Concannon Lumber Company
Concannon Lumber Company
Agility (locally hosted)
July 06, 2004
Concannon Lumber supplies softwood, hardwood, plywood, moulding and millwork to customers in North American, Europe, Asia and Mexico. Founded by Pat and Bryan Concannon in 1980, the company is headquartered in Portland, Oregon and has offices in Asia and the Americas.
Concannon Lumber Company had been using Agility for 10 years. Employees liked the system and were comfortable with it. But Concannon’s leadership knew they could do more.
“Our users had become very complacent,” says Jane Ryan, Concannon’s controller. “Nobody wanted to change what they were doing, so they didn’t pay attention to new features. ”
Cindy McCarville, an account executive at DMSi, is very familiar with situations like Concannon’s. “If your current processes work and nothing feels broken, people rarely think to ask ‘could we do this better.’ There’s a lot of untapped potential.”
Concannon’s leadership knew there were opportunities to make employees even more productive. They decided to bring in McCarville to evaluate and improve their current processes.
McCarville traveled to Concannon’s offices and spent two days with the staff. She observed their processes and asked about their goals.
“Cindy took the time to really understand the nuances of our business,” says Ryan. “For instance, our export sales people and internal domestic sales people need totally different information. And one of our owners prefers detailed reports, but the other prefers big-picture overviews. Cindy just really paid attention to those things.”
After her visit, McCarville created a report outlining specific steps Concannon’s team could take to leverage Agility more effectively. She followed up with several phone calls to Ryan to discuss the recommendations and strategies for implementing the changes.
The recommendations in the utilization audit helped Concannon increase productivity. The admin team in particular has seen significant improvements.
“We’re using all sorts of new functions,” says Ryan. “Automated processing. Amazing. That whole system has completely changed the way we run our weekly reports. And we had no idea how to do it before.”
By automating manual tasks, Ryan has more time to focus on higher-value activities. “Instead of going in bright and early every Monday to run the daily balancing reports, I have them set to run automatically on Sunday nights. When I go in Monday, they’re ready to review. It’s taken an hour-and-a-half task down to 5 minutes.”
Another major win for Concannon is journal entry import. Previously, the accounting staff would manually update recurring entries each month. “Cindy showed us how to do the journal entry import, and now we’ve completely quit using recurring entries. Everything is on import. It’s such an amazing tool.”
Concannon’s admin staff is also better able to help internal customers such as the sales team. “We are able to get them more information, more quickly,” says Ryan. “Some of it is data the guys hadn’t even realized they needed. We scheduled sales reports to run overnight, so they’re ready first thing in the morning. It’s just one more thing we’re now able to provide them.”
In addition to recommending specific Agility functions, McCarville’s report also covered best practices for things such as dashboards and user interfaces. “Even little tricks like customizing the order entry screen made a huge difference,” says Ryan. “We set up different headers for the export and domestic sales teams, so people don’t have to look at information they don’t need. Setting those up the right way really improved people’s efficiency.”
Since going through the utilization audit, Concannon’s employees are more interested in and motivated to improve their use of Agility. “Now people are looking for new things on their own. It’s changed some people’s mindset altogether.”
“DMSi really cares about our business and that we will succeed. They’re going to work to make that happen. There’s a true partnership.”
– Jan Ryan, Controller, Concannon Lumber