Datacor Helps Bedford Specialty Sales, Inc. Maximize Data to Drive Business Decisions
"Datacor has really helped us organize information and access it quickly to make the right decisions"
- Amanda Bagley, President
About Bedford Specialty Sales, Inc.
Bedford Specialty Sales, Inc., is a specialty chemical distributor/sales agent based out of Shirley, MA. Since 1998, the business has provided quality chemical raw materials for the manufacture and development of coatings and inks; plastics; rubber products; adhesives; cosmetic and personal care products; household, industrial and institutional cleaners; and other related industry products.
Before choosing Datacor’s Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) and Customer Relationship Management (CRM), Bedford Specialty Sales was using another supplier’s software for basic accounting functions and inventory, and relied on standard Microsoft Excel spreadsheets and Word documents to capture and control its sales data.
But for a distribution business that needed to carefully track its customers and monitor every product by lot, the process was not particularly user-friendly.
“It was a very cumbersome way of trying to manage a business and as we grew, it became even more difficult,” says Amanda Bagley, President. “We started our business at ground zero with no principals and no products, so managing costs was critical for us early on. It was all quite overwhelming, but as the business grew, we thought it was important to make the investment in these systems and turned to Datacor.”
With the business growing and its product offering expanding, Bagley and her team were finding it increasingly difficult to manage without a dedicated software solution.
The fact that Datacor had developed its software specifically for the distribution sector meant it had all the functionality the business was looking for. The decision was a no-brainer, says Bagley, having heard first-hand from peers and competitors about their positive experiences with the software.
Bedford Specialty Sales transitioned to Datacor ERP (then called Chempax) in 2010.
“We’d talked to a lot of other distributors who were using the system and they were very complimentary about it,” she says. “As it had been designed for chemical distributors, we were able to put every product into the software and list all the lots for those products. With the other system we’d been using, every time we added a new lot, it was treated like a new product; it just couldn't encompass all the different things we were doing.”
“We only had a small team, but we were moving a lot of product. Being able to do as much as you can, as fast as possible was really critical,” she says. “Just to have all our information in one centralized location was a big selling point for us.”
The set-up process and transition to the new system went smoothly, with Datacor’s support team always on hand to offer help and training throughout.
“I can't say enough about them,” says Bagley. “They were all very supportive and helpful and any time we've needed any assistance, they were quick to get back to us. Even now, we’re still finding functions we could be using more effectively, so we meet with our rep periodically to go through all the features.”
Before switching to Datacor, sales were being logged in Excel spreadsheets and call reports were being completed in Word before being attached to emails and shared amongst the team. Keeping tabs on which customers had been contacted, and when, proved difficult and searching for files wasted a lot of time. It also proved tricky staying on top of the latest versions of documents and there was a lot of duplication of effort.
The new ERP was secure and customizable, and access could easily be delegated to specific employees or limited to certain accounts. It also allowed the business to make better use of its data, with everything far more accessible. Summary pages displayed key performance data such as sales volumes and profits, and direct comparisons could be made with the year before, for example.
Bagley says the various reporting tools and ability to accurately track the opportunity pipeline was particularly useful too.
Another huge selling point for the business, says Bagley, was being able access real-time data remotely while out of the office visiting customers. Datacor’s CRM Traveler function meant they could download the most up-to-date information from their system so the information could be accessed even when a Wi-Fi connection wasn’t available.
“The new software made us so much more efficient and effective. It meant we could just log and access everything from one place,” she adds. “We could easily generate purchase orders, invoices, and call reports, or even process sample requests – all from within the system.”
The last few years have seen the business significantly expand its presence across the U.S., and Datacor’s software has helped Bedford Specialty Sales on that journey.
In an ever-changing and fast-moving marketplace, a reliable and easy-to-use ERP and CRM has been vital for keeping track of sales and prospects, and ensuring customers are getting the best possible service.
“It's really helped us from an organizational standpoint,” says Bagley. “It's been a very challenging time and quite a learning curve these last few years. A lot of products have been on sales allocation, so that’s meant they may only be available for a few hours because things are moving so fast. Datacor has really helped us organize information and access it quickly to make the right decisions.”
“The software has made it far easier because it puts all the information we need at our fingertips. Now, we can look up a product, see which of our customers use it, and get an indication of other companies in that same type of business who might also benefit from those products.”
Bagley says she wouldn’t hesitate to recommend the software to others – and has done so on many occasions.
“We’ve been very happy with the system and have no complaints at all,” she says. “Datacor has worked so well for us and made us a lot faster and more efficient. I couldn’t imagine going back to those old ways of working.”