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North American Lumber

North American Lumber is a privately owned lumber and building products company that has been serving pro builders and do-it-yourselfers in rural and urban western Canada for over 100 years. Fourth generation President, Martha Konantz, led the company's efforts to standardize on Epicor BisTrack as the single business management system across all operations.

“We had high demands going into the selection process,” says Bruce Granke, vice president of finance at North American Lumber. “I feel we are just at the tip of the iceberg in terms of the value we will gain from the system,” Konantz said after completing implementation of Epicor BisTrack software at their LBM yards and stores.

“Epicor BisTrack brings a lot of control over our processes, and links our processes together from cash register to the GL. It gives us the real-time and highly visible information we need to run the business properly. We aren't guessing at anything.”

Bruce Granke
Vice President of finance | North American Lumber

Company-wide integration and standardization

With 19 stores and lumberyard locations across Saskatchewan, Manitoba and northwestern Ontario to watch over-as well as a concrete plant, a truss plant and two ready-to-move home building facilities-North American Lumber's management team relies on Epicor BisTrack. “Epicor BisTrack, brings a lot of control over our processes, and links our processes together from cash register to the GL,” says Granke. “It gives us the real-time and highly visible information we need to run the business properly. We aren't guessing at anything.”

Visibility into multiple branches

Managers appreciate the ability to access BisTrack software and information about all their operations from anywhere with an internet connection-regardless of which branch they are at or whether they're on the road. Epicor BisTrack software, also allows users at different branches to view inventory and orders at the other branches, so that the company's resources can be used effectively. With accurate, up-to-the-minute information, customer inquiries are met quickly.

Intelligent processes improve GMROI

North American Lumber uses BisTrack software and business intelligence from the system to optimize their purchasing, inventory management and margin control practices to improve inventory performance metrics-GMROI and inventory turns. “We easily improved our key metrics by 6 percent last year,” says Granke.

“Our procurement staff use the Suggested Orders as a starting point to determine what our purchases should be,” says Granke, referring to the software's module which suggests inventory purchases based upon existing inventories and past sales history. “Then they use BisTrack software to check store inventories and decide if we really need to buy, or if we can transfer from store to store. The cash flow implications are significant.”

Streamlined buying group rebate programs

North American Lumber participates in numerous manufacturer rebate programs and one third of their products are eligible for rebates. In the past, it was difficult to know the final cost of a product and orders often resulted in negative margins. Further, compiling order information and matching expected rebates to rebate cheques was a complex process.

Now, BisTrack software makes it easier to sell product profitably and keep track of expected rebates. The system allows companies to build the anticipated rebate into the cost of the product, with a safety buffer applied if desired. BisTrack software tallies rebates accrued with each order, then calculates an expected total for each period so that matching rebate cheques to orders is an easy process. When rebate cheques come in, BisTrack software will do automatic average cost adjustment so that product pricing is always fine-tuned. Negative margins are avoided and less time is spent managing the rebate programs.

Digging into margin and performance issues

“Epicor BisTrack software also gives us the ability to drill down to the source of issues and find strategies to improve them,” says Granke. “We can put margin issues on the table and have a good discussion with our store managers about which product groups, for example, are not performing. Because, without that information, you're making a lot of presumptions.”

“It's not like you have to spend a lot of time getting answers,” he said. “With BisTrack software, it's very easy and very fast. There's just no end to the type of analysis and areas one could focus on, which is great! It means there's always another opportunity to improve the performance of the business.”

“Epicor BisTrack has been a great support for our business, and we certainly have no regrets.”

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