By: VitalEdge

September 9, 2019

Benefits of Material Handling Dealer Software (Case Study)

Customer Success Story: Alta Equipment Company

For nearly 35 years, Alta Equipment Company has made significant impacts on the material handling, construction, industrial, and rental equipment industries. Now 24 locations, Alta Equipment based out of Livonia, MI has been serving the Midwest region of the U.S and has grown rapidly from their beginnings as a single location forklift dealership. Alta’s success has been recognized throughout the industry with many accolades and awards including Yale’s 2018 Dealer of Excellence, Equipment World’s 2018 Big Iron Dealer of the Year, Avant’s 2017 Dealer of the Year, Detroit Free Press 2018 Top Places to Work, and Crain’s Detroit Business Fast 50 for 5 years straight.

Known for their commitment to excellent customer service, Alta Equipment’s business has flourished exponentially in the past 10 years. Due to Alta’s rapid growth, they were presented with different challenges as they quickly outgrew their former dealer business system. In order to run their business efficiently and meet their customers’ needs, Alta needed a modern, industry-specific solution for their material handling, construction, industrial, and rental dealership.

“As we expanded into new markets and new product categories, we felt that our business system really wasn’t serving us, and we needed to look for a new vendor,” said Ryan Greenawalt, President of Alta Equipment Company. Understanding that their older, outdated material handling system could no longer support their operations, Alta Equipment Company began the process of gathering information on possible vendors through dealer recommendations, research, and conferences.

“We really feel like they’re a long term partner to the company”


Alta Equipment’s Material Handling Needs

Equipment dealers in the industry today realize that investments in technology are required to leverage the mountains of data that come in to their business, and ultimately turn this data in to a competitive advantage. Whether this is information on customers, locations, finances, equipment or fleet, the solution must have robust reporting and analytic capabilities to make the most of data at every level of operations. Alta Equipment found that the reporting capabilities of their former system were severely hindering their ability to analyze their business, especially as they continued to grow. Greenawalt shared, “One of the things that was really important when choosing a vendor was that it be scalable, that we not find ourselves outgrowing it again in 10 more years.”

Alta Equipment has plans for continued growth, and the capabilities and features of a new solution had to be state-of-the-art and scalable to handle the addition of new locations, equipment, personnel, and more. When evaluating a suitable partner, it was clear that Alta Equipment needed the following from their next business system:

  1. Data & Document Management – Advanced, digital management of all data and documents holding to create a single source of truth. Data fully integrated with the software providing complete management with quick and easy access.

“Time spent doing paperwork is a huge improvement with the e-Emphasys system. Our Rental department has gone paperless. We are done with manila file folders and printing things off through the computer systems. We upload everything, everybody has access to it. We use the PDF system, it’s amazing in the amount of time that saves us.”

Lori Brandon, Senior Rental Manager at Alta Equipment Company

  1. Full Suite of Products – Complete solution with new capabilities, cutting-edge technologies, innovative mobile applications, and more.

“We were looking for a vendor that had a broad product offering. We knew after implementing the initial ERP we needed to look at tools like a CRM, a Customer Portal, service scheduling, mobile field service solutions… The product offering that e-Emphasys was offering was impressive to me.”

– Jeremy Cionca

  1. Equipment Dealer Industry Knowledge – All the ins-and-outs and know-how of the equipment distribution and rental industry. Years of R&D alongside industry leaders, over 350 integrated best business practices, and exclusive focus on the industry.

“One of the most critical components of our selection process was finding a vendor that understood our business or had a willingness to understand our business, and that’s what impressed our team the most about e-Emphasys… They clearly understand our business, and they’re clearly willing to learn and improve the product to support our business.”

– Jeremy Cionca

Alta Equipment Chooses e-Emphasys For Their Dealership

From a list of 14-16 potential vendors, Alta Equipment began evaluating all major solutions in the market. Regarding the evaluation process, Cionca explained, “We’d expanded our evaluation group at that time to, I think, 34 business experts within Alta to participate… We had about a four-hour webinar with five or six vendors taking a deeper dive into their product offering, documenting the findings, make sure which ones checked off which boxes, and narrowed it down to our top two. e-Emphasys being one of those top two.” After a thorough review, Alta Equipment chose e-Emphasys Technologies for their dealership.

Beyond technology, the aligning values and goals of e-Emphasys Technologies proved to be the best fit for Alta Equipment Company. e-Emphasys is exclusively focused on the equipment distribution and rental industry. They have over 200 employees in Research & Development dedicated to providing continuous advancements and benefits for their customers.

“We chose e-Emphasys because they had a strong system for the rental end of the business and the construction machinery business, and they’ve worked closely with us to customize some elements of it to really serve the lift truck side as well. Today we feel like it’s the absolute best product to serve both end markets as a dealership.”

– Ryan Greenawalt

Complete Visibility & Unmatched Transparency

With a modern dealer business system, Alta Equipment gained real-time access to data and analytics of their material handling equipment. Reflecting on the benefits of e-Emphasys ERP, Greenawalt expressed, “The transparency of the system and it being a robust, real database is helping with our business intelligence and our reporting. It’s light years ahead of where we came from… The access to information and the transparency of the data is paramount, and so the biggest benefit I see in e-Emphasys, from my personal use of it, is in the reporting suite.”

Real-time access at the fingertips of all staff members has transformed the way information is reported, tracked, and communicated throughout the organization. According to Greenawalt, “One of the big areas of improvement has been tracking our KPIs, especially our utilization of rental fleet. The transparency of that data is far superior to what we had in the past.” This has enabled Alta Equipment to make the correct adjustments when it comes to the products they offer, as key metrics like finance and time utilization empower data-driven decision making throughout the company.

In addition, real-time updates of the material handling system have drastically improved turn-aroud time and the efficiency of the rental department. “There’s no longer a delay in seeing if a truck is on rent, going on rent, in service, or returned. It updates instantly, which again allows us to quickly turn our fleet around and use it for the next customer” explained Brandon. “For inventory purposes, e-Emphasys is beneficial. It allows us to see the equipment where it is at that given time point, allowing us to do inventory quickly. If it moves then it’s updated as it goes, it’s real-time.”

“e-Emphasys has given us unmatched transparency into our business, whether it’s financial utilization on the rental fleet, aged WHIP, inventory turnover, it’s real-time data that we have access to. That’s been one of the major efficiencies and value adds that we’ve seen from the system”

– Tony Colucci

Improved Operational Efficiency

With new applications and features of the e-Emphasys ERP Digital Platform, Alta Equipment saw a huge boost in productivity by saving time and cutting costs in multiple different areas of their operations. When discussing increases of efficiency within the organization, Greenawalt reported that “One of the efficiencies with e-Emphasys has been our time to close our financial reporting period. So at month-end, closing the year-end processes have gone much more smoothly than they have in the past… One of the KPIs that we’ve historically tracked is how long it takes for us to get from the completion of a work order to actually invoicing the work order. We’ve been able to cut that in half in the time we’ve been on e-Emphasys”.

Furthermore, Alta Equipment has been able to provide better service to their customers with the e-Emphasys ERP platform. According to Brandon, “Customers seem to appreciate the system change. There’s less wait for them. If they call and they have a question, a lot of times they want to know what they rented before. We can pull that up in history very quickly. They want to know while they’re talking to us if they have any outstanding bills. Rental coordinators don’t do a whole lot of AR but they can tell the customer what is outstanding and what has been paid. Less wait, we don’t have to put somebody on hold and do call-backs. We can answer 99% of their questions at any given time.”

Seamless Material Handling Processes

When Alta Equipment initially began the software evaluation process, they desired to streamline all the processes of a material handling equipment dealership. To serve customers quickly and efficiently, Alta understood the software needed to play a significant part. After deploying e-Emphasys ERP, Brandon provides insight into how Alta has improved their customer experience. “If a customer calls and says I’m ready to order this truck, any of my coordinators can pull it up, they can finish the deal, and then everybody can see the contracts and paperwork as it processes through the system. It’s much more seamless, less customer disruption… It’s less downtime for the customer and easier access for everybody. It just saves a tremendous amount of time.”

Going Paperless & Document Management

Since adopting e-Emphasys ERP, Alta Equipment Company has taken a digital document management approach, going paperless with most reports, files, bills, and more. Referring to the fully-integrated Document Management software, Brandon explains, “If a customer calls and needs a proof of delivery, that proof of delivery is now connected to the parts order, so it’s at our people’s fingertips. They can provide that information within seconds, where without the document management system that comes with e-Emphasys, they would have to get up and go find the document, probably call the back and lose valuable time out of their day, and also not be able to provide the value to the customer to give them that immediate answer.” 

Leveraging Technology For The Future

Alta Equipment Company is prepared for the future with the fully scalable ERP solution, as they continue to grow and add locations. “The e-Emphasys Platform, for a company of our size and our growth has been really scalable. We add locations quickly and seamlessly. We share a customer database throughout all of our locations, which helps with the continuity of our business,” said Colucci “Everyone has a purpose within our organization, and everyone needs to know how they’re contributing to the big picture, and where those opportunities lie to improve.”

The growth of Alta Equipment has brought in new staff members and promises to bring a new generation of employees in the future. Brandon revealed that “The younger generation coming into the workforce seems to appreciate e-Emphasys. It is straightforward, it is intuitive. You follow the prompts and the clicks, and they seem to catch on fairly quick. It is much appreciated in that manner.”

The countless years of industry knowledge integrated into the e-Emphasys ERP software satisfied the needs of Alta Equipment Company. Describing the partnership with e-Emphasys Technologies, Greenawalt expressed, “e-Emphasys has been great to work with. Going through a system implementation for a large company is always painful, but they’ve really made it as easy as possible, and we really feel like they’re a long term partner to the company.”