Legends Furniture: Leveraging expertise to navigate a new market
With nearly 25 years in the business of furniture manufacturing, Legends Furniture has come a long way from their initial 800 sq. foot facility. Now occupying a 26-acre site in Tolleson, Arizona, the family-owned business makes over 400 different furniture units and employs 140 people. Legends Furniture has established itself as a leader in the field of business-to-business furniture manufacturing, distribution, and sales. Specializing in bedroom, office, and dining furniture, as well as entertainment and fireplace consoles, Legends made a name for itself manufacturing high-quality, mass market furniture in the United States.
In 2001, in addition to manufacturing, Legends decided to distribute imported furniture in order to expand customer choice and meet demand. As their website states, “Our blended strategy gives you the best of both worlds from one world class vendor.” Adding import goods to their line also introduced challenges into their business processes.
Making the transition
Since 1999, Legends Furniture has relied upon TRAVERSE business and accounting software to handle their accounting and manufacturing management needs. Legends Furniture’s new COO/CFO Chris Casalena quickly recognized the need to alter the way they were using their TRAVERSE system in order to better manage their import business. While distributing imported furniture had been a successful addition for Legends, the change required a re-thinking of their accounting processes. Their hard-won expertise in the manufacturing sector wasn’t transferring to this new market segment.
Mark Trandal of Computer Technology Associates, LLC has managed Legends’ TRAVERSE management needs for a number of years. With the installation of the new TRAVERSE version 11 built with .NET technology, Trandal recognized that there were opportunities to improve the reporting Legends could receive from their system. On top of that, he also recognized Legend’s need for an expert familiar with import and distribution accounting.
In consulting with Legends about their challenges matching their manufacturing expertise with their newfound distribution challenges, Trandal provided end-to-end service by suggesting the Business Advisory Services of Open Systems, Inc., the developers of TRAVERSE software.
Enter Open Systems Business Advisory Services
Mike Ayers, a business consultant for Open Systems Business Advisory Services and a CPA with manufacturing and distribution experience, was ready to help. “My experience having Mike Ayers on site was very rewarding,” says Casalena. “He brought CPA, senior-accounting level expertise to the table.”
Legends spent time identifying exactly where they needed help. “A lot of our accounting processes are ‘round peg, square hole,’” says Casalena. “We’re putting manufacturing accounting into import accounting, and we’ve run into some troubles trying to do what we know into something new with import using our TRAVERSE ERP.”
“We pinpointed 5 key areas in the accounting world for Mike to work directly with our Controller,” says Casalena. “We needed to bring Mike in to help us with accounting for a different type of business model.” Those areas were inventory control; commission reporting; divisional financial reporting; accounts payable and accounts receivable reconciliation to general ledger; and bank reconciliation procedures, entries, and controls.
In three days, Mike was able to help Legends understand how to modify their processes for the import business, as well as how to use their system more efficiently.
Mark Trandal was impressed with the results. “Chris Casalena has championed the teamwork and communications concepts at Legends, and I think that has allowed a talented staff of employees to respond quickly and effectively to business issues,” says Trandal. “It was very satisfying to see Mike Ayers arrive and instantly become part of the Legends team to create solutions to solve some complex business matters.”
Taking advantage of flexibility and expertise
Legends Furniture is well aware of the advantages of using flexible software. “One of the philosophies of Open Systems’ software is to be flexible and allow for customization,” says Chris Casalena. “We have taken huge advantage of that.” With the help of Mark Trandal., Legends has implemented TRAVERSE and developed add-on applications and programs that help them with manufacturing process and tracking, and a variety of reporting needs, too.
“Having that access is a double-edged sword,” says Casalena, “and it’s nice to have people like Mike Ayers and Mark Trandal to really understand our business processes, to help us wield that sword correctly. It’s hugely valuable.”