Hello, everyone. I’m Nicholas Criscione, Director of Continuous Improvement for National Coatings & Supplies.
Continuous improvement is the ongoing efforts to improve products, services and processes.
This means we get to talk to all the different functional departments. Whether it’s HR, sales or operations or marketing or any of them, we listen to all their problems. We’re basically therapists.
We listen to all their problems and figure out solutions that bring all those different functional departments together into a working workflow.
Before National Coating & Supplies, I worked for Single Source. We were a distributor of autobody coatings. Any coating really, anything that goes on anything. It could be architectural and industrial or all that.
We started with that and then we were 72 locations. About two years ago we got bought out by National Coatings & Supplies and we grew from 70 locations to 187.
Prior to that, probably three years before we were acquired, we were at about $100 million in sales, grew to $215 million. Once we got acquired by National Coatings, we grew to $500 million. There’s been quite a lot of growth through acquisition and a lot of different people coming into the mix.
You could see that we do a lot in automotive coatings, aviation, industrial, heavy machinery, energy sectors, architectural, really, like I said, anything that gets coated.
The big struggle that we’ve had so far is the acquisitions and the speed of growth. You can see that we’ve grown from $215 to $500 million in sales. It’s quite a leaping growth.
It’s really a struggle to get all those processes running together cohesively. We have multiple databases because of the acquisitions. We have different point-of-sale systems that must be integrated together.
I don’t have any kind of background in IT or any of that. Everything that I’ve learned has been through YouTube videos and the support and resources on Caspio.com. When all else fails, you know, that’s why we got so heavily involved with Professional Services and their team, which has been great so far.
But at $500 million we have no single sign-on. There’s no real collaboration. We’re running on two different email servers. It’s an IT nightmare.
Even with that said, we have a very small IT staff and they’re mostly heavily involved in the email. Resetting passwords and stuff like that. It’s been a real big struggle to bring a lot of that stuff together.
Through continuous improvement, we’ve tried to solve a lot of these problems with anything we could find on shoestring budget. It was Google Sheets, it was Smartsheet, it was Formsite. I can’t tell you how many Excel forms we have!
Data goes back and forth through email and as soon as it gets sent, it’s out of date. Then that comes back, the formulas are all wrong and it’s just really a nightmare.
We’ve been able to take both of our databases, which is ComCept, our point of sale, put those together with all our Excel files and the forms: HR transaction forms, customer maintenance forms, and all the different stuff that they’ve created through Excel spreadsheets. There is also the Access Database for running commissions, the ADP, and all the marketing stuff that we do and all the little customer information solutions that we’ve built through Smartsheet.
We’ve been able to take all of those and kind of combine those into Caspio.
What we really wanted to provide for our customers and for our employees was simple, actionable data that they didn’t have to go to launch to different places to find, they could have at their fingertips.
They didn’t have to go in through some sort of a virtual network to find it while they’re on the road. It was stuff that when they’re in front of the customer, they had what they needed to do the job. That’s really what this was all about. You know, building a lot of what we’ve built in Caspio.
I’m going to go through our application that we’ve called The Network. It’s really bringing the customer in the sales and the operations altogether in one place.
I don’t want to get too in the weeds and what it does, but you could see some screenshots in here. We’ve been able to bring the locations, the vendor contacts, the employee contacts and all that stuff together in one place along with the sales and operations and some of the different dashboards.
These are some of the dashboards that we’ve built for active customers, the wins and losses. Professional Services has helped us greatly with triggers; basically, to say if the sales go up or down a certain amount, we can automatically flag wins. This way our people didn’t have to go in there and fill out a pipeline or spend their time on a computer. They can be out there getting sales and growing the company.
Another big piece that we’ve done is ADS, which is Average Daily Sales.
We’ve basically taken the last 90 days in the last 365 days, put them together and said, “Is the plane going up, are we growing, or is the plane about to hit the mountain?” It’s very simple for our people to understand.
The other stuff that they need with the year-to-date fiscal and the last-year-to-date fiscal in their forecast along with their AR. Are they current? Are we collecting the money? Are we collecting on the sales that we’ve made or are we not?
Any salesman could be in the field and they don’t have to call someone up at headquarters or call someone up at the local store. They can see what they need to do even before they walk in to meet with the customer. They see everything right there.
We also have a toolbox with some different tools in it. Like I said, we don’t have any sort of single sign-on, so we’ve had to basically use this to create a list of all the stuff that you use on a regular basis. They still have to log in, but at least everything they need is in one place.
Another really great thing that we built in here was sort of a special-order book. You know, a guy’s out there, when you get thrown out from a customer, typically you get thrown out for that one little thing that you forgot. It’s not the stuff that they get every day.
It’s the little things, right? This piece of it has really helped us to follow up on those things that get you thrown out of the customer and the little things that really matter.
Caspio has been a great help to us.
You know, phone calls and answers with Savitha at 8:00 or 9:00 at night. I’m on the East Coast, so I’d like to not think that it’s just the time difference. But it’s really any hour of the day.
And it’s not only Savitha and Professional Services, it’s really been everyone from Melody to Savitha to Jason Johnson when we first talked to him, and Craig and everyone. You guys have really been great to us.
As Frank said before, he really tries to build a great team. I think he’s really done a great job so far at Caspio. It’s the same experience that we strive to give our customers. It’s going above and beyond and being a partner with your customer in what they’re doing and helping them get to the next level.
That’s what Caspio has provided to us at National Coatings.
In the future, we plan on going into some advanced business analytics and some map integrations along with workflow. Probably even rebuilding our entire app, soon.
It’s been great so far and as fast as our company’s growing, our partnership with Caspio quickly grew, too.
So, I just want to say thank you to Caspio and everything you guys have done for us. We really appreciate it.