EMI is comprised of two businesses: a custom design-and-build operation for material handling equipment, and an installation company for major manufacturing facilities such as Toyota, Ford and Honda.
According to Mix, EMI was looking for an information platform that would improve operational efficiencies with the flexibility of cloud-based technology. “We were looking for a tool that was in the cloud because our business is distributed, and we have locations around the country. Secondly, we wanted something that would allow us to drive LEAN methodologies into the business operation not only on the manufacturing side, but also on the installation services side. We wanted a tool that would give us the kind of visibility that would allow our team to see where we had issues, where we could take our problems, and drive them to root cause and resolution,” said Mix.
Erik Dunnigan, Managing Director at Coastal Cloud, worked with Mix to customize a solution for EMI using the latest technology available to Coastal Cloud as a SalesForce.com platinum partner. “The Force.com platform with applications like Sales Cloud, Service Cloud, Marketing Cloud, CPQ (Configure / Price / Quote), etc… really represents the technology of the future for manufacturing,” explained Dunnigan. “It’s about enabling a company to manage their business from front to end.”
For example, like most manufacturing companies, EMI was using different tools for different facets of the business – from email communication to Customer Relationship Management (CRM) to project management to financials and billing – and those tools didn’t necessarily “talk” to one another.
“We evaluated the current state of their technology and we designed a future state software solution that is all on the SalesForce.com platform,” said Dunnigan. “That’s the biggest game-changer for the industry,” he said. “A manager, a CEO, an operations person – all of them can get a 360-degree view of how that company is operating and how they’re performing from front end sales to back-end efficiencies and production. This can all be done with a local application where the operations manager can be anywhere in the world, and as long as they have internet access, they can see what’s going on with their company. As soon as they log in and hit refresh, it’s populated with the latest and greatest information.”
Chuck Mix of EMI said this visibility to the operational data is key. “The advantage for us is we can make decisions quickly as a management team. We are not co-located, we are scattered around the United States, so it is great to be able to see in real time how the company is performing – not only the end result but all the indicators to performance. We can see the sales pipeline, our quoting activity, how we’ve won or lost jobs for various reasons, how we’re managing our projects, how we’re managing our production shop and how that’s working. That’s now going to be integrated into one tool. That’s going to be huge for us.”
Coastal Cloud’s ability to create a seamless platform for EMI for all their systems and tools is what won Mix over, he said. “The solutions we were asking for revolved around a CRM tool, a project management tool, and an ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) system on the back end; the other vendors were trying to build bridges between those tools. What I liked about what Coastal Cloud offered was it was all built on SalesForce architecture, a tried and true platform that has been in use for a number of years in the cloud. They were also very flexible in terms of how we would customize that solution. They understand the space we operate in. We’re a small to mid-sized company and we don’t have millions of dollars to put in these systems. We needed the solution to be cost-effective as well and they accomplished that.”
Mix also noted he was impressed with Coastal Cloud’s project management, and the way they’ve stayed on task and managed the activities throughout the development cycle into implementation for the project. Mix and Dunnigan were acquainted in a previous capacity, and Mix said he knew Dunnigan would bring the same customer-focused mentality that EMI uses with their own customers. “We try to make sure our customers understand that they’re the customers, and we’re going to do everything to meet their needs,” said Mix. “I feel that same feeling from Coastal Cloud.”