- Location: Missoula, Montana
- Industry: Farm, Home, and Ranch
- Number of Locations: 6
- Number of Employees: 160
- Website: www.chsmountainwest.com
- Co-op: CHS
"In one of our locations we saw an $80,000 increase in margin alone with the implementation of Epicor solutions, all because we have reliable information to see where to make modifications within the business."
Logan Braaten, Controller | CHS Mountain West Co-op
CHS Mountain West Co-op is one of many locally governed service centers that are a part of CHS Inc., a farmer-owned cooperative and Fortune 100 company. CHS Mountain West Co-op has a string of six locations—two standalone gas stations, three gas stations with attached farm stores, and one feed store—in western Montana that focus on giving farmer-owners and customers access to the products they need. To successfully accomplish these goals, CHS Mountain West Co-op provides quality products, the latest in industry innovation, and first-class customer service. The company has kept these objectives at the forefront, in part, because of its partnership with Epicor Software and through implementing the right technology to help the business grow.
Partnership to lead industry
CHS Mountain West Co-op switched from AGRIS software to Epicor Eagle in the early 2000s to streamline business processes and improve inventory management. “As the agriculture industry and our communities evolve, we continue to stay committed to leading the way,” said Logan Braaten, controller, CHS Mountain West Co-op. “We chose to partner with Epicor to remain competitive from an operational and technology perspective. Buying is very important in the farm and ranch industry, having better sales information helps us take advantage of seasonal pre-buys. Epicor solutions give us the right tools to better control what we are purchasing and selling. It gives us detailed visibility of how we’re doing and where we can improve.”
Substantial margin improvements
CHS Mountain West Co-op relies on the Epicor Compass tool to have a clear understanding of where the business stands and where to take it in the future. “Epicor Compass software has made a significant impact on how our business is operated. From buying to reporting and inventory management to margin control,” said Braaten.
“The Compass software reports have been especially eyeopening. For example, the low margin sales and cost change reports have helped us stay on top of pricing,” said Braaten. “We’ve increased our margins by adjusting items that weren’t priced correctly. Our soft lines margins have increased by 6 percent companywide.”
“Additionally, in one of our locations we saw an $80,000 increase in margin alone with the implementation of Epicor solutions, all because we have reliable information to see where to make modifications within the business,” said Braaten.
Emphasis on inventory
With 70,000 SKUs business wide, CHS Mountain West Co-op depends on Eagle N Series software to seamlessly manage its inventory. “The inventory viewers within Eagle N Series software have really exposed areas that need improvement and also show areas that are being managed correctly. We didn’t have that insight with our previous software vendor,” said Braaten. “Epicor solutions have helped us put more emphasis on reducing our inventory. Since implementing the solutions, we have reduced inventory by 5 percent a year for the last couple of years.”
“Now, from an inventory management standpoint, I don’t have to worry about inventory percentages because with Eagle N Series software we have actual numbers. Our data is consistent and accurate with a lot less work,” said Braaten.
Better product offerings for growth
“Epicor Eagle N Series is a robust solution that holds limitless data. It helps us tailor our product lines to see what’s actually selling and deliver better product offerings,” said Braaten. “Because of this access to key business data, we’ve seen our business margins significantly improve. These improvements are helping our business grow, which in turn helps us better serve our customers.”