Agility (Locally Hosted)
March 04, 2010
Bridgewell Resources LLC is a global wholesale distributor, supply chain manager and sales organization that serves retailers, manufacturers and other customers. Its diverse product mix ranges from organic food ingredients to treated utility poles, from construction mats to full multi-family building material packages and more. The traders in their Contractor Direct division specialize in purchasing and selling large volume orders of wood and specialty products. This division’s primary customers are builders of multi-family, commercial and industrial jobs.
Bridgewell’s Contractor Direct division was bringing in large, complex contracts that required precise coordination. A builder’s requested delivery date and order size might change several times depending on a job’s progress. Bridgewell had to adjust their purchasing, shipping and invoicing with very little notice. They also needed to keep clear records of each update. (Aside from ensuring correct order fulfillment, tracking change orders is key to profitability.)
Bridgewell’s existing tools weren’t suited to the unique demands of these large contracts. Every change order required updating multiple records, and moving from one menu to another made each transaction cumbersome. The traders and admins worked as quickly as possible but were overwhelmed with the volume of requests.
The backlog posed a significant problem for Bridgewell. Their business required fast, flexible operation. They didn’t want to simply add more admins. They wanted a better method for managing complex contracts.
Bridgewell decided to work with DMSi to create a project management tool in Agility. Keeping their processes in Agility eliminated any need to synch data with an outside application or double-enter information. “Our approach is to have one centralized order/inventory management and accounting solution,” said Scott White, Bridgewell’s director of information technology. “We’ve been on Agility, and we’d like to keep it that way.”
DMSi’s development team worked closely with Bridgewell to understand the company’s needs. Representatives from DMSi met with the division vice presidents as well as the sales and buying teams. “It was a very collaborative process,” says White. “We had a two-day session with them to really clarify all the main requirements.” The project management tool would need to centralize important functions so contracts could be updated quickly and easily. Bridgewell also wanted to see each contract as a unified project, rather than a series of separate transactions. This would help their departments coordinate and would give management a better sense of how a contract was progressing.
DMSi continued to work closely with Bridgewell throughout development, making sure the project met the original objectives. “As sprints were completed, the individual teams would show what they had developed and we would either unofficially sign off or ask for some tweaks,” said White. “That tighter collaboration really added value. It improved the quality of the product so when we got new features delivered, they had the value we need.”
In 2013, DMSi released the Project Management window as a new feature in Agility. This window contains the essential functions for managing contracts with multiple deliveries over time: changing item quantity on a quote, updating estimated delivery dates, committing inventory to a sales order directly from a quote, and tracking change orders. Grouping these functions together meant the admin staff would no longer have to move between multiple menus for a single transaction. The Project Management window also displays all the activity associated with a contract. This would make it much easier for the traders and admins to see the big picture.
Bridgewell began integrating the Project Management window into their operation almost immediately. “From day one the admin staff was able to use it to track and review contracts, kind of do a quality control on our individual jobs which was a big win,” said White.
As additional functionalities became available, Bridgewell started to shift its processes to take more advantage of the Project Management window. “Our buyers can add items to jobs and make some changes, particularly on the areas of lumber, that they just couldn’t do before,” said White. “Now the admin staff is largely out of that process. It’s mostly in the buying team’s hands, which is where we want it.”
The Project Management window improves contract visibility for all of Bridgewell’s departments. This benefits multiple areas of their operation. “I think probably the number one thing is contract accuracy,” said White. “There is so much happening with all the different orders: the POs and SOs, everything that’s been released, where our change orders are versus our regular contract requirements. Having all that together on one screen really helps out. All those kinds of challenges have just kind of gone away, and we really feel confident that we’re creating change orders at the right time.”
This operation confidence translates into a competitive advantage. White believes the Project Management window “absolutely” gives Bridgewell an edge in their marketplace and positions them to pursue even larger contracts. “Our business processes can scale up where they couldn’t before, “ said White. “Now, we can start competing for those 5-6,000- product- line job contracts that are out there.”
“We can be tighter on the way we deliver. When customers need us to respond quickly when they have a change, we can react more effectively than dealers that are struggling to find out what the heck they’ve got.” -Scott White, Director of Information Technology, Bridgewell Resources