manager stressato e stancoI feel so old even saying this but back when I was dating (I was just married this year on June 2nd so as Brent always tells me: I’m not a real man until I have kids),  I always found it interesting that with each new person I met, they were always perfect.  Initially, that is.  Once reality set in, I soon learned it could be something quite different (and quite scary at times).

Over the years I realized that what I was really excited about was the hope that who I dated would match with my concept of the perfect person.  You know, the one that we all had rattling around in our heads up there that we hoped one day to meet.

So clearly a lot of you dealers are “dating around” right now, dying to get automated and streamlined.  You’re also dying to find one system that does it all (that’s your business soulmate – the one rattling around up there in that head of yours).  You would know this system well because not only does it do all your marketing but it does all your accounting, selling, scheduling and closing for you too.  And no it’s not design software (even though they’d like you to think so), it’s really just your image of the perfect system that you could fall in love with.  Oh, and it’s free too.

Too bad it doesn’t really exist.  But you all think it does.

Put on Your Best Behavior

So you date around with your not-so-sexy local software shops where they tell you about how thoughtful and romantic they are as partners (that’s where they tell you they can build a system that can help you with your challenges).  Some of you larger dealers occasionally get wooed by the really sexy accounting vendors like GreatPlains, Epicor, MAS 90, Oracle or even SAP only to find out later that something is burning so bad it’s keeping you up late at night – then you realize it’s just your wallet that’s on fire.

And still others of you keep looking, determined to find something that doesn’t exist as you wait and wait – and the weeks turn into months and the months turn into years and before you know it you’re still pushing paper and doing nothing while your profits vaporize along with the trees you’re destroying.

“Next year…maybe next year,” you say “the perfect system will eventually get here.”  Yep – and so will intergalactic space travel – eventually.

Can You Feel the Love?

But there are a select few of you who have fallen in love with those accounting software hustlers again. You know the type, all dressed up with that nice glass of wine, looking all sophisticated and intelligent, using big words that impress you and even offering to do the little things for you too, like rubbing your shoulders and cooking you healthy meals after a long days work.

[sigh longingly across the dinner table to said accounting vendor].

These accounting hustlers are telling you now that all you need is a little “sumthin sumthin” – and it’s called integration with 2020 – and your mojo will be back.  Boy have they been busy too.  Pruning up their 2020 integration stories and then dressing up for a night on the town hoping to score somebody special: you.

So I thought we’d get real specific and officially vaccinate all you dealers out there before you’re inadvertently taken for yet another ride of disappointment.

We’ll cover the top 6 reasons why 2020 integration with your accounting system doesn’t work as advertised.  And while it might sound like a fun night out for a few grand upfront, you’ll soon realize it’s going to be more expensive than your worst divorce nightmare.

Problem #1: Catalogs

Accounting systems run on a very simple concept – you create an inventory part along with a cost, a G/L code to identify where the dollars go and a price so you can sell it on a sales order.  So your first step to make your 2020 interface work is to have an equivalent cabinet catalog in your accounting system that represents all the possibilities of what you will be selling.

We took one semi-custom cabinet brand for you and went ahead and calculated the number of inventory parts you and your new “accounting software beau” will have to create together.  Don’t worry, it’s not as large as the number of grains of sand on earth.  But it is close.

You’re going to need 18 quintillion inventory parts.  Yep, you heard me.  That’s 18 zeroes.  So start with a million, then go to a billion, then a trillion, then a quadrillion, then a quintillion – and you’ll need 18 of those.  Next year when that brand releases 5 new customizations you can go ahead and multiply that number by a few more billion.

One cabinet dealer we know of actually tried it and at the tiny figure of 5 million inventory parts their accounting system exploded.  Not even Oracle can handle a Quintillion (even though they’ll tell you it already does that).  In fact no system on the face of the earth can handle it – and that’s just one catalog.  Last time I checked you guys carried 3 to 5 brands, or about 8 to 15 catalogs.

And don’t get me started with all the updates, discontinued products, pricing corrections, etc. that each manufacturer sends you – that’s just icing on the cake.  You will absolutely, positively go insane watching your bank account drain in yet another change request so the accounting interface can “handle just this one other exception.”

Problem #2:  Customizations and Modifications

Let’s just assume you were able to live 3 trillion life times and solved problem #1.  Now you have to deal with all the selections and modifications you can do to a cabinet which affect its cost.  For example:

  • Modifications that rely on things like door and drawer counts (i.e. upgraded drawers)
  • Percentage and flat fee customizations (i.e. when do you apply the finish charge?)
  • Dimension modifications which depend on the actual dimensions of the cabinet
  • Customization levels (i.e. distressing which could be applied on top of the finish charge)

This means you have to get your accounting vendor to not just try to load all the inventory items but it actually needs to gut the core of its inventory master records so it can expand it’s definition of a cabinet inventory item.  It can’t be just a code in the accounting system (i.e. B30).  That’s not enough.  It will need an entire structure of all the nitty gritty details about that code (length, width, height, cubes, # drawers, # doors, etc.).

Click here to read part 2 of the series.