Western Bearing

Doug Borland loves to tinker. Not with mechanical items, mind you, but with new capabilities, products and technologies that can contribute to the growth of his second-generation automotive, agricultural and industrial parts business in south central Manitoba.

As vice president and general manager of Western Bearing & Auto Parts, a longtime member of the Modern Sales Co-operative, Borland isn't satisfied with simply maintaining his book of business, which includes several fleet and manufacturing accounts as well as large farm operations and automotive service garages. Rather, he is continually looking for ways to connect with new customers while enhancing the value he provides to existing accounts.

I love Eagle software. Its capabilities are vast, which means we can continue to grow into the software and gain more and more value over a very long period of time.

Doug Borland
Vice President and General Manager | Western Bearing

At Western Bearing, Building Value Means Investing in Technology

"I come to work every day with a goal of growing our business-that's what drives me and I love the challenge," said Borland, whose father, Ian, founded the company in 1966. "But that means we need to stay ahead of the changes in our market and be open to new ideas and opportunities."

This commitment to growth explains not only why Western Bearing has been a part of MSC for nearly 40 years, but also why Borland was among the first members to upgrade his business technology to the Epicor Eagle solution. The powerful business management software enables Borland and his 19 employees to more efficiently manage an ever-growing range of products while adding value-added services commonly offered by much larger competitors.

"There are fantastic technologies out there that are redefining customer service in other markets, like banking and retail," he said. "I personally never even set foot in a bank anymore - I handle it all online. I believe every business owner needs to embrace these changes and invest in new technology, because if you don't it's going to cost you in the long run."

Changing and Growing

Like many parts wholesalers, Western Bearing is encountering almost continuous change in its market and product categories. Oncerobust categories such as power takeoff (PTO) components have experienced steady sales declines. Borland has more than offset this erosion, however, by investing in compressed air systems, bulk oil and a full range of hand and power tools. Adapting to new market realities is more than simply "finding replacement dollars," he said; it's a natural part of making a business more valuable and viable for the next generation.

Increasing enterprise value means taking control of your future, rather than allowing market forces to dictate the outcome, he explained. "I look at businesses that have been around for 50 or 60 years but have fallen on hard times and wonder why they allowed themselves to get into that position. That's what motivates me to do what we're doing here."

The Power of Eagle Software

Motivation is only part of the equation, however. Borland's willingness to take action can be seen in Western Bearing's expanded product and service offering as well as his decision to upgrade to the Eagle solution. "I love Eagle software. Its capabilities are vast, which means we can continue to grow into the software and gain more and more value over a very long period of time," he said.

Borland now has access to dozens of capabilities that were not available through the company's previous solution. Now, when customers ask if Western Bearing can email part images, invoices or statements, it can. And the owner can also instantly drill down into any of hundreds of business performance indicators to identify opportunities to reduce costs and increase sales. Plus, the Eagle solution's integrated LaserCat 3 electronic catalogue helps make each of his sales people more effective through fast, accurate research and access to a much broader range of products. "Our customers see and appreciate the difference and they're impressed that we are investing in the future," he said. "That tells them we're planning to be around for a long time."

An added bonus of the Eagle solution for MSC members is its seamless compatibility with the Epicor Vision software being utilized in each of the co-operative's distribution centers. "Eagle software gives us the versatility to do almost anything we ask of it," Borland said. "I'm already benefitting from the change, but I will eventually be able to double or triple my knowledge and skills on the system to run this business even more effectively."

Think About Tomorrow

Borland is the first to admit that investing in new technology isn't cheap and that change can be uncomfortable. But the rewards, he says, are worth it.

"Being able to control your future is really important. You might not like the cost of a new system, but what you don't understand is that your old system could be costing you at least as much in terms of the limitations it imposes on you. So you can either choose how and when you invest in new software, or have those decisions dictated to you."

And for Borland those decisions have worked out well. Western Bearing continues to enjoy steady growth. Customers are pleased with the company's new capabilities. Employees appreciate having access to the latest business tools. In short, this nearly 50-yearold business is continuing to gain, rather than lose, value in an increasingly competitive market.

About Epicor

Epicor Software Corporation is a global leader delivering business software solutions to the manufacturing, distribution, retail, and service industries. With more than 40 years of experience, Epicor has more than 20,000 customers in over 150 countries. Epicor solutions enable companies to drive increased efficiency and improve profitability. With a history of innovation, industry expertise and passion for excellence, Epicor inspires customers to build lasting competitive advantage. Epicor provides the single point of accountability that local, regional, and global businesses demand. For more information, visit www.epicor.com.

Company Facts

  • Location: Portage La Prairie, Manitoba
  • Industry: Automotive, Agriculture, & Industrial Aftermarkets
  • Number of Employees: 19
  • Web site: www.westernbearing.com


  • Increase sales in rapidly changing market
  • Establish stronger connection with technology-focused customers
  • Maximize competitive value of MSC membership


  • Epicor Eagle software


  • Flexibility to expand into new product and service categories
  • Advanced tools to redefine customer experience
  • Seamless compatibility with MSC software

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