Airparts, Inc. is a family-owned business and has been providing parts and supplies to non-commercial aircraft hobbyists since 1967. From their location in Kansas City, KS, they provide the very finest in aviation products including aluminum sheet, coil, steel tubing and other aircraft construction supplies to thousands of aviation enthusiasts worldwide. According to Chris Whitney, Vice President of Airparts, “For nearly 40 years, we’ve been providing the raw material that hobbyists need to build their own small aircraft.”

Old System Hits Some Turbulence
As the family business transitioned to a new generation, the need for new technology became apparent as inefficient manual data entry and reliance on a loose collection of spreadsheets made it difficult to track inventory and satisfy customer demand. Chris recalls, “Our old system was difficult to use and the reports were completely unreliable. We had no idea how many units were sold, how much we had in inventory, and simply weren’t running our business efficiently.”

Airparts had been running an old DOS version of Sage Accpac VisionPoint for many years. However as time went by and the business changed, they realized that VisionPoint was no longer functioning as a useful business tool. According to Chris, “We spent countless hours manually tracking inventory in spreadsheets outside of the system and our books were really out of whack. We had to pay an outside bookkeeper every month just to get the GL in balance and piece together financial statements. For the most part, we were running the business on instinct and not reliable data.”
To make matters worse, Airparts discovered that support for the VisionPoint product line was being discontinued which meant that a resolution was needed quickly. However, a solution to their problems was just over the horizon!

Smart e-Solutions Provides a Tailwind and Business Soars
To help tackle this challenge, Chris turned straight to Karen Smart of Smart e-Solutions – a business software provider based in Lawrence, KS. After a lengthy discussion and evaluation of Airparts needs, Karen recommended a migration from the old DOS-based VisionPoint accounting program to the more efficient and fully-integrated Sage Pro ERP. According to Chris, “Through our conversation with Karen, we discovered that Sage Software offered a very nice migration path from VisionPoint to Sage Pro ERP … and the migration discount didn’t hurt either!”

Smart e-Solutions piloted the migration leveraging software expertise, business experience, training and support to ensure a smooth transition for Airparts. According to Karen Smart, “We invest invaluable time in understanding the needs of each of our clients to ensure that our solutions fit their business and they get the most out of their software investment.” The result was a software system that molds to the way that Airparts does business while introducing new avenues for efficiency that were unavailable in the old system. Chris comments, “We can’t speak highly enough of how professional, warm and friendly the Smart e-Solutions team is and I couldn’t have asked for a smoother transition.” In fact, Smart e-Solutions installed the new system over a weekend so that Airparts could continue serving it’s customers without interruption. Chris adds, “Smart e-Solutions recognized that as a small business, we couldn’t afford to have our system down during business hours. They really went the extra mile and we never missed a beat.”

Coming in for a Smooth Landing
Chris excitedly states, “Our new system is fantastic. Over the next few years, we are going to become a totally different company and I’m excited about it.” She adds, “Sage Pro has saved us so much time and we’ve eliminated duplicate data entry! I used to type quotes out manually in an email then later re-enter that same data on an order. Now I’m able to efficiently provide formalized quotes from the system and easily transfer that data to a new sales order. This process alone is 60% faster!”

Better reporting tools with Sage Pro ERP means better budgeting, better planning and no more guess work! Chris says, “I can now look at historical inventory and financial data, evaluate sales for a specific period of time, make adjustments directly in the system, and make better decisions about which products sell, which ones don’t, and which are most profitable.”

With a background in accounting, Karen Smart was able to go beyond just a new system implementation to provide Ariparts personnel with detailed General Ledger training and accounting guidance. Chris states, “Combining our new reporting tools with the accounting training, Smart e-Solutions has enabled us to become completely self-sufficient and no longer rely on an outside bookkeeper … and of course they’re always available for ongoing support and quick to respond when we need help.”

Navigating the Horizon
Chris closes in saying, “For a small business, a transition like this can be overwhelming. But thanks to the support of Smart e-Solutions, it has been a smooth landing for us. They really care about our business and we aren’t just another software sale. In fact, Karen and I are actually becoming very good friends and I look forward to a fantastic relationship both personally and professionally for many years to come.”

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