Custom Controls Sees an Immediate ROI After Switching to Spire


The Challenge

Custom Controls is a British Columbia-based manufacturing company that specializes in electronics, radio controls and electro-hydraulics equipment. Prior to choosing Spire as its business management software, Custom Controls used Sage BusinessVision (BV) and the Essentials add-on to streamline their sales order and inventory process.

For Custom Controls, using BusinessVision with the Essentials add-on worked to get the job done. However, as the company continued to grow, it soon became time to explore other options. Custom Controls was looking for a more integrated experience that would combine accounting and inventory management functionality into one seamless workflow without the need for employees to constantly juggle between two different software programs.

As Custom Controls soon found out after exploring different vendor packages to solve this challenge, the software marketplace was clearly split into solutions for two different segments:

  1. The top tier of large manufacturing and distribution companies that needed robust, full ERP functionality and were willing to pay a premium for it and
  2. The majority of companies with less than $5 million in revenue that needed accounting functionality and didn’t want to pay the high price tag of a full ERP solution.

However, Custom Controls was in the middle—it was part of the group of small-to-mid-sized businesses but had the business needs of a much larger company. Roger Pinto, CEO of Custom Controls explains how this led to a difficult challenge for the company, “it’s like only having the option of a pickup or a small economy car…some people need something in between.” In short, there was a missing solution in the marketplace, and that’s what eventually led Custom Controls to choose Spire.

While it might have been the easy choice at the outset just to pay the price to upgrade to the complex software solutions created for large companies, Custom Controls ran the numbers and found that upgrading to a much more expensive software package wouldn’t justify the total cost in terms of expected ROI. Put another way, the company wouldn’t get as much ‘bang for the buck’ as these vendors were promising.

Moreover, the company didn’t want to incur the inevitable switching costs of moving to a new software solution. Switching to a new solution would involve new training and, potentially, an awkward adjustment phase as employees learned how to use the new software. Like any company, Custom Controls wasn’t looking forward to the downtime or impact on business productivity—but it also knew that it couldn’t continue with business as usual. Pinto knew it was time for a change.


The Solution

Custom Controls worked with Tri Tech, their business technology partner, to find possible solutions for their new business management software. Right away, there was an immediate fit with Spire. Spire offered exactly what the company was looking for: a seamless software package that included both accounting and inventory management functionality in one easy-to-use solution. According to Pinto, “Spire offered a well-rounded program at unbeatable price with the best possible ROI and minimal trade-offs.”

Custom Controls had worked with Tri Tech over the years, and had developed a strong working relationship with the company. Custom Controls had considerable trust in how Tri Tech was able to solve problems when they inevitably arose, even during periods that were very difficult for Custom Controls. That trust extended to the types of products and managed services Tri Tech proposed. “Tri Tech has always been supportive and understanding of our needs and request and we have always found a solution or a compromise,” says Pinto.

The major appeal of Spire, of course, is how business data is managed in one integrated software platform. Previously, employees had to deal with a software package that was not an all-in-one solution. At times, it meant that employees had to key in data manually, and the inevitably introduced the potential for errors. It also tended to slow down business productivity.


The Results

Switching from Sage BusinessVision to Spire had several important results that Custom Controls started to recognize immediately. First and foremost, business productivity improved. Employees no longer had to switch between two different software programs to get the job done. They no longer had to worry about keying in data or changing the way they would input data. Everything seemed to work seamlessly from the start.

The second major result was the significant reduction in downtime required for training. As with any new software solution, there was still some training required when the company migrated to Spire—but not nearly as much as the company had projected for switching to other, more expensive software packages.

The third major result was the ability to show a much higher ROI on its new investment. Part of this, says Custom Controls, was due to a less confusing workflow. Employees no longer had to modify inputs or data on the fly, and no longer had to worry about constantly adjusting their workflow to match the software. As Pinto noted, “from our perspective, a small company with manufacturing, assembly, repair and sales needs, Spire does most of the same things that much more expensive programs do, for a fraction of the cost.”

Ultimately, the Spire Business Management Solution was the right fit at the right time for Custom Controls. The combination of features such as job costing, inventory management and payroll functionality into one seamless package was exactly what the company was looking for, leading to a smooth transition.

Moreover, Custom Controls felt it had a solution that would continue to scale as the company became bigger. In many ways, the company had found the perfect solution for the middle segment of the marketplace, without having to pay a huge premium to get it or making any major trade-offs along the way. The company still thought of itself as a small-to-mid-sized business, and felt comfortable going with a solution that still offered plenty of functionality as revenue and company size grew over time.

As Custom Controls pointed out, Spire is “the right choice for any small company looking for a very capable and easy to use ERP software.” In a marketplace that seems to cater only to the very largest companies or the very smallest companies, Spire offers a winning solution for small-and-mid-sized businesses that find themselves in the middle. As with anything else, says Pinto, “the efficiency, convenience and practicality of a fully integrated system is undeniable.”

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