In 2015, Summit Imaging was encountering growing pains from increased demand from healthcare facilities seeking their high-quality products and services. They had been using manual processes to enter data into three disparate systems, and this solution was not providing the instant information that was needed to continue to serve their customers.
The company, which repairs ultrasound and mammography equipment, found that their old way of doing things was preventing growth. Everything was done by paper or with redundant data entry. Reporting was frequently completed a month after the transactions closed. Their three separate systems didn’t communicate with each other. They had no access to critical data from a mobile device. But perhaps most frustrating of all was the fact that as a repair company, they needed instant repair information to refine operations.
Like many firms in the same situation, Summit Imaging finally said “enough” and decided to modernize with Rootstock Cloud ERP on the Salesforce Platform.
Obstacles to Growth
Summit Imaging found themselves with three main obstacles that were hampering their growth:
- Three separate systems that didn’t talk to each other
- Inefficient, error-prone manual processes
- No real-time visibility into critical information, including sales, cost of sales, inventory and repairs
Three Separate Systems
As a company primarily concerned with repairing medical equipment, keeping track of all the replacement parts in inventory is a critical part of their operation. Yet Summit Imaging was still using an old Access database to manage their inventory. This included the parts of the machines such as connectors and computer components, and the transducers, the all-important part of an ultrasound machine that acquires the sound waves and transmits them to the computer in the ultrasound machine.
The second system previously used was Salesforce CRM, but they had configured it to record sales and transaction history within a Salesforce opportunity. They were not using Salesforce as intended but had figured out how to make it work for their company.
The third system they were using was QuickBooks for all of their financials.
According to Sonia Smith, Controller of Summit Imaging, “We had an Access database from 2006 that we were using to maintain our inventory and it was bogging down because of its speed, weak multiuser environment, and intensive need for custom applications to perform simple functions. We were using QuickBooks for our financial information, and anything we did had to be manually keyed in, and nothing transferred in and nothing transferred out.”
Worst of all, these three systems stood apart from each other, leaving Summit with three siloes of information that were becoming increasingly useless without the others as company needs changed. “Our company was growing, we had these three systems that did not talk to each other and trying to reconcile everything was very cumbersome,” said Smith.
They knew that they needed a single, integrated system.
It provides functionality we never had before, which is a dynamic, detailed look at inventory, cost of sales and sales. It gives us a real-time ability to dissect pretty much anything we want. It’s a big benefit.
– ALAN DISHLIP, CFO, SUMMIT IMAGING
Summit Imaging had become dependent on a series of manual processes to do everything, including entering financial information and recording the repairs.
“Everything was done by paper,” recalls Smith. “For all the repairs, techs had to write all their notes, we had to scan things to save them, they had to turn paper packets into us for accounting so that we could enter invoices, and we had to manually type the part numbers, descriptions and serial numbers and needed to be extra diligent to not make a mistake.”
These inefficient processes were holding the company back. They were spending far too much time entering all the information they needed to run their business, and with the company growing, all that manual entry was becoming a clumsy, disconnected burden.
Lack of Real-Time Visibility
Another significant problem was the lack of real-time visibility. For a company that repairs complex medical equipment, knowing how long repairs take to complete is a critical task. Yet Summit Imaging did not have this information at the level of detail needed to triage individual processes and make improvements.
They also couldn’t see what was in inventory in real time or the cost of sales. They couldn’t process same-day transactions, and invoices couldn’t be created quickly. Furthermore, reporting was always delayed.
“In the manual basis, it would take a week or two before we could get to the invoice because we had to collect all the paperwork for it,” says Smith. “Everything was always past tense, and we were always about a month behind on reporting anything with the old system.”
Summit understood that they needed to automate if they wanted to grow.
When we looked at some competitors of Rootstock that weren’t built on the Salesforce Platform, there was a lot of handholding, getting the APIs right, inefficiency.
– ALAN DISHLIP, CFO, SUMMIT IMAGING
The Selection Process
Because the company was already using Salesforce, they targeted only those vendors whose ERP software could integrate with the Salesforce Platform. Their exhaustive research led them to Rootstock.
Alan Dishlip, Summit Imaging’s CFO, described what made them select Rootstock. “We really had to have it seamlessly integrate with Salesforce, that was the ultimate objective, and find something that worked for us in that environment. When we looked at some competitors to Rootstock that weren’t built on the Salesforce Platform, there was a lot of handholding, getting the APIs right, inefficiency.”
“Alan and I did a fair amount of research on a variety of different companies,” added Sonia Smith, “and with Rootstock, because of the manufacturing side of it, there were a lot of things there that would be similar to what we do, even though we’re not producing parts. The manufacturing part is what drew us into Rootstock.”
In addition to the Salesforce requirement and the application of ERP manufacturing to their repair business, Summit Imaging also wanted to be able to access their data from anywhere. “We wanted to have access, whether it be desktop or mobile, wherever we are in the world. The cloud was important in that respect,” says Dishlip.
A Flexible Solution
Rootstock ultimately turned out to be the most flexible solution for Summit Imaging.
Not only does Rootstock Cloud ERP software integrate seamlessly with Salesforce, it is flexible enough to apply manufacturing functions to Summit’s repair operations. With FinancialForce to handle their accounting, the ability of Rootstock to integrate with that software on Salesforce added to the overall solution.
Customizing the Rootstock Configurator
Additional flexibility was built into Rootstock’s Configurator, which helps firms create accurate and immediate estimates for different product designs. After a challenging process of customization, Summit Imaging is now able to use the Configurator for all transducers.
Sonia Smith goes on to describe how they use the Configurator. “When we are talking about ultrasound equipment, we break it up between parts, which are all different components of the ultrasound machine, and transducers.”
Smith says when they repair parts, they can drill into those details fairly easily. Customizing the Configurator for the transducers turned out to be more complex.
“We built the Configurator so that when a transducer comes in, we break it down from head to tail and define all the things that could go wrong,” she describes. “So, when they hit a section, it populates all the different variables that could be affected; we check that and drill into the next section, and we continue until the end of that process.”
Not only does Rootstock Cloud ERP software integrate seamlessly with Salesforce, it is flexible enough to apply manufacturing functions to Summit’s repair operations.
Replacing Three Systems with One
Once the implementation of Rootstock Cloud ERP was completed, Summit Imaging said goodbye to the problem of three disparate systems. Gone was the old Access database. Gone was QuickBooks, replaced by FinancialForce. And they were finally using Salesforce the way it was intended.
“Salesforce is basically our home page. It’s where things start,” says Smith. “The RFQ is the opportunity, so everything starts there with our Sales team. They also use cases in Salesforce because those will later flow into a sales order. All our customers are set up in Salesforce with leads until they get converted, or we add them in and utilize them in Rootstock, whether it’s a vendor or customer.”
Eliminating Inefficient Manual Processes
Once Rootstock was implemented, Summit Imaging replaced all the inefficient manual processes with automation.
The first efficiencies the company achieved were in inventory and capacity planning. Summit uses the drag-and-drop scheduling and capacity planner to view their day-to-day work center capacity by labor for their different departments. Next was in project-based work; Summit assigns every customer a project number, so Rootstock allows them to track customers by project numbers.
All of the company’s sales orders and shipping orders are generated in Salesforce. All purchase masters for vendors and customers also start in Salesforce and flow through Rootstock, including products for purchasing requests and payables in FinancialForce. “We have all of our products set up in Rootstock for purchase requests and purchase order approvals; we do the whole PO-AP match and our payables all go in there,” says Sonia Smith.
One of the biggest areas of improvement was in tracking repairs, which had been a cumbersome, manual process before. Smith is pleased with the new efficiency. “We utilize the work orders on the shop floor, where the technicians now make their notes, and then we can see those notes, we know who worked on it, we upload photos to that, so all of our documentation when we repair an item is attached to the work order,” describes Smith. “We only have to go to one spot, we can find pictures when it got finished, what it looks like. We’ve got our notes of what repairs we did, so if it comes back, we know where to go to look for it.”
Now we are real-time, we know what our sales are for that day, we know what our gross profit is for that day and we generate reports, so everybody knows where we stand.
– SONIA SMITH, CONTROLLER, SUMMIT IMAGING
Summit also enjoys automation on the engineering side. Sonia Smith is responsible for maintaining all of the part numbers for the company. “I maintain all of the part numbers because of its complexity, depending on whether it’s a part or a transducer and how it needs to be coded for the Configurator. I use the engineering master, the item master, the Rootstock master, because I’m in there all the time.”
Taking advantage of the seamless Rootstock integration on Salesforce, the company now enjoys same-day transactions. “Utilizing Rootstock with sales orders, we are able to do same-day transactions,” says Smith. “If that sales order gets shipped out that day, we’re invoicing that same day. Before, in the manual basis, it would take a week or two before we could get to the invoice because we had to collect all the paperwork for it. But now we are real-time, we know what our sales are for that day, we know what our gross profit is for that day and we generate reports, so everybody knows where we stand.”
Gaining Real-Time Visibility
Prior to implementing their Rootstock Cloud ERP solution, Summit Imaging had limited visibility across their entire company. Now they have visibility into everything, which not only provides company-wide insights, but also allows employees to see how the company is doing.
“We are now able to know in real time where we are with our work orders, how many are sitting in outstanding, how long certain parts take to repair because of the reports we can build off of the Rootstock items,” says Smith. “We never had that visibility before, it was always a guess or by golly.”
They also have visibility into their inventory, a critical part of their repair operations. “We know what’s on hand in our inventory at all times, where it is, is it sitting waiting to be worked on or if it’s in a cage to be sold. All of that is all real time,” describes Smith.
Adds Alan Dishlip, “It does provide functionality we never had before, which is a real-time look at inventory, cost of sales and sales. It gives us a real-time ability to dissect pretty much anything we want. It’s a big benefit.”
An Unexpected Benefit: The Time Factor
One unexpected benefit was what Sonia Smith describes as the time factor; they now know how long it takes to complete repairs and have been able to do things faster. “Everything was always past tense, and we were always about a month behind on reporting anything with the old system. I think the biggest unexpected benefit is that we’re able to do things much quicker than we used to.”
The story of Summit Imaging and Rootstock has a happy ending. Summit Imaging was able to remove their obstacles to growth by implementing Rootstock Cloud ERP on the Salesforce Platform.
They replaced three disparate systems with a single, integrated system. They replaced cumbersome, manual, paper-based processes with automated processes that flow through the system from Salesforce to Rootstock to their accounting solution. Finally, they gained 360-degree visibility into their organization, whereas before they had very little.
The implementation process was not without its challenges. The Configurator customization in particular was difficult and time-consuming, but in the end, Summit Imaging and Rootstock support collaborated to make it all come together.
Says Smith, “It’s going tremendously smooth right now. What we’ve got going works for what we’re doing. I’ve got good people that I can communicate with and the system is working smoothly.” On a personal level, Smith admitted to expanding her own knowledge.
“I can say that I’ve learned how to be a system admin and how to figure things out. If we get an error message, I know how to understand it and how to fix it. If I don’t, I submit a tech support case. The good news is my tech support cases have dwindled considerably.”
Summit Imaging is now poised to take the next step, the growth of their business, thanks to Rootstock and Salesforce.
About Summit Imaging
Summit Imaging (Woodinville, WA) is a technology-focused ultrasound medical equipment support company. It offers end-to-end customer support, including hands-on training courses, fast repairs, high quality parts replacement, free 24/7 technical support, the longest warranty on parts and services in the industry and the ability to diagnose most problems over the phone in under 7 minutes. Summit Imaging constantly strives to improve the customer experience and because of their outstanding reputation, has grown by over 60% year over year to become the very best in their industry. The company recently received ISO 13485:2003 and ISO 9001:2008 certifications from The National Standards Authority of Ireland (NSAI) for its repair and support services of ultrasound medical equipment.
To learn more about the Summit Imaging, please visit mysummitimaging.com.