High Bar Brands
NexTec and Acumatica exceed the high bar set by High Bar Brands
About High Bar Brands
High Bar Brands, LLC supplies the commercial vehicle industry with innovative after-market solutions such as Polymer Fenders, Pintle Hitches, and Mudflaps through its iconic brands, Minimizer, Premier Manufacturing, and Viking. Driven by innovation and entrepreneurial spirit, the company provides customers with superior products and exceptional customer service.
When High Bar Brands drove to merge the brands into a single operating entity, management recognized that it would also need to consolidate its business management software. One solution and one business partner met High Bar Brands demanding requirements — Acumatica and NexTec Group.
Blooming Prairie, MN
“We were using separate legacy ERP products at each company,” recalls Jim Richards, VP of Operations for High Bar Brands. “To successfully merge the operations and establish a foundation for future growth, we knew we would need to switch to a powerful and flexible new ERP solution.”
The company performed a comprehensive analysis of the options available, looking for the best application for its operation. Because High Bar Brands performs the manufacturing and final assembly of most of its products across several facilities, full manufacturing capabilities are necessary, as is the ability to support multiple locations. “A cloud-based, subscription-as-a-service application was another requirement,” notes Richards. “We always want to run the most current version of the software to take advantage of new features.”
In addition, there was one overarching nonnegotiable requirement. “We didn’t want to customize the application,” says Richards. “Whatever we chose had to be flexible and powerful enough to meet our needs out of the box.”
A Solution for the Long Haul
High Bar Brands considered Microsoft Dynamics, NetSuite, and Acumatica before deciding Acumatica was an ideal fit. “We liked what we saw with Acumatica,” says Richards. “The publisher is continually investing in product development, so as a result, Acumatica is dynamic, evolving, and continually improving. We didn’t see that same commitment in the other two ERPs.”
Acumatica connected High Bar Brands with NexTec Group, a leading Acumatica business partner. “NexTec impressed us from the start,” says Richards. “Their approach to the implementation project was spot on. We had candid conversations about what we needed from the system now and what we envisioned for the future. NexTec helped us turn our plans into action, optimizing the configuration of Acumatica to fit our operations.”
On time, under budget, and out-of-the-box
High Bar Brands set an aggressive timetable to make the transition, and all parties rose to meet the challenge. “We all worked hard to go live with Acumatica at the first of the year,” explains Richards. “We made it happen — on time and under budget. We also met our goal of full functionality with zero customizations,” notes Richards. “I credit the software’s flexibility, our team’s dedication, and our NexTec consultants’ skillset.”
It’s rare that a modern, diverse manufacturing company like High Bar Brands is able to support its complex operations without customizing its ERP solution. It’s an accomplishment Richards says speaks to Acumatica’s broad capabilities and extensive configurability. “We get exactly what we need from Acumatica. Plus, we can significantly scale the business without ever hitting its limits.”
Since the implementation, High Bar Brands acquired another company, Viking, and was able to easily accommodate the new acquisition’s operations in Acumatica without a hitch.
Visibility down the road
Richards says the most significant benefit High Bar Brands realizes with Acumatica is improved data visibility and availability. “With our older, legacy products, we would have to create a new custom report anytime we needed to look at data differently — usually by exporting data into spreadsheets. Acumatica has dozens of quick queries available to us. If the data is in Acumatica, we can access it.”
He cites the example of product margin data. “In our old system, it was nearly impossible to identify our margin by product. We had to export data to Excel, and then perform additional inputs and several offline calculations. Now, we have that data instantly available and we’re confident in the accuracy of the numbers. Accurate product margins help us make smarter pricing decisions and informed assessments surrounding our whole supply chain.”
Insights are the new payload
High Bar Brands has extended Acumatica across the enterprise, empowering employees in virtually every department with the tools and information they need to do their jobs even better. For example, employees on the shop floor record production data in Acumatica throughout the day. The near real-time visibility the company gains into production enables its teams to be more proactive and provide better customer service.
While High Bar Brands consolidated three separate companies into one business entity, management and other stakeholders still want to understand how each individual brand is performing. NexTec helped the company structure its chart of accounts and inventory part numbers to allow it to generate financial reports by brand. “It’s an ideal setup for us,” says Richards. “We have both the granularity we need along with the big picture of the company as a whole.”
A modern, cloud-based ERP application like Acumatica offers automated workflows and streamlined processing that High Bar Brands uses to drive efficiency. “Every task is simpler and quicker to accomplish in Acumatica,” Richards says. “For example, we ship hundreds of orders each day. Previously, invoicing consumed four hours each day. It now takes just 10 minutes.”
One year after the implementation, High Bar Brands is largely self-sufficient with the software. “However, I still pick up the phone and call our NexTec consultant with questions that arise or ideas I come up with. NexTec is a strong, strategic resource for us.”