. With standard M1 reports, or reports the company easily customizes using Crystal Reports, CCM looks at sales order volumes, open jobs, inventory status, open purchase orders and more. Servello quickly creates charts for meetings, and can leverage information to project accounts receivable amounts, identify areas for quality improvements or determine where resources could be used more effectively.

“All the information ties together to give us the whole picture,” Servello said. “By tracking data we can make more intelligent decisions.”

Time-Savings, Quality Improvements and Communication benefits enhance the Bottom Line
M1 saves CCM time in a number of areas. For example, the company created M1 screens for configuring the specs for each installation, a task that before required employees to wade through several thousand pages of parts. Now, the list of codes adds up to just two pages, and employees simply choose from drop-down menus for options like color and edge detail. As they make selections, those choices automatically update stock status in M1.

M1 has also driven quality improvements. As employees finish each step, they add their initials to show completion. The combination of employees taking ownership for parts of the process, and the ability to pull reports to indicate where errors occurred, has decreased the need for remakes, increased customer satisfaction, and saved the company time and money. Using M1’s Call Management, CCM ensures that every call is logged and that each issue is answered. At times, having answers at their fingertips in M1 allows employees to take care of caller questions right there, which expedites responses to customers.

Next, CCM plans to add the Unlimited Shop Floor Entry module to track parts use by job. Servello will also tap into M1’s flexibility to link time tracking on the shop floor with the company’s external payroll provider, allowing the company to see the time spent on each job. From Servello’s perspective, the more the company uses M1, the greater its efficiency, service, and quality, which all contribute toward the bottom line.

“We’re trying to take the company to a higher level, to create a competitive advantage,” Servello said. “With M1, we can track the quality of projects and customer inquiries. In response, customers are more satisfied with the end result.”

The M1 by B&G™ ERP software offers comprehensive modules designed and fully supported to meet the needs of growing manufacturing businesses.

With more than 500 installed sites around the world and a comprehensive user group interface ERP Software has never been more affordable or beneficial.

About Bowen & Groves

Bowen & Groves is setting the standard in Enterprise Resource Planning software (ERP), for the small to medium manufacturer. Founded in 1992 Bowen & Groves is a privately owned software development company operating in the United States of America, Canada, United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand. M1 by B&G™ sets the standard in affordability and ease of use.