SRS Maintains Extraordinary Business Growth with the Cloud-based DMSi Agility SaaS Solution and Progress® OpenEdge®
Since its inception in 2008, SRS Distribution Inc. has remained laser focused on its mission to form the strongest national network of independent roofing distributors in the U.S. In its first year alone, the company established a coast-to-coast presence as a leader in the roofing distribution industry. Since then, SRS has realized phenomenal growth, scaling from eight locations to 107 locations across 35 states in just six years, an astonishing factor of 14. This aggressive growth in a down market has established SRS as one of the fastest growing building products distribution companies in the U.S.
So what’s the company’s secret? Simply put: SRS is faster and more agile than the competition. And a significant factor in that competitive edge is the company’s use of the Agility SaaS ERP system from Progress partner DMSi Software. Based on the Progress OpenEdge application development platform, Agility SaaS is a cloud-based ERP system developed to meet the specific and unique needs of the building material industry.
When SRS first launched in 2008, it was in start-up mode. One of the company’s first acquisitions was already using Agility SaaS. With an aggressive goal for rapid acquisition, SRS realized early on that standardizing on a single ERP system would eliminate maintenance hassles and make acquisitions and upgrades easier. While a software decision for most companies can take anywhere from six months to years, SRS made the decision to implement Agility SaaS in just two months.
“It really came down to the fact that Agility and OpenEdge could grow with us and support our rapid acquisition strategy. We already had a great relationship established with DMSi, and we were confident that the company had the expertise, drive and vision to support our needs long term,” explains Sonya Wells, Vice President & Corporate Director of Information Services at SRS. Today, Agility supports all aspects of SRS’s operations including shipping and delivery, inventory management, general ledger, accounting, online payments, accounts payable and receivable, and pricing.
The SaaS model was key to supporting SRS’s business strategy for expansion. They operate leaner and more efficiently because of Agility’s inherent benefits of inventory accuracy and operational efficiency. Additionally, with SaaS, they never have to worry about server maintenance and backups. “All we need is a good Internet connection and we are ready to go. I have set up new locations in a locally hosted environment in the past, and there is no doubt about it, SaaS makes the process much more seamless,” Wells explained.
SRS has its acquisition process down to a science. By utilizing Agility SaaS, they can establish a new location in a matter of days. “We close on a company on a Friday, and by that Monday morning they are up and running on Agility,” explains Wells. “Within those three days we finalize the acquisition, conduct a physical inventory using Agility, provide onsite training, and open for business on Monday. The customer can walk in that first day and our employees won’t miss a beat. The transition is very smooth. I don’t know how we could do this in a non-SaaS environment. With an on-premise solution it would take months versus days. And then we would be stuck with all of the costs and headaches inherent with managing our own hardware and software.”
That ability to get a new business up and running quickly is a huge competitive advantage for SRS, says Wells. “With the help of Agility and OpenEdge, we can do in three days what it takes our competitors at least one month to do. That translates into a significant competitive edge for us. We are heroes to the people focused on our Mergers and Acquisitions group. They can’t believe that we can keep rolling these out for them so quickly.”
With Agility SaaS and Progress OpenEdge, SRS also has the flexibility to take advantage of new opportunities and markets. “Our focus is on residential roofing, but there is no reason we can’t move into the commercial side, or even get into other exterior building products if we choose to in the future. Agility and Progress OpenEdge could certainly support those efforts,” says Wells.
SRS placed tremendous value on its relationship with DMSi back in 2008, and Wells says that connection has only strengthened over the years. “I have dealt with a lot of software vendors; there are very few that understand how a roof gets put on. But that’s our business; that’s our focus. DMSi understands our customer base and they understand the ins and outs of our industry. That has made all of the difference.”
DMSi: Delivering Innovative Cloud-based Solutions with Progress OpenEdge and Progress Pacific
DMSi Software is no stranger to success itself. Founded over three decades ago, the company is considered the leading business management solution for distributors of building material and forest products. Today, nearly 400 of North America’s top lumber, millwork, roofing, siding, laminate, drywall, and other building product suppliers use DMSi software to efficiently manage daily activities in 1,500 distribution yards, shops, warehouses, and offices.
A long-time Progress application partner, the company has relied on the Progress OpenEdge development platform to power its solutions for over 20 years. During that time, the company has continued to grow and innovate its solutions, becoming an early adopter of the Software as a Service model in the early 2000s. Today, 75% of DMSi’s users are running their business with the cloud-based version of the Agility SaaS ERP system.
Cal German, President and CEO at DMSi Software, says both DMSi and its customers reap a number of benefits from SaaS. “From a business standpoint, SaaS has made our revenue model much more predictable. That has allowed us to commit resources and invest in the products and services that our customers need. We have also been able to accelerate our ability to develop and deploy new features and functionality out to our customer base. For our customers, SaaS has eliminated the huge upfront costs of purchasing hardware and software and alleviated the headaches and cycles required to manage that in-house infrastructure. Take SRS, for example. Agility SaaS has enabled them to focus on growing their business without having to worry about what’s in the backroom for computing resources and infrastructure.”
German says over the two decades DMSi has used Progress OpenEdge, they have never seriously considered switching platforms. “Progress has been a wonderful technology partner and a very solid platform on which to run our ERP solution. The technology is so flexible that it has enabled us to continue to modernize our solution while maintaining the underlying logic of our application. Software is cumulative. The more you enhance it, the better it gets. We have continued to build more and more sophistication and refinement and functionality into the application. So the forward-compatibility of Progress OpenEdge is by far the best thing for our customers.”
The underlying Progress OpenEdge database continues to benefit DMSi with its low total cost of ownership and ease of maintenance. “The Progress database requires very low administration compared to other databases on the market,” explains Trent Paben, COO of DMSi. “As a SaaS provider, we are serving the needs of hundreds of customers. If we had to rely on something like SQL we would need a far larger DBA staff. Plus, the database is incredibly reliable, which is essential for a hosted environment.”
Part of DMSi’s ongoing success lies in its commitment to innovation and providing customers with the state-of-the-art tools and functionality they need to remain competitive. DMSi is excited to take advantage of the new Progress Pacific application development platform.
“Progress Pacific is just another example of Progress keeping up with the world of technology and software development in a way that gives us a clear path forward,” says German. “We’re going to be able to take all the software that we spent 20 years refining and enhancing and migrate it into a web architecture, for example, with business rules and engines and workflows. Progress Pacific opens the future up to us in a way that doesn’t require us to start all over again. There is nothing comparable on the market today to Progress Pacific.”
DMSi is currently implementing the Progress Rollbase cloud platform to build a new CRM SaaS application. And the company is eager to take advantage of the Progress Corticon Business Rules Management System (BRMS) to meet customer requests for integrated business rules. DMSi also plans to build two new mobile applications this year using Progress OpenEdge Mobile.
“We are ecstatic about Progress Pacific. We now have a complete platform that can absolutely keep up with our needs – and more. In fact, we are trying our hardest to keep up with Progress because there are so many exciting tools we can leverage,” explains Brent Heavican, Director of Software Development, DMSi Software. “Once we are able to take full advantage of Progress Pacific, our solutions will uniquely position us in our marketplace.”
SRS will be closely watching DMSi’s adoption of Progress Pacific. “We are very excited about these new developments, like the new CRM system. They can’t come fast enough as far as we are concerned,” says Wells. “Like many companies, we have so much data; the question becomes what do we do with it? With a tool like Progress Rollbase, there is tremendous potential in terms of how we could manage and use the data. This is something we are really looking forward to.”
About SRS Distribution, Inc.
Headquartered in McKinney, TX, SRS is a building products distribution holding company that operates 107 locations in 35 states. SRS is a portfolio company of Berkshire Partners LLC. http://www.srsicorp.com
About DMSi Software
For over 30 years, DMSi has been the leading business management solution for distributors of building material and forest products. Nearly 400 of North America’s top lumber, millwork, roofing, siding, laminate, drywall, and other building product suppliers use DMSi software to efficiently manage daily activities in 1,500 distribution yards, shops, warehouses and offices. www.dmsi.com