This past fall, Exact, the business software partner for small business manufacturers and wholesale distributors, officially launched new software that helps small manufacturers and wholesale distributors in the U.S. operate more efficiently and profitably. Available through a monthly online subscription, this software streamlines tasks such as production and inventory management, logistics and CRM. The newly available Exact Online software integrates seamlessly with QuickBooks Online and QuickBooks Desktop, bridging the gap between common manufacturing and wholesale distribution tasks and traditional accounting functions. The software replaces disparate systems and manual processes, giving business owners a 360-degree view of their businesses while enabling accountants to become even more trusted advisors to their clients.
MBT sat down with Steve Leavitt, GM of U.S. Cloud Solutions at Exact, to discuss the unique technology needs of small and medium businesses (SMBs).
MBT: Many software companies focus on primarily on large companies. Why focus on small businesses?
SL: For us, it’s really in our core DNA. The company was founded, about thirty years ago, by entrepreneurs. Since the inception, we’ve always focused on and invested in the entrepreneurial type space. We’re putting almost all of our investment specifically into SMB. SMB, for us, is classified by number of employees and, out of the gate, we’re really focused on the 2 to 20 person shop or wholesale distributor — and that’s going to be our sole focus.
MBT: Can you talk about a few of the features that you believe provide the strongest business case for investing in this type of a solution?
SL: One of the things that we are really proud of that we bring it bear is that we provide small companies the ability to miss nothing. We just returned from a trade show, and as people were walking by the booth we were asking one simple question: What visibility do you have into your business while you’re here at the show? I would say 90 to 95 percent of the people who were asked that question said ‘Zero.’ So, what if you did have access to it? What would you be able to do if you could access it? That’s what we give them the ability to do — truly visualize their business anytime, anywhere, and from any device. That’s the value of the cloud. You are be able to make informed decisions based on real time data, and can work with your advisors and make very strong decisions. From what we’re hearing, it’s something that’s lacking in the market today, unless they make the jump to an on-premise, large scale ERP type system.
MBT: When you were chatting with these manufacturers and distributors at the trade show, what were the product features they found to be the most buzzworthy?
SL: I think it was more the aggregation of features that we’re bringing to bear. Our product is very tightly aligned with QuickBooks, and a lot of people we talk to are now using a manual process like a spreadsheet or white board. Or, they have several different disparate systems. So what they liked about us is the ability to help them buy materials, track the status of the build process, and — now with integrated CRM – have the ability to track the sale. It’s more of a lifecycle approach, allowing them to get rid of the multiple subscriptions that they have. One of the things that was really getting traction was their ability to say, ‘What do I have sitting on a shelf today (inventory)? Who has traditionally bought this product, when, and at what price point?’ They can now campaign through CRM to move that stuff off the shelf where it’s a cost center, turn it into a profit center, and now start the process of replenishment. It’s really giving them some level of analytics around their business to do things differently, increase revenue, and drive cost out.