Flooring it: Crew2 chooses Open Systems Solution Consulting to accelerate growth
Imagine laying down a one yard wide roll of carpet from Minneapolis to Orlando, a distance of over 1,300 miles. That’s the volume of carpet installed by Crew2, a Minneapolis-based home services provider, in 2014 alone.
Crew2 was founded in the Minneapolis/St. Paul area in 1986 by cousins Doug and Perry Firkus as a provider of flooring installation services. Building upon a successful flooring installation business, Crew2 steadily grew to offer an array of home-related installation services including countertops, kitchen remodels, window treatments, doors, water heaters, bathrooms, and fixture installation.
In 1995, Crew2 welcomed a new partnership with The Home Depot, installing flooring in the Minneapolis/St. Paul area. Crew2’s focus on quality installations and unmatched customer service led to an expanded partnership. Unique to The Home Depot because they offer so many installation programs, they are also one of the Top 10 providers for The Home Depot based on revenue. Crew2 now serves clients through nearly 300 The Home Depot stores across 17 states.
Managing growth, leveraging expertise
In 2003 Crew2 expanded its headquarters to a 54,000 square foot facility. The company also welcomed new members to its leadership team. The combination of business expertise and family dedication has helped Crew2 continue to grow through the years.
With their growth, Crew2 recognized a need to consolidate resources and business processes and began to look for a partner who could help. The team at Crew2 needed to partner with a company that understood how their industry works and the nuances of their processes. They looked at several systems but felt that they would be forced to work within a set model required by the way the software works—not the way Crew2 needed to run their unique business. After much consideration, Crew2 selected the Solution Consulting Services of Open Systems, Inc. Together, these two Minnesota-based companies began working on a plan to standardize business practices throughout all of Crew2.
“What stood out about Open Systems was their determination to get it right,” said Ben Firkus, Vice-President Systems/Operations for Crew2. “They asked probing questions that made us think in deeper layers and think of exceptions. The amount of time they invested showed that they really cared and were truly invested in innovating how our company operates.”
When they reviewed the Solution Consulting report from Open Systems, Inc., Crew2 could tell that they would be working with a company that knew their industry and how they needed to interface with The Home Depot, and The Home Depot’s customers.
“Seeing the processes documented helped clarify where our processes are today, opportunities for the future, and also solidified how well Open Systems consultants Mike Kohler, Maggi Moetell, Chad Stockman, Bryan Balma, and the rest of the Open Systems team understood Crew2,” said Firkus.
Satisfaction across the board
In addition to the processes that needed streamlining, Crew2 also needed to replace software they had used for 25 years. Crew2 evaluated the return on investment Open Systems’ TRAVERSE software could provide them, and were pleased with the satisfaction it would provide on all levels.
“Our current system is information overload, and TRAVERSE will streamline and present the pertinent information needed for the role each employee plays in our process,” said Firkus. “There will be increased electronic interaction with installers through leveraging customized mobile device applications. This will make it more efficient for our installers to submit accurate invoices, and improve the customer’s experience in the home as well.”
The biggest reason Crew2 decided to implement TRAVERSE is it will allow them to interact electronically with The Home Depot systems. By creating a new EDI with TRAVERSE, they will be cutting their time in half and avoiding redundant data entry.
“This implementation is an extension of our long standing partnership with The Home Depot as a technology leader among their service providers” said Firkus. “By leveraging their systems, The Home Depot will have access to real-time customer information.”
The changeover will also help Crew2 to improve their already exceptional customer service. “Our focus is serving the customer better and providing them with a world class home services experience,” said Firkus. “We view The Home Depot, our Service Providers, and The Home Depot consumer as all of our customers. With the TRAVERSE software, our employees will be freed up to focus less on paperwork and more on delivering a world class experience to all of our customers.”
A relationship installed to last
Crew2 and Open Systems will be going live in 2016 with the first phase of their project, but plan to convert the whole company throughout the next few years. “It’s exciting for us to know that we’re not isolated to one program, as TRAVERSE offers numerous Plug-In programs from CRM to Payroll options that will allow us to continue to innovate as we roll more areas of the business into the software,” said Firkus.
Both Minnesota-based companies look forward to working together with their like-minded approach to customer satisfaction. “For me, the key selling point was that everybody at Open Systems—from the owner to the legal team, from the sales department to the programmers—clearly love what they do and genuinely wanted our business,” said Firkus. “It didn’t seem that they just wanted to win another sale, but were genuinely passionate about helping our company. It was a unanimous feeling that I received from everyone I worked with at Open Systems. It felt like a good culture and environment with which to begin a multi-year journey.”