"We are a diversified service and manufacturing company that drives a high volume of business that requires superior capabilities from an enterprise software system and a high level of expertise from a services partner."
Precision Gutters is a services, manufacturing and distribution company that has serviced Vancouver and British Columbia’s lower mainland for nearly 30 years. Beyond gutter cleaning, repairs and installation, Precision Gutters also offers gutter improvement systems such as: Vortex Vacuum system, downpipe Leaf Catcher, K-Funnel Outlet and Precision Perforated Leaf and Needle Screen.
Clogged Information Flow
Allowing rain water to flow smoothly through a gutter system into the drainpipes and away from the building foundation requires a clear path for the water to flow. With the complete set of gutter services and manufactured solutions Precision Gutters offers, the heavy lifting of organizing customer data, service orders, inventory and vendors evolved into a clogged mess of disconnected systems and spreadsheets, along with a Microsoft Access database written in the 1990s. Data wasn’t moving anywhere.
Precision Gutters was not only growing rapidly, but it was also quickly expanding its product offerings through manufacturing and distribution both in Canada and abroad. Tracking inventory, orders and lead times was simply another pain point that compelled Martin Dennis, Owner of Precision Gutters, to explore implementing a full ERP (enterprise resource planning) system.
“At first we started to look at Microsoft Dynamics GP (Great Plains). It didn’t seem to have the capabilities and functionality we needed to handle all parts of the Precision Gutters business,” describes Dennis. “We found an ERP services company in Vancouver that turned us onto Dynamics NAV, which seemed to cover the solution set we needed: accounting/finance, warehouse management, inventory management, manufacturing, field services, etc.”
Failure to Launch
The initial approach to implementing Dynamics NAV with the selected ERP services provider didn’t go smoothly for Precision Gutters. Running into roadblock after roadblock and recognizing that their initial Dynamics NAV Partner did not have the resources or the expertise to fully implement and utilize Dynamics NAV throughout every facet of their operation, Dennis set out to find a better fit with a Microsoft Dynamics NAV Certified Partner that could quickly and thoroughly address all their operational and financial constraints.
“Googling late one night, I was tired of working and tired of our current situation with our current software service provider where I felt like we weren’t getting anywhere for nearly 1 ½ years,” recalls Dennis.
Finding the Right Dynamics NAV Partner
“After gaining some experience, I had a better idea of who we needed. I wanted to find someone that was capable at harnessing all aspects of Dynamics NAV, but also had the capability of bringing in CRM [Dynamics Customer Relations Management System]. That’s what enticed me to reach out to Catapult. I talked to a couple of other Microsoft Dynamics Partners as well but I felt Catapult had the best plan and logical steps to help implement Dynamics NAV quickly, as well as the proper guidance we needed to make educated decisions on how to set-up the system to work with our existing processes,” details Dennis.
“Unfortunately, the experience that Precision Gutters had with their first partner is all too common. Implementations are often over-architected to to enable every capability a customer could ever need or imagine using, which is how these projects become bloated and run over on budget and timeline,” describes Elliot Fishman, CEO of Catapult.
Fishman explains Catapult’s Lean Deployment methodology: “We take a different approach here at Catapult, which we call Lean Deployment. We work with our clients, like Precision Gutters, to agree upon a minimal viable project scope for their software deployment to deliver a smooth implementation, allowing the business to become quickly operational on the new system at a small footprint. After that, we plan incremental and ongoing improvements that allow our client to add functionality (i.e. inventory management, field services, etc.) over time when it is best for the organization/employees.”
Complete with Catapult & Dynamics NAV
Working with Catapult, Precision Gutters deployed Microsoft Dynamics NAV within 3 months. Liz Dobson, Project Manager at Catapult, described the process of restoration for Precision Gutters as such: “The originally planned implementation that Precision Gutters undertook with their previous Dynamics NAV partner was overly complex and the approach was backwards. We took a detailed look at what was minimally required to get Precision Gutters running on Dynamics NAV quickly to fulfill their most pressing pain points in their operations, which were primarily the financial functions. We quickly scoped those requirements and engaged on a fixed budget and fixed scheduled to enable Precision Gutters to get operational on Dynamics NAV as soon as possible.”
“Catapult gave us the structure, confidence and answers we were looking for. We had face-to-face planning and scoping meetings with Catapult to put our agreed upon defined plan and structure in place to get the project moving quickly with common goals and outcomes,” details Dennis.
The new Microsoft Dynamics NAV system has already had a significantly impact at Precision Gutters, even though it was only deployed just over two months ago, including:
- Eliminating triple entry of data in to separate, disconnected systems.
- Immediate cost savings of at least 3 to 4 manual labor hours bi-weekly in payroll.
- Reducing Excel spreadsheet data entry, with hopes to eliminate soon.
- Removing manual data entry from the process and eliminating errors.
- Wild enthusiasm from the bookkeeper that a proper vacation is in her future.
“We got the critical success pieces of Dynamics NAV for Precision Gutters available right away to help them better track inventory, understand the value of inventory on-hand and put in better forecasting for purchasing, planning and budgeting,” says Dobson. “With multiple vendors and various lead times for manufacturing and shipping in play having Dynamics NAV available to track, forecast and financially manage inventory for Precision Gutters provides them with immediate benefits out of the gate.”
Continuous Improvement & Integrating Dynamics CRM
Of course, this is just the beginning for Precision Gutters and Catapult. Incremental improvement with Microsoft Dynamics NAV is all part of the long-term plan and Catapult’s long-term support promise.
Moving forward Precision Gutters has big plans with Microsoft Dynamics NAV and Catapult. “Right now we have a space ship to drive down to the corner store. There is so much more we can do and Catapult is helping us put the plans in place to do this. At the end of day, we put these systems in place to save money, improve our revenue and improve how we spend our money to help our company grow. I am confident over the next 5 years that the work we do on these systems, and with Catapult, will allow me to achieve our goals of expansion and growth”, exclaims Dennis.
To read more about Precision Gutters’ implementation of Dynamics NAV with Catapult check out this case study by MS Dynamics World: Managing scope to bring a Microsoft Dynamics NAV + CRM implementation back to life.