Manufacturers are juggling a lot of balls when it comes to business data. From sourcing and the shop floor to the warehouse and logistics, there's a myriad of order processing, accounting and other administrative tasks to go along with every step.
For small manufacturers like Dillaman Mold & Manufacturing, it can all be even more difficult to manage. So, the company adopted the Exact Online Manufacturing cloud computing system to streamline its financials and manufacturing processes.
Chad Dillaman is founder and owner of the Meadville, Pa.-based maker of tooling for plastic injection molding machinery. Dillaman could be considered the ultimate small business owner: Currently, he's the company's only employee. While every small and medium-sized business struggles to keep up operations with limited manpower, Dillaman is literally running every aspect of the business -- from invoicing and accounting to manufacturing, warehousing and logistics -- all by himself. His software needs to be just as versatile.
Integrating Quickbooks with Exact Online
While Dillaman’s business has grown from its conception a few years ago to a recent move to a larger plant, the daily technology demands have also grown. In 2013, the chief IT dilemma he faced was finding a way to integrate the QuickBooks software that he relied on for financials into the ERP system he needed for manufacturing and logistics.
"I had another ERP system back then that didn't tie in with QuickBooks very well, so everything was getting double-entered [into the database]," he said.
The decision to adopt Exact's cloud ERP platform was a relatively easy one, Dillaman explained. "I had viewed several different ERP vendors over the years, and had used Exact products before and was happy with them," he said. "So, I was drawn to stay with them. And being able to do all this in the cloud was a great advantage."
In June of 2013, Dillaman went live with Exact Online Manufacturing. During the implementation process, his one-man team was supported by Exact representatives, allowing Dillaman to make the leap into the cloud as smoothly and quickly as possible. "We jumped in feet first, and the [software] training went along with the implementation," he said. The actual implementation took roughly a week from the software installation to the system going live.
Cloud brings benefits
Today, Dillaman uses Exact Online for many of his company's daily operations, including price quoting, job progress tracking, job control, costing, accounting and invoicing. All of this data gets automatically exported into QuickBooks, with none of the double-entry issues that Dillaman once faced.
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"Having to go into my ERP system and QuickBooks before to hand-enter information just took up so much of my time," he said. "Now it's seamless and so much easier. I don't have to get into QuickBooks. I just hit the Print button to print an invoice or vendor bill, and it's very fast."
The cloud aspect of the Exact software is a big plus for Dillaman. "I don't have to be in the office all the time. I can go home and do work on my home computer, and don't have to drag my work laptop home," he said. "I can see exactly how [the business] is with just a click of the button, while having more time off the shop floor and with my family."
For Dillaman, the idea of moving his data into a cloud environment did come with a few initial reservations about how safe that data would be outside the four walls of the plant. "After going through the setup with Exact, though, and seeing their security requirements, I felt pretty at ease with it," he said.
In fact, Dillaman has some advice to offer other small business owners who may be considering adopting cloud ERP. "Don't be afraid of the technology," he said. "[New technology] is one of those things where you have to stay on top of it. I've always been a big believer in that, even when it comes to my CAD software and my machines."
"If you don't stay on top of the technology, you're going to fall behind quickly," Dillaman said.
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