A1 Moving and Storage: To Jupiter and Beyond with TRAVERSE
Based in Jupiter, Florida, a coastal town near West Palm Beach, FL, A1 Moving and Storage is gearing up for a busy season when most people like to take their vacations. “Summer is our busy time, that’s for sure,” says Tom Klause, President of A1 Moving and Storage. Founded in 1972, this is A1’s 40th summer of helping people and companies relocate all over the United States, and even internationally. ‘We provide local and long-distance moving services, packing, and storage,” says Klause. “We have a freight business, international moving... we move anything from anywhere to anywhere else, just about.” A1 Moving and Storage carries the distinction of being a top quality agent for Atlas Van Lines.
Like any successful business owner, Klause understands his market. “75% of our business is household good-related, local or long-distance house moves, and 25% commercial office moves.” A1 is also unafraid to tackle niches that scare off more timid contractors. “We do an extensive amount of business in the laboratory and biotech arena,” says Klause, “moving laboratories and then the associated doctors and professors. It scares a lot of people away, but we speak the laboratories’ language, and that’s one thing that impresses these companies about us. We do understand what they do.”
In keeping his company productive as possible, Klause makes sure that his business software systems are as efficient as they can be. His journey to update his software a few years ago led him back to an Open Systems product, as well as a new business opportunity with a familiar partner.
A history with Open Systems Software... and a future
A1 Moving and Storage was a long-time user of OPEN SYSTEMS Accounting Software (OSAS) that was installed and managed through Lillian Aaron of Business Accounting Software, Inc. When the moving company decided to change financial software to take advantage of industry-specific solutions, they found a few headaches along with the improvements.
“We went through two or three vendors over 10 years or so,” says Klause of the process. “Every four or five years you could count on that software company being sold to somebody else, and then of course they want you to buy their product, spend a lot of money upgrading into their product, and be there for a number of years until the same thing happens again.”
Stepping off of that merry-go-round, Klause reconnected with Lillian Aaron, who suggested the TRAVERSE solution from Open Systems, Inc. Both Aaron’s consultancy and Open Systems are established and long-standing, removing the threat of another fly-by-night software problem. And though TRAVERSE isn’t a tailor-made solution for the shipping industry, Aaron and Klause have co-created an add-on that imports the critical data provided by Atlas Van Lines into the TRAVERSE financial system. “It’s always great to re-connect with a client,” says Aaron. “We showed them a solution which already filled most of their needs, and we have the flexibility and experience to take them the rest of the way.”
“Thus began the customization part on Lillian’s side to come up with the language and the programs that would speak to Atlas Van Lines,” says Klause, “and on the financial end be able to go back and forth with them to get us everything that we need from Atlas and have it parlayed into our TRAVERSE system.
Accounting for change
Of course, independent of the import capabilities, TRAVERSE needed to satisfy all of A1’s accounting needs. “On the non-customization side,” says Klause, “everything works very well.” TRAVERSE’s integrated accounting means that all applications work together and share information seamlessly. “On the payables side, on General Ledger, in Bank Reconciliation, it all works very well, and we’ve got a good picture,” says Klause.
Having a well-established software system also means that A1’s processes have room to change, grow, and improve. “We still have a lot to learn,” says Klause. “TRAVERSE has got a ton of bells and whistles that we haven’t even gotten to yet.”
Customizations bring in critical outside data
Atlas Van Lines has a well-established billing and payment system, one that A1 Moving and Storage needed TRAVERSE to tap into to complete the financial side of their business solution. The Atlas Van Lines interface tells A1 the expected revenue that they should receive. “In TRAVERSE, we’ve got an import button that will bring that detail with the corresponding description item into TRAVERSE Sales Order,” says Klause of the customization delivered by Lillian and her team. This seamless import capability not only speeds up the process of accounting, but reduces the chance of error. “The beauty of that is that I don’t have to sit here and enter it one line at a time and still not be accurate on the price."
When Klause is confident the numbers are correct, the system parses the financial data to where it needs to go. “From that point I’ve got it set up in commissions to automatically pay my sales person and pay my driver,” says Klause. “That part of it works very well.”
Providing help to other Atlas Van Lines agents
“I’m a non-tech person, I’m a non-software person,” says Klause. Nonetheless, in working side by side with Business Accounting Software testing and improving the new TRAVERSE customization, he realized that the solution would help other Atlas Van Lines agents looking for a comprehensive business software solution. He will be working with Lillian Aaron in the future in helping to promote the add-on. “Our hope is that we can start putting this out to other Atlas agents to say ‘here’s a very cost-effective alternative that will handle what you need to have done on a daily basis,’” says Klause. “I’m very positive that it’s going to be a successful venture.”