Success Story: Price Modern
DDMS Office Furniture Edition Plays a Key Role in Maintaining Market Leadership Position
If there’s one thing Tracy Michel knows about the dealership where she works, it’s that a strong technology backbone is critical to its long-term success.
As controller at Baltimore-based Price Modern, Michel plays a key role on the management team of the largest Haworth dealership in the world.
It’s a business that’s some 135-hard-working, industry-professionals strong, with annual sales of around $180 million. Its physical facilities include 80,000 sq. ft. of warehouse space and 73,000 sq. ft. of office and showroom space, spread out across two locations in Baltimore and Washington, D.C.
Technology is necessary to get to the top and stay there
Price Modern is an impressive organization by any measure. But Michel is very much aware of the demands involved in getting to number one and staying there.
She knows that if Price Modern is to maintain its current market leadership, it requires a commitment to continuous improvement on the technology front and technology partners who are equally committed to listening to their customers and responding to their changing needs.
For Michel and the rest of the Price Modern team, the good news is that their prime technology partner is ECi Software Solutions and, she says, listening to customer needs is one of the things they do very well.
“ECi as a company doesn’t separate itself from its users,” she says. “They’ve been a great partner for us and they make themselves very accessible.”
Price Modern has been a DDMS house since 2007. They made the switch largely because their previous technology partner was either unwilling or unable to deliver the kind of system improvements Michel and her team felt the dealership needed to stay competitive.
“The biggest challenge any dealer faces on the technology front is just being able to stay ahead of the curve. DDMS plays a key role in helping us do that. We push and they respond,” she says with a smile.
A furniture dealership needs a flexible system
“Our DDMS system today runs really fast,” she reports happily. “The changes they have made in data search and retrieval logic have increased overall processing speed significantly and generated some equally significant productivity gains for us as a dealership.”
Michel also gives special kudos to the system’s strengths in order entry, project management and services management, key areas for any contract furniture dealership.
“Running an office furniture dealership is a complex undertaking and you need a system that comes with plenty of flexibility,” she maintains. “DDMS does a good job of handling complexity and helping to keep us profitable.”
Central to that effort is the system’s powerful reporting capabilities.
“The system comes with some very nice reporting functions and ECi has been extremely responsive to our custom report requests,” she says. “There’s a set of reports we run on a regular basis in areas such as order entry, job profitability and expense control that give us the information we need to keep our dealership moving in the right direction.”
DDMS will help Price Modern expand into a non-traditional space
For Michel and the rest of the Price Modern team, an increasingly important part of that direction focuses on the healthcare market.
“We have always been strong in the traditional office areas of healthcare, but there are untapped opportunities in the off-the-carpet space such as nurses’ stations, examination and operating rooms and other technical areas that we’re very excited about,” she explains.
Also on the agenda: developing a suitable response to changes in the government market, a key segment that currently accounts for about half of the dealership’s overall volume.
Unfortunately, it’s not all good news in that area, with Michel and her team facing the prospect of cuts in government spending and possible consolidation among government customers.
Regardless of what the future might bring however, one thing is certain: As Price Modern moves forward to exploit new growth opportunities and respond to potential business threats, the dealership will do so with support of a strong, forward-looking technology partner.
“We may not always get everything we want, and sometimes the system just isn’t capable of giving us exactly what we’re looking for,” she says. “But we’ve asked for a lot in recent years and the response from DDMS overall has been great!”