“There’s nothing that we’ve come across that aACE hasn’t been able to handle.” –Lane Carter
Southwest Auto Accessories is a wholesale distributor of aftermarket automotive accessories. Co-founders Lane Carter and Clay Waterman had experienced aACE 4 at a previous company, so when they set out to start their own business they already knew they wanted to run it on aACE. They were able to get up and running quickly on aACE 5’s Complete Edition with the help of aACE partner All Solutions 360 (AS360). Soon they found that this version of aACE was even better than the last.
CHALLENGES & aACE SOLUTIONS
Enterprise-Class Tools on a Start-Up Budget
When they started Southwest Auto Accessories, Lane and Clay already knew that aACE would do everything their new company needed. Even better, aACE did it all at a price their new company could afford. “We weren’t able to buy a business management solution outright like a lot of other software companies require you to do,” Lane says. “aACE Complete’s subscription model fit our budget and helped us get going right away.” Having to buy a comparable solution just as they were starting out “would have hampered our growth,” Lane adds. “What we’re doing now works well.”
Streamlined Backorder Management
Lane and Clay did their due diligence by researching other solutions before committing to aACE, but found that when it came to managing backorders, aACE’s competitors just didn’t measure up. “A lot of people say that their system manages backorders well, but they don’t. We have a lot of vendors to this day who can’t manage backorders,” Lane says. “We’re able to manage our backorders extremely well on aACE 5.” aACE automates backorder management for a more streamlined experience, requiring fewer steps from users and providing greater visibility into backordered inventory.
Accurate Cost and Material Tracking
Tracking costs and material usage can be a headache, but aACE made it easy for Lane and Clay to know exactly where they stood. “We cut vehicle-specific paint protection kits,” Lane explains. “Once we put the order in the system, we’re able to monitor our material usage and get an actual material usage and kit cost using the Fulfillment tab. It lets us keep a very accurate cost of what we’re doing and what we’re producing. We feel good about being able to rely on that information.” The Fulfillment tab in each order record allows users to track jobs and tasks associated with the order, so they can be sure that each order is fulfilled on time and on budget.
All-Inclusive Software Out of the Box
The version of aACE 4 that Lane and Clay had used at their previous company had been heavily customized to fit their workflows like a glove. But with aACE 5, they quickly realized that customizations were unnecessary — the software already did everything their new venture needed. “We had never used an out-of-the-box program like aACE,” Lane explains. “But the out-of-the-box solution that we’re on now has been absolutely exactly what we needed. It does everything that we need it to do and it does those things extremely well.” And because the software was perfect for them as-is, they could dive right in.
Fully-Integrated Shipping Solution
As a fast-growing company, Southwest Auto Accessories needed a shipping solution that could scale with them. They found that solution in the aACE+ ReadyCloud shipping integration. “When we first opened, we shipped maybe 20 packages that month, and now we’re probably shipping 20 packages a day,” Lane says, adding that ReadyCloud’s ReadyShipper has allowed them to speed up their shipping process as demand increases. “Once the orders are transmitted to ReadyShipper, processing a package to get it ready to ship takes seconds — it doesn’t take minutes, it takes seconds — to complete the transaction and have the package ready to ship.” He went on to say that the latest aACE+ ReadyCloud integration has improved on the version he’d used at his last employer. “We’re able to ship packages faster than we were on our previous aACE program. With aACE 5 integrated with ReadyShipper, we can ship 10 packages in 5 minutes now!”
aACE Partner Dedicated to Meeting All Business Challenges
Southwest Auto Accessories’ aACE solution was implemented by AS360, a long-standing aACE partner. With over 20 years of experience, AS360’s Bryan Anderson worked with Lane and Clay to ensure they were able to hit the ground running with their aACE solution at the same time their new business was taking off. Thanks to their prior knowledge of aACE, Bryan was able to have them operating their business from the solution in just 30 days — an incredible timeline for a software package this comprehensive. “Bryan and his team did the set-up for us and they did a great job getting it ready to go,” Lane says. “As far as getting our information into the system, getting customers loaded, getting product loaded — all of that was spot-on.”
But AS360 didn’t stop there. As Southwest Auto’s aACE partner, Bryan and his team have continued working with Lane and Clay to ensure that as their business grows, they have the infrastructure to keep up with demand. Though Clay had 30 years of experience in the automotive accessories industry, teaming up with Lane to start their own venture required him to take on a new role on the accounting and finance side of the company. It was a daunting prospect, but AS360 was there to help. “With some training from Bryan it became apparent that my fears of the accounting side of things were unwarranted,” Clay explains, adding that aACE’s accounting solution was easy to use even for someone new to finance. “While I still have a lot to learn on the accounting side, aACE 5 has made setting up and running our business so easy.” And his aACE partner has been there every step of the way. Bryan and his team act as Southwest Auto’s outsourced CFO, ensuring that their accounting is being done according to best practices now to prevent headaches later. And as Bryan trains Clay on those best practices, he’s able to use real-world examples in their aACE system so that Clay can see exactly what each workflow should look like.
IN THEIR OWN WORDS
Here is what Lane Carter, co-founder of Southwest Auto Accessories, has to say about their aACE implementation:
“We’re able to do exactly what we need to do every day with the out-of-the-box program. We haven’t found anything that’s limited us. We looked at a couple of other software companies at the beginning, and we just did not see anything that was going to work better for us than aACE was. We’re extremely happy with what we have.
“Knowing how aACE works and how it functions in the modules we were already familiar with allowed us to get into some other areas of aACE, because it was easy for us to understand. Especially the accounting side. At our previous company we had no experience with the accounting side of aACE, but Clay has been able to pick it up very quickly. Every part of aACE works pretty much the same way, so it was easy for us to learn how data flows through aACE, how to drill down to it, and how to find the information we need to get to where we want to go. Having a partner relationship is also an asset. Time is so valuable to us because there’s only two of us. Being able to turn to Bryan and his company for answers is a huge benefit.
“I would recommend aACE to anybody that does distribution or any kind of sales. I can see aACE working for anybody that’s selling products.”
And here is what Clay Waterman, co-founder of Southwest Auto Accessories, has to say about their experience with aACE partner AS360:
“Teaming up with Bryan Anderson and his team at AS360 has turned out to be one of the best decisions we made. Their knowledge, experience, and ability to support aACE is without question. And as my relationship with Bryan evolved, it became apparent that his past business experience and knowledge of finance and business management were an invaluable resource for a small business like ours. More importantly, he is willing to share those experiences to help others. Throughout the entire process Bryan has been steadfast in his resolve that we do things the right way – no short cuts. I truly value his opinion and experience; that’s why we utilize him and AS360 as an outsourced CFO. It’s great to have someone on the outside looking at the numbers and offering insight.
“Relationships are important to me. How we treat one another has long term effects on our personnel relationships and our businesses. My experience with Michael Bethuy and his staff at aACE as well as Bryan Anderson and his staff at AS360 have been top notch, first class all the way. They have been great people to do business with and I’m thankful to have them as business partners supporting Southwest Auto Accessories.”
Do you or someone you know need a change from one-size-fits-all ERP tools? Check out our feature highlights to learn more about whether aACE business management software for Mac and PC can help accelerate your company.