Where did I put that? I know I just had it!
How many times have you made that statement as you search your desk, your office, your garage? Only for the frustration to grow as you have no luck finding something you put somewhere safe.
At BMFA, almost everything is kept in one place…Salesforce, so it can easily be found.
We have the potential to store almost anything in Salesforce; all emails, to-do lists, accomplished tasks, financial records and even our phone calls, but why?
Since the business was started there was a desire to be as efficient as possible, in everything we did. Our goal was not to waste the time of our customers, the Fire Fighting Community. The opposite of an efficient business leads to higher prices for the customer and fewer revenues for the company.
There is no one business quite like BMFA so there was no one to look to for advice on ‘best practices,’ as we soon became five times larger than our nearest competitor. Yes, we were making it up as we went.
As much as we wanted to be efficient we wanted to have adequate and backed-up records of all our transactions, inventory and parts. This proved to be a daunting task both in execution and financial support. At one point we could track that we were operating in ‘nine’ different computer programs or platforms and very few if any shared information.
The amount of data was becoming overwhelming. We were told to keep it going and readily available as built we needed to make about a $50,000 upgrade to our systems and would require continued upgrades to both software and hardware. It was also at this time that the trend was moving away from on-campus servers with limited access to cloud-based systems with remote access and unlimited storage.
2013 was the year we started down a course toward Salesforce when we realized that those nine computer programs/platforms were generating a multitude of spreadsheets. Every time one data point was changed on one sheet it had to be manually changed in many of the others.
The search was on for a better way. What if we could have one program, resource where everything could be captured and we would only have to do this one time. Our goal was to set this tool up for our people to work in the best way possible for achieving our goals at Brindlee. We wanted to kill the "silo'd" information that exists in a business when information is stored in multiple locations, and only certain people have access to it. Giving appropriate, immediate access to all information to everyone who needs it is the cornerstone of running a good business.
After an exhaustive search, we found Salesforce through a local business friend and the book “Predictable Revenue.” By establishing our information and business processes on one platform, it gives us a foundation that we can scale and build from to launch new initiatives in the future, without having to recreate the entire structure of how those initiatives work. Salesforce has been a fantastic tool to set us up for future success.
We may joke that ‘if it's not in Salesforce, it really didn’t happen.’ It really is true and it is for the sole purpose of helping us be the best company we can be. Efficient in operations, management, finance, sales, service, and parts.
“We want to be excellent in every aspect of buying, selling and fixing used fire trucks.”