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Made With You, For You: Where Knowledge Meets Experience

Our industry veterans walk the walk every day

February 29, 2024

Early in his career as an Epicor Business Development Representative, Charlie Schultz had a call with a frustrated customer trying to solve a problem with his building supply business. Charlie could empathize. “That’s tough when that happens,” he remembers saying—and he wasn’t just being kind. Before joining Epicor, Schultz worked for a cabinetry business with many commercial clients, mainly large apartment complexes. Every day, he was out in the field overseeing orders, doing contract negotiations, and working with construction companies. He knew the challenges those in the industry faced, and was happy to use his insider knowledge to help his Epicor customer “find ways to simplify their life.”

Now a Sales Manager overseeing the inside sales team for BisTrack at Epicor, Schultz still draws on his industry background. “There are so many ways it can help,” he says. “I have the right language and the right selling points to build trust right from the start,” he confirms. “Experience has value.”

Navigating Change

At Epicor, the phrase “Made With You, For You” reflects our commitment to helping provide the right data-driven solutions for your business, strengthened by years of experience in the make, move, sell economy. Because so many of our team members have spent years working within the industries they now serve, they bring a unique perspective to collaborating and partnering with customers.

Rick Black grew up in a family that owned an HVAC business. He worked there before becoming a long-time vice president at a growing distribution business, overseeing several technological innovations. His passion for innovation and customer service led him to his current role as Principal Product Manager at Epicor Commerce. 

Black confirms that his industry background helps him “paint the picture” for customers who often know what they want, but are not always sure how to get there. “It’s great talking to customers. That’s the part I enjoy the most,” he says. He believes his previous experiences meeting with vendors, negotiating contracts, and working with sales people prepared him well for sharing the vision of Epicor Commerce and data-driven solutions not only with customers, but with developers, professional services, and customer support as well. “You’re solving problems, working with multiple teams….it’s a different challenge, but the application is very similar.”

“We bring customers online and they sell thousands of dollars of products on [Epicor Commerce]. Over $552 million was generated through the websites, of which 19 of our customers have generated eight-digit revenue last year, for a total of $329 million.”

Rick Black
Principal Product Manager │ Epicor

Acknowledging the Challenge

Because the implementation process can be complex for customers, having a full-circle partner for the whole process is essential. When that partner is a former CFO of a manufacturing business, there is a unique level of understanding. Kimberly Knight helped lead a boat company for years, serving many roles, including CFO. She got to know Epicor as a customer long before she began working here. She remembers that at her first Insights conference, when she was considering purchasing an Epicor solution for the boat business, she made it to a point to “stop everybody [at the event] and ask them a random question. Not one person said I don’t know. I knew they were in a hurry, but they walked me over to whomever could help. This company is so personable.” 

After these very positive interactions, Knight decided to implement Epicor solutions at the business where she was CFO, and the results were striking: Within a few months, they eliminated manual spreadsheets, the user confidence and accuracy within the software grew to over 90%, and they reached their goal of having P&Ls easily accessible by model, department, dealer, and territories—to name just a few improvements that streamlined processes and drove profits.

Years later, Knight found herself on the other end of the implementation process at Epicor—as a Senior Financial Consultant. She’s now able to use her high-level problem-solving skills and industry expertise to handle even the trickiest aspects of helping customers navigate a new ERP system. “They tell me other consultants [from previous solutions providers] had no way to understand the business,” she says. “Even though I’m in finance, I can ask them about the expiration date on a gel coat and how that affects them.” Knight makes a point of asking customers what they want the end result of the implementation to look like. “I take them through the process, at each step asking, ‘what do you need?’” Her most satisfying personal and professional moments come when, after an implementation is complete, customers realize the time and resources they will save by boosting their efficiency across the business. "You can just see this weight coming off, and they’re ecstatic. There’s nothing like it.”

Blending Expertise and Understanding

Being able to combine this high level of understanding with big-picture knowledge is also vital. From his earliest days working in the machine shop at his family’s auto parts store in North Dakota, to taking over the business and running it for 12 years, to his current role as Account Manager, Principal, helping some of the largest automotive companies (such as General Motors and Napa Auto Parts) with business intelligence, eCommerce, and technology infrastructure, David Berg has seen processes and businesses transform in ways that demand flexible solutions.

He cites the current trend toward consolidation as an example of a change in the automotive landscape that Epicor applications can help companies navigate. As the industry as a whole continues to evolve, he adds, Epicor products will evolve with it. “The technology of vehicles has changed things. Not just at the distribution level, but at the service repair level.”

“ We always make sure our prospects know that many of us came from within the industry we’re selling into, which is why we understand their business and issues so well.”

Kevan Henderson
Solutions Engineer – Retail Systems │ Epicor

Another Epicor expert who grew up in the business, building houses with his dad, Gordon Skogsberg feels that his lifelong knowledge is particularly valuable in the building supply industry. “Lumber is not like other businesses,” he says, adding that customers gain so much confidence when they realize they are working with a team that understands “countless things…both the millwork side and the technology side.” In his daily work, he uses his industry expertise to help customers make important transitions in their processes. “Everybody thinks they have to do it the way they’ve been doing it, and I tell them, ‘You didn’t buy a new ERP system to do things the same. We can always improve.’” Although he has held a variety of roles within Epicor, Skogsberg enjoys his current role as a Professional Services Consultant the most because of its direct interaction with users of the system. “I relate well to customers,” he adds. “But that could be anyone on the great team we have.”

Writing the Story

Luke Kotsmith would agree. “I’ve been in the industry since diapers,” he says. “My mom and dad are fifth generation in the lumber business.” After his own 17-year career in the industry, Kotsmith took his interest in “technology, change management, and finding new ways around the business” to Epicor, where he currently works as Territory Manager, US. Like Skogsberg, he has no doubt that his ability to “talk the talk” is an essential part of successful customer relationships, whether he’s discussing processes or labor shortages. “When we do discovery calls, we can really do a deep dive into their business, and create a story to go with the demo.”

Kotsmith says he is honest with customers about the often complex nature of implementations. But, he always adds that the payoff will be worth it, as it reflects the long-term commitment a business has to its people. “Successful businesses are willing to invest in software to make employees’ lives better. They’re putting their employees first.”

Partners that can tell you about their solutions are great, and can help your business get started. But partners that can show you, with an insider’s eye, how data-driven solutions can truly make a difference for your company—that’s why “Made With You, for You” matters in customer experience.