Customer Success Stories Successful ERP Implementation - Telesis, Inc.
Diversified Nebraska Firm Telesis, Inc. Runs Six Companies on Acumatica ERP
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Acumatica Cloud ERP solution for Telesis, Inc.
Headquarters
Lincoln, Nebraska USA
Industries
Agriculture and farming, Manufacturing

Telesis, Inc.

  • Acquired a single system for reporting across businesses that provides real-time visibility
    into different operations
  • Improved inventory management, bill of materials, and MRP that helped it double
    Data Security, Inc.’s production
  • Reduced Data Security, Inc.’s inventory-on-hand part needs by 40 percent while also
    decreasing carrying costs with better inventory management
  • Increased efficiency with automated workflows that eliminated manual and duplicate data entry
  • Eliminated the need for six restaurant employees to enter data into various
    disconnected systems
  • Shaved a day off processing transactions at restaurants, speeding decision times
  • Sped year-end close by three months with real-time operating data always available
  • Eliminated monitoring number of users and per-user licensing costs, which allows greater
    access to critical data via self-service, which reduced reliance on finance team
Renee Schafer
"The real-time access to data is huge. We’re using Acumatica to manage all of our entities separately but also see how the overall parent company is performing, and that speaks to how flexible Acumatica is."
Renee Schafer, Director of Operations, Data Security, Inc.
Telesis, Inc.
Challenges
ERP Solution
Outcome
Challenges

Challenges

Challenges

In many small cities and towns across America, you’ll find a prominent family or two intent on
bettering the community by starting businesses to increase employment, renovating aging
buildings, and taking on other community challenges.

In Lincoln, Nebraska, it’s the Boles and Schafers. The extended family operates various
aspects of Telesis, Inc. The holding company comprises a data security firm, several
restaurants, a microbrewery, real estate, and an urban farming operation.

Telesis, Inc. Operations
Data Security, Inc. is the largest and oldest of Telesis, Inc.’s manufacturing operations.
The 40-year-old company, co-founded by Brian Boles, makes machines that help governments
and companies destroy digital data stored on computer hard disk drives, laptops, server drives,
backup tapes, and audio tapes.

Its degaussers and destruction products are evaluated by the National Security Agency
(NSA) and are listed on the NSA-approved Evaluated Products Lists (EPL), which means
the products can be used by the Department of Defense (DoD).

As the NSA develops new standards for erasing and disposing of data storage media,
Data Security, Inc. has built new machines to maintain its market-leading position. The company
has grown into new markets, helping companies comply with security policies set by the National
Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), the Federal Information Security Management
Act (FISMA), and privacy legislation like the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act (GLBA), and the Health
Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA).

Data Security, Inc. designs, manufacturers, sells and supports its product line to
customers worldwide.

Restaurant and Brewery
Brian Boles helped his brother Scott achieve a dream of opening a restaurant in 1991.
They recruited a lifelong friend, Jay Jarvis, and opened Nebraska’s first brewpub,
Lazlo’s Brewery & Grill. It remains one of Lincoln’s iconic restaurants.
Years later, they began Empyrean Brewing Co. to produce Lazlo’s beers for distribution at
other retail locations. A second of Lazlo Inc. location opened in 1998, a move that illuminated
the huge energy costs of operating two suburban restaurants.

Achieving Net Zero
This started them down the path of installing geothermal wellfields and Water Source Heat
Pumps to heat and cool their properties. The company has also installed the state’s largest
privately-owned solar array in downtown Lincoln, which is integral to the family’s strategy of
achieving net zero energy usage.

To help meet the families’ sustainable goals, the company decided to repurpose buildings for
urban farming with year-round crop cultivation, using 95 percent less water than traditional
farming, and support traditional farming methods. The newest venture is Avert Vertical
Cultivations. It was launched in 2019.

Running on Legacy Systems
Throughout the companies’ history, operations ran on Macola, a legacy financial system
Telesis, Inc. had spent considerable effort and cost to customize and use with additional
third-party systems.

Executives augmented Macola with spreadsheets and third-party applications.
The disconnected systems required a lot of manual data entry.

Darren Parrott, Director of Finance and Administration, juggled four Macola tenants and
found allocating shared costs to the correct entities cumbersome. Reconciling errors wasted
a lot of time, and so did balancing accounts. It was difficult to ascertain the cost of goods
sold for the manufacturing operations, and inventory levels were often incorrect.
“As we were growing, we expanded our administrative staff just to enter invoices and just
do the day-to-day,” Parrott says, explaining they doubled the finance staff to 16 over the years
just to manipulate data.

Inaccurate Inventory

Data Security, Inc. uses different combinations of over 3,000 parts in its machines, often
doubly-allocated parts, leaving some out of stock, which sometimes delayed production.
“We put together a solid forecast every year, and we have products that cross utilize parts,
but if you said you were going to build 150 units in a year, that inventory had to be taken out
right away,” says Eric Schafer, Telesis, Inc. President. If not, someone else in manufacturing
might use them. “There were times where nobody knew when we were actually out of an
inventory item that kept us from continuing to build,” he says.

Creating reports for analysis involved exporting data from Macola and other systems into
Excel. “The length of time it took to export to Excel was excessive,” Eric says. “You would
literally sit at your desk waiting five, 10 minutes, for the data to refresh, sometimes even just
to open. We had too many executives having their time wasted.” In an attempt to remedy the
situation, they decided to limit a data refresh to 6 a.m., “but that’s not an effective way to run
a company,” he says.

Adds Renee Schafer, Director of Operations at Data Security, Inc., “There was a certain
amount of data in Macola, but it was hard to update. The minute you had a change, or you
needed to change a product, you had to time it right. You couldn’t change it live on the spot
or have revisions. That was impossible. So, we had a lot of Excel spreadsheets, and a lot of
different tracking.”

Data Security, Inc. used Microsoft Access as a CRM, which was highly customized. According
to Renee, Microsoft hasn’t supported the program in years, but executives couldn’t find a new
CRM that allowed the customization it needed. The program didn’t provide the data or insights
required for sales as the companies grew.

Restaurant Inefficiencies

Telesis, Inc. has four restaurants that see more than 1 million guests annually. Collectively,
they represented about 80 percent of the manual transactions. In addition to those
transactions, food vendor invoices were manually entered, and the vendors showed up
two to four times a week to replenish the food and beverages.

“All of our vendor invoices were entered manually into a system that was slow,” says Eric.
“We didn’t have a good flow to do that. We had six people entering data. The thing that kept
moving was the date we closed an end of the month. You can’t make decisions if January’s
not closed out until March or April.”

It would take the restaurant managers three days to enter the prior weeks’ transactions and
reconcile employee food comps, says Parrott.
Entering expense reports from any of the companies was a manual, time-consuming task
requiring an executive to download their credit card statement and manually enter items into
a spreadsheet. The spreadsheet was then sent to the accounting team that re-entered the
information into Macola.

“We’re limited and that became expensive quickly,” Eric says.

ERP Solution

ERP Solution

The slow legacy system and inefficient double entries led the family to consider upgrading Macola.
Macola, which underwent several ownership and sales-strategy changes over the years, was
bought and merged with ECi Software Solutions in 2017. When the new ownership hiked licensing
fees and doubled the support cost, Telesis, Inc. executives decided to look at other options.
Telesis, Inc.’s long-term technical support partner Algorithm understood the challenges Telesis, Inc.
faced, its technology needs, and its businesses. Algorithm offered Acumatica ERP as a good solution.

Acumatica Manufacturing Edition

Algorithm executives explained that Acumatica allows companies to connect all its systems and
house all operational capabilities, such as CRM, reporting and analytics, budget, spending, and
productivity in a single platform, providing end-to-end visibility. Highly configurable, the platform is
flexible and allows businesses to operate how they see fit; Acumatica doesn’t force companies to
change processes to conform to its solution.

Understanding that it can’t be everything to everybody, Acumatica includes an open API that allows
third-party applications to connect. Acumatica also offers editions tailored to specific industries.

“We went with Algorithm’s recommendation because there was no other person who was going
to understand our business as well as they did, and could convince us that another solution
would work,” says Eric.

Adds Renee, “We did a thorough review of it, especially on the CRM side. Once we looked at it
closely, we determined it could actually work for us. We were excited about it. We were all-in.”

Telesis, Inc. executives liked how easy-to-use Acumatica was and like that its open API allowed
them to connect prior custom-made applications and future third-party applications. It also had
a flexible CRM. “When Algorithm showed me how seamless it was from a sale through shipping
from start to finish, all in one process in one software, that was huge for me,” says Renee.

“Everybody could see how intuitive Acumatica would be for teaching users and getting new
users on board,” adds Eric, adding they also liked the transaction workflows and endless
customization possibilities.

Outcome

Outcome

Telesis, Inc. executives now have access to real-time information in all operations, allowing
them to make better and faster decisions. With increased visibility into inventory, bill of
materials (BOM) and material requirements planning (MRP), each manufacturing operation is
much more efficient. Having automated workflows and custom dashboards has reduced errors,
eliminated time spent searching for information, and streamlined operations.

“The real-time access to data is just huge,” Renee says. “We’re using Acumatica to manage all
of our entities separately but also see how the overall parent company is performing, and that
speaks to how flexible Acumatica is.”

Adds Eric, “I don’t have to manipulate data anymore, and I can make decisions based on the
information I have, which is available quickly and expediently.”Increased Manufacturing Efficiencies
Data Security, Inc. operates much more efficiently with information now in an end-to-end system,
improved inventory management, and improved BOM and MRP. The company has doubled
production, which has allowed it to grow quickly into the fast-growing data center market.

“I couldn’t even tell you how much we’ve benefited,” Renee says. “It’s ridiculous.
One Data Security, Inc. machine itself can have over 300 parts, and our efficiency
has gone way up. We have built over two times the amount from before Acumatica.
And to be able to manage the inventory, order parts, and stock them quickly has been huge.”

Many of Data Security, Inc.’s workflows and processes have been automated, which has
allowed the company to eliminate much of the paper printing, shuffling, and storing employees
used to do. “Using Acumatica is much faster,” Renee says. “We used to print everything out—
the pick list, the packing slips, and then had to retype data into Excel or Word. Now everything
is just printed directly from Acumatica and we’re shipping things faster.”

“Our administrative team is more efficient and has less to do, therefore they are able to do
more things elsewhere,” Renee adds. “As transactions increased, we did not have to add more
people, which we thought we may have to do. “

Custom Dashboards Increased Visibility

Employees and executives have access to and can create customizable dashboards that
provide KPIs instantly. “I have dashboard after dashboard showing me where we’re at,
whether it’s the sales pipeline, what’s pending, what’s shipping, or where our inventory levels
are,” Renee says. “That helps us make sure we’re hitting all of our contract requirements and
delivery dates. In addition, we’re managing parts in real time and don’t have to guess what
amounts we have.”More Efficient Restaurant Operations

Acumatica’s automated workflows have streamlined restaurant transaction uploads and
restaurant comp reports. Much of the manual data entry has been eliminated and they have
leveraged Acumatica’s intercompany functionality to allocate costs to the correct entities,
saving time and reducing errors, Eric says.

For example, the restaurants’ accountant no longer spends three days entering invoices and
logging cash transactions. “He’s probably cut out at least a day and a half out, and now we get
the weekly profit and loss report earlier,” Parrott says. “In addition, we’ve been able to get CSV
files from many of our food vendors and use Acumatica’s import function to automatically load
several hundred invoices.”

The restaurants automated the third-party vendor report they receive for employee meal comps.
“We just dump it into a spreadsheet and then upload it,” Parrott says. “It’s pretty slick.”
Bank transactions are automatically imported into Acumatica, reducing manual input.
“With our previous credit card processor, that process took about two days. Now, it’s maybe
3-4 hours,” Parrott says.

Flexible CRM Included
Working with Algorithm, Telesis, Inc. moved Data Security, Inc. from its custom-built CRM in
Microsoft Access to Acumatica’s CRM.

“We are super excited to start using the CRM,” says Renee. Not having to triple enter data has
been a game changer. Easy access to live, searchable data is already making an impact for
the sales team, operations and reporting!”

The other companies don’t have CRMs, but once Data Security, Inc.’s CRM is running,
they will create and add CRMs for the other entities. “Then we’ll have all that visualization
and communication across departments and units,” says Parrott.

With an integrated CRM, everyone will have instant access to critical information and
communication that now gets buried in email exchanges. “Our sales manager won’t just be
emailing or texting dozens of things to marketing or production about all the different things
he’s doing,” Parrott says. “Nobody is necessarily all on the same page because everybody
has little bits and pieces of information, whereas with the Acumatica CRM, anyone can see
for themselves the status of opportunities, orders and projects.”

The brewery manager will be able to see which distributors have been contacted, and how those sales are progressing, information they can use to plan an increase in production.
Restaurant managers can order larger quantities of certain ingredients if larger groups book a
facility. Conversely, sales managers can see if production floors are at capacity for the next few
months and appropriately adjust lead times and shipment dates for new customers.

“With the CRM, they’ll all be able to communicate in one spot and everybody will see the
information,” Parrott says.

Telesis, Inc. is leveraging Velixo, a third-party data analysis tool, to help provide deeper insight
into various operations, and is exploring additional third party applications, Eric says.

Additional Growth

Now that Acumatica is installed, Telesis, Inc. is building upon its initial deployment, fine tuning
configuration and its processes to make the companies more efficient.

In addition to rolling out the CRM to all operations, executives are growing the hydroponics
and urban farming company, which will utilize use some of the geothermal energy the
company produces. They are increasing the brewery’s distribution, and continuing to grow the
restaurants and Data Security, Inc.

“I think there’s a lot more we can do,” says Renee. “Now that Data Security, Inc. is
supporting data centers, we can’t keep up with our sales, which is a good problem to have.
With Acumatica, we’ve really been working on the MRP process and getting more efficient
with our inventory processes.”

Strengthening the Community
By embracing modern technology, Telesis, Inc. has paved the way for future growth, success,
fulfilling its mission of serving the Lincoln, Nebraska community through customer-driven
services, civic leadership, and environmental stewardship.

“We believe every business has a crucial role to play in environmental sustainability, whether
it’s a big initiative like installing a 5,400-square-foot rain garden, or a small detail like providing
biodegradable straws,” says Renee. “Every effort counts. To continue our mission, we now
have the critical data to help drive our decisions and efforts, which will allow us to grow and hit
our Net Zero goals.”

“We’re really excited about where Acumatica is taking us, and we are very happy with it,” she adds.

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