Sears Trostel Lumber and Millwork

Since 1929, Sears Trostel Lumber & Millwork has had a reputation for delivering exceptional customer service and high-quality lumber and millwork throughout the Mountain States region. The company manufactures at its Airpark location and sells a wide variety of mouldings, lumber, sheetgoods, and flooring from its Riverside location.


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All the areas in BisTrack software are interconnected, so it's easy to get the information we need quickly without backing out to a main area and coming back in a different path. 

Curt Viehmeyer, Owner and General Manager | Sears Trostel
Sears Trostel
Company Facts
  • Location: Fort Collins, Colorado
  • Industry: Lumber and Building Materials
  • Sales Profile: 59% Wholesale, 25% Contractor, 16% Retail
  • Number of Locations: 1 store, 1 manufacturing
  • Website: www.sears-trostel.com

Challenges
  •  Utilize a business management system consistent with lean manufacturing practices

Solution
  • Epicor BisTrack
  • Epicor BisTrack Journey Planner

Benefits
  • Offered lean business processes 
  • Saved time responding to inquiries about order deliveries
  • Delivered faster purchasing/transfer replenishment with fewer stock shortages
  • Reduced freight charges by combining multiple orders into purchases
  • Increased three-point retail margin using individual item margin control

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BisTrack software selected for lean processes

Sears Trostel selected the Epicor BisTrack solution in part because its design is consistent with the “lean thinking” pervasive throughout the company. “We do lean manufacturing, so we look at how smoothly processes go, how you can eliminate waste,” explained Curt Viehmeyer, one of the owners and general manager at Sears Trostel. “We had been on DMSi, and one of the big deals about BisTrack software was you could get where you wanted to go without wasting time maneuvering around the system. All the areas in BisTrack software are interconnected, so it’s easy to get the information we need quickly without backing out to a main area and coming back in a different path.”

Integrated dispatch delivery saves one FTE

Viehmeyer gave an example of how the interconnections in BisTrack software save one full time equivalent (FTE) responding to inquiries about order deliveries. “The dispatch and delivery functionality in BisTrack software is excellent. Anybody can find out the status of a delivery. You can see what truck it’s on and where else they’re going on that day. Before we’d have to call the dispatch people. It’s a huge time saver. It probably saves us a person a year.”

Intuitive data analysis drives optimization

According to Viehmeyer, BisTrack software’s data analysis and business intelligence (BI) tools are intuitive and easy to use. “I’m not a SQL guy, and I can still create smart views,” he said. “I created a smart view of scheduled C.O.D. deliveries where there’s still money outstanding. The sales team sees it and knows they need to call that customer to get credit card payment over the phone. And the delivery people know to check with the sales guy before they take it.”

“The BisTrack cubes provide some really good information where you can really drill down and analyze the data,” added Viehmeyer. “We used cubes to determine the minimum and maximum inventory levels for suggested orders. We pulled sales histories for items that helped us calculate min. and max. It was done by a temporary employee who knew how Windows applications should work but had never seen BisTrack, and he just flew through it.”

The result has been fewer stock shortages thanks to real-time replenishment alerts and stock on hand that more closely matches historical demand. Plus, time to prepare for and create purchase orders has dropped from two hours to about 15 or 20 minutes.

Operations at peak performance

BisTrack software has also helped reduce the costs of fulfilling special orders. “Special orders appear on an assistant manager’s dashboard as a purchase order for approval,” Viehmeyer explained. “He can see what the customer is looking for, and combine it with other purchase orders to meet minimum quantities and get better freight rates. It’s helped reduce our freight costs.”

Viehmeyer also appreciates that he can see the work orders at each location and scheduled delivery dates at a glance. “We meet our delivery dates 98 percent of the time,” Viehmeyer said. “Having access to our order delivery schedule gives me a better idea of when I can get something done for our customers. When another sales person has entered an order, I can confidently give our customer a delivery date on the ticket and know that’s the date they’re going to receive it.”

Margins up three points on BisTrack

BisTrack software has also helped improve margins in two ways—monitoring margins in real time and adjusting prices on an item-by-item basis. “Margin exceptions pop up on my dashboard,” said Viehmeyer. “It flags the stuff I need to look at. I’ll go talk to the sales people or check if my selling price is wrong—that helps hold the margin up. There was huge downward pressure on margins on the wholesale manufacturing side during the recent slow period, but BisTrack helped us manage that.“

“The other part is being able to set margin on individual products, making sure the competitive ones stay competitive, and looking for opportunities to take a little more margin on other products. BisTrack allows you to do that,” Viehmeyer added. “In retail, our margin percent is up three points, so the BisTrack solution has helped us increase margins.”

Love your computer system

Viehmeyer sums up the impact of Epicor BisTrack software within Sears Trostel by saying, “Ask yourself, how many times have you said, ‘I love my computer system?’ With BisTrack, I say it all the time.”

Epicor solutions are designed around the unique operational needs of manufacturers and are available in the cloud or on premises. Customers can better manage complexity and focus on core growth activities.

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