Cleva North America, Inc. offers a dependable portfolio of innovative brands including Vacmaster®, Vacmaster Professional®, Duravac™, Armor All™ and LawnMaster®. With more than 15 years’ experience in engineering and motor technology, Cleva incorporates the latest processes and highest standards for engineering, design and production. The result is high-quality products with exceptional performance and durability.
01 // Summary
- Microsoft Dynamics GP
02 // The Challenge
Armond Compton was met with data and process challenges three years ago when he joined a rapidly growing distribution business in Greenville, South Carolina. Cleva North America, a distributor of innovative brands, had doubled in size in a year, and Compton realized the biggest challenge affecting the bottom line was very simple. “We didn’t know what we didn’t know,” said Compton.
On one hand, they knew they needed granular data in order to be able to improve their processes. On the other hand, they were growing so fast that there was no way their staff could keep up with the level of data input needed and the GL account hierarchy framework for reporting was to summarized to provide that granularity while still fulfilling their commitments to growing customer demand.
Compounding these challenges was the fact that the decision makers could not measure if they lacked sufficient operational resources to complete their tasks, or if core business practices were being run inefficiently and taking up inordinate amounts of employee time.
Having reached an appropriate size, Cleva knew it was vital to improve visibility and automate data processing so that management could focus on analysis and the larger team could focus on action. Compton spent countless hours digging deeper into the data to find the questions that the senior leadership team needed to ask.
The three key issues that emerged to the top were:
- Profitability Visibility: At the time Compton was researching solutions for Cleva, the company had just added floorcare vacuums to their product list, and it seemed likely that they would continue to add products as the company grew. Cleva needed a competitive way to price their differing product lines separately. To do so, they needed a robust reporting solution that informed them of complex allocations so that leadership could adjust as the market changed to maximize profitability.
- Forecasting Sales to Purchasing: Purchasing in a global economy brings interesting logistical challenges. Cleva’s accelerated growth meant that heroics were a regular part of meeting their clients’ fulfillment needs. However, Compton knew this was not a sustainable model. Cleva needed to improve the communication between Sales and Purchasing and automate portions of Purchasing’s workflow.
- Accelerating Inventory Movement: Compton knew that their warehouses contained obsolete inventory. Reporting on this metric was manual, so with growth straining operational tasks already, this was always on the bottom of the list. Compounding the problem was the fact that the less Cleva reported on Slow & Obsolete inventory (SLOB), the less Sales knew about it. This slowed movement down even more, worsening the cycle. Compton knew this was a relatively easy problem to solve, with substantial warehouse floor space benefits as a result.
”The biggest challenge affecting the bottom line was very simple - we didn’t know what we didn’t know.Armond ComptonDirector of Finance & IT
03 // The Process
”Armond has a firm vision of an extremely efficient Cleva and was willing to spend the political capital he earned to not just instigate the technical changes, but the organizational changes required to achieve his vision. By iterating, helping to make those around him better, and empowering them with the tools to perform, others now share his vision and are working towards that same goal.Adam DrewesGM of ERP at Kopis
Cleva’s struggle to answer pillar questions such as “What was the overhead percentage this month for a given product line” heightened frustration for the growing business. When Cleva was much smaller, these questions could be answered easily and frequently; unfortunately they had become much more complex, so the old methodology no longer served the new era of Cleva. Compton said, “it’s time for a change.” He began by revamping the chart of accounts to establish a GL framework and reporting hierarchy of how the business could more accurately measure its differing product lines.
He knew they had a solid and scalable ERP system in Dynamics GP capable of helping the company with the processes and data needed to understand the true health of the business, and it was simply a matter of iterating through and improving the most pressing inefficiencies and plugging the largest gaps.
This is when Cleva reached out to Kopis.
Compton’s advice for organizations going through an ERP implementation or optimization is to ensure that communication is consistent, continually review KPI’s with leadership so they can make the right decisions, and to find a vendor that is flexible and willing to pivot with those decisions.
“Kopis took the initial vision that I was trying to create and made it a reality,” said Compton. But truly, the success of the implementation is due to the cross communication between both partners, and the preparation that Cleva did in order to successfully integrate Kopis as their ERP partner.
Adam Drewes, GM of the ERP Division at Kopis states, “Armond has a firm vision of an extremely efficient Cleva and was willing to spend the political capital he earned to not just instigate the technical changes, but the organizational changes required to achieve his vision. By iterating, helping to make those around him better, and empowering them with the tools to perform, others now share his vision and are working towards that same goal.”
04 // The Results
Through multiple iterations, Kopis began implementing the following changes with Cleva’s Dynamics GP and reporting platform:
- SalesForecasting: Cleva now has automated forecast reports tied directly to historical data, market prices and monthly budgets.
- Inventory: Kopis worked with Cleva to create automated inventory reports that have saved time, freed up 10,000 sq. ft of warehouse space, created visibility, and established a working inventory flow.
- Purchasing: The purchasing department uses the automated reports driven by both forecasts & actuals to determine MRP needs, allowing for flexibility and decisive planning.
”The success of the implementation is due to the cross communication between both partners, and the preparation that Cleva did in order to successfully integrate Kopis as their ERP partner.
More Case Studies
”Kopis took the initial vision that I was trying to create and made it a reality.Armond ComptonDirector of Finance & IT