Since 1943, Alexandria Moulding has grown from a small hardware store into a leading manufacturer and distributor of moulding in North America and the world. They’re rightfully proud of the relationships that have been the bedrock of their success.
US LUMBER Group acquired Alexandria Moulding in 2018, and after several additional acquisitions, the company jumped from 600 employees to more than 2,300 and a combined annual revenue of $2.3B. This explosive growth has made it especially vital that the company leverage technology that will help sustain and nurture the kind of connections that made such growth possible.
The building and lumber industry was hit particularly hard by product constraints and supply chain issues over the course of the global pandemic, which meant that Alexandria Moulding also had to be able to arm their organization especially their inside and outside sales teams—with the data they needed to move products quickly and easily.
“[Our] salespeople are driven by the daily sales margin. Having something like Power BI to embed inside of their ERP experience and/or CRM experience that can deliver their data and information however, whenever, and wherever they choose to work is hugely important.” David Livingston, Director of IT, Alexandria Moulding
They wanted a system that could keep up
When they were acquired by U.S. LUMBER in 2018, Alexandria Moulding’s on-site ERP system was outdated and nearing the end of its life. Beyond that, U.S. LUMBER was using a lumber industry-specific ERP system with scalability and capacity issues. Multicurrency, multilanguage, and other functionalities needed to serve both companies was proving to be difficult with the existing tools.
The team sought a platform that would enable them to scale and support the capacity of their growth. They wanted to be more data-driven, with access to the data they need from anywhere and on any device. And because of how quickly they were growing, they also needed the ability to transition easily to new technology, with minimal training, in order to create a positive user experience for their people.
Finally, the company needed improved data visualization and the ability to operate under a unified platform. They wanted to arm their inside and outside sales teams with the data they’d need to support customers and manage growth—while remaining true to their corporate values, which put people at the center of everything.
Dynamics 365 and Power BI smooth operations across the organization
U.S. LUMBER is planning their first deployment of Dynamics 365 and Power BI for 2022, targeting the Alexandria Moulding branches first. In leveraging these solutions, the data-driven company looks forward to the following benefits:
- Dynamics 365 will provide improved access to data from anywhere and on any device for everyone on the team.
- Inside sales reps (ISR) will be able to access data while they’re at their desks on calls, so they can know which products are going out on the trucks, what’s backordered, and which issues they need to resolve.
- Outside sales reps (OSR) will have access to the same data as the ISRs, from their phones or tablets, while they’re on the go or presenting to customers.
- Leadership, which is looking at different data sets across all companies, will be able to easily roll that data up and look for nuances and opportunities across regions and divisions.
- Having Power BI built into Dynamics 365 will allow both ISRs and OSRs to create seamless user experiences, so they won’t have to hop back and forth between applications to get the information they need.
- For years, the company has been a heavy user of Microsoft Teams. During the pandemic, however, being able to collaborate from anywhere and have face-to-face conversations while working remotely has become even more crucial. This is especially true for an organization that focuses on connecting with people as a core value.
“Consolidating the companies onto the same ERP and CRM platforms will be huge. From a user perspective, being able to work across companies easily and having that shared sales and delivery experience is really important”. David Livingston, Director of IT, Alexandria Moulding
Keeping people as priority one
U.S. LUMBER and Alexandria Moulding share the same set of core values, all of which are about people: how they work together, how they play together, and most importantly, how they serve their customers. By leveraging digital technologies, the sales team will have easy access to data from anywhere, on any device, enabling them to engage in more informed conversations with their customers.
What’s more, they also see the improvements made possible by Microsoft technology as a future-proofing tool. As new people come into the organization, they’ll have at their fingertips customer and sales information that will allow them to focus on building and nurturing customer relationships—which is the foundation of their success in the first place.
“We have deep and personal relationships with our customers, making them like family to our sales teams. Having a new person be able to step in and have knowledge of a customer’s activities will make their job tremendously easier. And they’ll be able to focus on just the relationship part.” David Livingston, Director of IT, Alexandria Moulding