EKO Contract is a furniture manufacturer based in Cleveland, Tennessee. The company provides office contract furnishings such as tables and seatings for businesses and patient-area seating for healthcare organizations. Though EKO serves its clients with highly customized services and support, it backs that up with the quality and consistency of automated manufacturing processes.
Furniture manufacturing is a competitive industry, with many producers manufacturing their items in China to lower costs. As Duff Jones, CEO of EKO Contract states “Anything that has a long lead time or mass production, most of that is still being produced in China.” Meanwhile, for those manufacturers who remain in the US, lead time is an important factor differentiating one company from another, and so can help grant a competitive advantage.
Prior to implementing its ERP system, EKO Contract was running into some integration challenges between multiple software. The company was using QuickBooks for its accounting along with a separate manufacturing software. However, there were accuracy issues with QuickBooks and it had no proper connection to its manufacturing and procurement processes.
Additionally, EKO had two full-time personnel managing the process of allocating work to their different work centers. Because this process required significant manual input and multiple conversations, it meant a longer delay from the receival of a sales order to the initiation of production.
As a growing business, EKO Contract wanted to fix its accounting problems and decrease its lead time. The company’s customers were looking for quick service, but they also wanted reliable information on when the products would be finished and delivered. That’s when EKO started to look into ERP software such as Odoo.
Duff assessed several ERP products, including Odoo, Oracle, and SAP. However, after investigating these different platforms, he settled on Odoo. Duff states:
“The reason we chose Odoo is for the benefit versus the costs. We did look at Oracle. We did look at SAP. But they were typically anywhere from 10 to 15 times the cost and the implementation could’ve been as long as 18 months. We saw that Odoo had all of the qualities that we were looking for and all that we needed to grow our business 2-3 times.”
Adding comfort to his decision, Duff spent several months working with Odoo’s free trial online. This allowed him to get a decent idea of the software’s functionality.
Duff also reached out to Bista Solutions, one of Odoo’s top Gold Partners in the US, to implement the solution. Bista’s subject-matter experts (SMEs) in accounting and manufacturing, two areas of importance for EKO Contract, played a large role in his choice. Duff states:
“We chose Bista because they had some expertise in manufacturing, and they also had some expertise in the accounting side and making sure that our financials were spot on at the end of every quarter.”
After Bista implemented Odoo for EKO Contract, including modules such as MRP, Project Management, Purchase, Inventory, Sales, Accounting, and Helpdesk, the furniture manufacturer saw many benefits.
- Consistent and accurate financial data
- Visibility in production process
- Reduced lead time for customers
- More reliability in delivery expectations
- Better internal/external communications
Firstly, EKO was able to solve its accounting issues: Odoo served as a single solution with manufacturing and accounting connected. EKO used to have to do manual checks every quarter, but after Bista’s implementation of Odoo, these numbers were accurate on their own.
The company also gained a competitive advantage over other furniture manufacturers, primarily in the form of reduced lead time: EKO Contract’s customers were able to get their products about a week faster than before.
The main way this occurred was through the addition of work centers on Odoo MRP. By automating its work center process, EKO quickened the initiation of production, decreasing lead time. It also helped the company save on labor.
On top of that, the work centers and inventory/warehouse features granted EKO Contract more visibility — visibility into what production was taking place, visibility into how much production capacity was available, and visibility into their items and number of items available. This allowed EKO to forecast better and serve their customers more reliably.
Finally, EKO Contract improved in one more area: internal and external communications. A typical sales order could have anywhere from 30-50 email communications back and forth. As a result, if the main salesperson for a customer was out, it was difficult for another salesperson to respond. Odoo allowed all email correspondences to appear in a single place under the sales order, allowing this to be managed more easily.
As a result of Bista’s implementation of Odoo, EKO Contract optimized its manufacturing and sales processes, becoming much more efficient. It gained accurate financial data, and eliminated manual checks at the end of every quarter. Finally, it acquired an important competitive advantage by reducing lead time.
Duff commented on Bista’s implementation, saying:
“We were right on budget. We were within the 9-month period from ERP planning to go-live, and so I really couldn’t ask for more.”
If you would like to work with us to implement ERP software for your business, give us a call. We’re a top Odoo partner, and have done similar implementations for other furniture manufacturing companies, as well as for businesses in the general manufacturing, retail, services, automotive, financial services, and healthcare verticals.
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