DPS Skis

As Sales Gather Momentum, DPS Skis Shifts from QuickBooks to IQMS ERP

Learn how DPS worked out the bumps in their system and now plans for expansion with made to order solution

Case Study Print Version
The Company
DPS is a trusted brand of serious skiers worldwide. They are sold and shipped worldwide via dpsskis.com, and on five continents in the world’s best ski shops. DPS introduced the world’s first and only Pure prepreg carbon fiber sandwich ski. The fusion of space-age carbon technology and groundbreaking shaping has resulted in the world’s most advanced quiver of skis.
Return on Investment
  • Saves up to 5 hours a day on accounting
  • Data is easier to access and all in the same place
  • Smoother, faster inventory system
  • Gained ability to reserve inventory in advance

Brief Summary

Located at the base of the Wasatch Mountains in Salt Lake City, Utah, DPS Skis (DPS) designs and manufactures the world’s most advanced skis.  DPS skis are sold and shipped worldwide via dpsskis.com, and on five continents in the world’s best ski shops. To support that growth, the company has had to evolve; one significant change has been the software it uses to run its business. DPS realized that "QuickBooks was good for a while.” As the company grew, it soon became apparent that QuickBooks was challenged and holding them back.

The Need

Rapid expansion and growing accounting problems in a tricky industry led to a final tipping point

Like many small businesses, DPS began running on Intuit’s QuickBooks accounting software, but found as it grew it needed a more robust solution. “We’ve been around for about 11 years; but over the past six years we’ve had really rapid growth,” notes Jaime Hirsh, Sales Operations Manager at DPS. “When we started we didn’t have an accounting department, we had a bookkeeper. So when we needed an accounting system, QuickBooks was our default.”

DPS has what Hirsh calls “a tricky business model” for several reasons: one, the business’ high seasonality; two, the fact that it manufactures a very expensive product whose cost limits volume. So the margin for error is thin.

“QuickBooks was good for a while,” says Hirsh. “In the beginning, we kept all our skis in one location; we took orders, manufactured at an outside location, and shipped the product. Then as we grew, we set up our own factory in Salt Lake City; it soon became apparent that QuickBooks was challenged.”

The manufacturing facility was running reasonable well, but there were continuing challenges with managing inventory and order entry. “Coordinating and integrating sales order entry with QuickBooks was always very difficult for us. It really didn’t suit our purposes, and the more we progressed, the more we realized that QuickBooks was holding us back.”

The tipping point came when the company began working with an app called Sellpad. Originally designed to work with Microsoft Dynamics, it was also available in a version that worked with QuickBooks. “It was a unique program, and we were very happy in the initial stages; so we signed up and implemented it,” explains Hirsh. “But the implementation really lagged behind schedule. We were about six month into the process and 80 percent done with the implementation when they announced they were pulling the product, right at the beginning of our busy season. We could use it, but there would be no tech support and they weren’t going to improve the product. So that pushed us into looking for a new system.”

DPS began evaluating ERP vendors, and Hirsh came up with a use-case test: she created three word problems that represented inventory management “disasters” the company had to deal with before. “I presented these scenarios and asked the companies being evaluated to show me how they would have been avoided had we been running their system,” she says. “They all failed except for IQMS.”

The Solution

DPS takes big leap forward transitioning from QuickBooks to IQMS ERP

DPS leverages a feature in IQMS called “allocate and make to order” at the order entry level. “Our production, while we do build all year round, isn’t linear. We build up a lot in the slow season. Sales can reserve that inventory based on location, and it’s immediately taken out of inventory. IQMS lets our sales personnel see real-time inventory in the system and commit with confidence—there’s no longer a need to check with offices or locations to verify inventory. The process is smoother, faster, and less error prone. Customer satisfaction is not put at risk by bad or incomplete information.”

The Results

Excitement and plans for expansion after gaining control over accounting and inventory

DPS implemented IQMS in the slow time before its seasonal peak about a year ago. “For the first time, all our data is in the same place,” reports Hirsh. “The inventory problems that we based our test cases on have been solved. That’s huge for us. We had a big sales event in the summer, and after implementing IQMS we didn’t fall into any of the usual traps. Things ran so smoothly that it was super exciting for us.”

With IQMS, there is no need to integrate between order entry and other enterprise systems. Everything is handled in the same software package. “Now we have accurate, real-time inventory,” says Hirsh. “Before there was always integration in process between one system processing orders and QuickBooks, which was so complicated. We also had to run other outside programs manually, on a daily basis. It could take anywhere from 10 minutes to five hours at the end of day. Now this consolidation is unnecessary, as all the information is at hand in IQMS. It’s really smoothed out our order entry and fulfillment.”

This advance has been particularly well received by the sales staff that no longer has to search and verify inventory from disparate sources. “When our sales staff are in IQMS, they can see exactly what we have available to sell. Whereas in QuickBooks, we had to consolidate and manually update data so there were always issues with latency of information. A lot of decisions were made based on intuition—and that’s not always the best practice.”

Scratching the Surface—and Beyond

According to Hirsh, DPS is only beginning to tap what it hopes to do with IQMS. “There are two big things on the horizon for us,” she says. “One is reporting; the other is bar code scanning.” DPS hopes to do more internal reporting that will be much more cost effective for custom reports. The company still needs to develop the internal expertise for this step, and that know-how is a priority. “We also want to add bar code scanning, which is another important step,” says Hirsh. “Next spring, when our slow period comes, we will move aggressively towards implementing that capability.”

She sums up the first year on IQMS as a very positive experience, and one she’s looking forward to expand. “We love it,” she concludes. “We’re still learning, but we know we made the right choice.”