When Michael Harvey was starting up his innovative cleaning products business, Wallowa Valley Cleaning Products, he knew where exactly to go for business solutions. Based on his previous experience working at a company where they had selected Great Plains (Microsoft Dynamics GP) as their solution, he felt confident that another Microsoft Dynamics ERP solution would be right for his growing business.
Before diving right back into Dynamics GP, however, Michael researched other ERP solutions in market to be certain he was making the right choice for his new business. He looked at other solutions like SAP, NetSuite, Sage and QuickBooks, but he felt that those solutions did not fit the new business’ needs.
The Beginnings of a Partnership
Michael worked at a small family-owned company from 2001 to 2013. There were only 20 employees and 10 products at the time he joined. He knew that they needed to put in an ERP system, and at the time in 2001, the typical go-to solution was SAP. Michael went through the whole selection process with SAP, but soon discovered that he wasn’t able to find even one satisfied SAP customer.
In 2001, Microsoft had just purchased the Great Plains software. As president and general counsel at this company, Michael decided to go ahead with implementing Great Plains.
A great partnership began with a local Seattle Partner that was later acquired by Encore in 2017. The Microsoft Partner did an exceptional job at the time and was credited with the successful rise of the company’s revenue. By 2013 when Michael left, the company had grown to about $100 Million in sales. It had gone global with operations in South Korea and China and offers came in to be acquired by other highly successful organizations.
An Innovative Start-Up
For the last 3 years, Michael has worked on developing almost 200 cleaning products with natural fragrances, environmentally friendly ingredients and refillable packaging that is designed to last for 10 years. At the end of the 10 years, the bottles can be mailed back to Wallowa Valley Cleaning Products to be recycled, instead of ending up in landfills and oceans like so many other plastic products and packaging.
Although having already had a great experience with Dynamics ERP solutions, he did spend some time reviewing other solutions on the market like SAP, NetSuite, Sage and QuickBooks, and much like prior he found those options not a fit for his business needs. NetSuite did not appear to offer the manufacturing management functionality present in Business Central or the huge number of independent, creative entrepreneurs constantly developing cost-effective additional add-on software for every imaginable task/functionality. Additionally, the seamless integration with Microsoft’s Word, Excel, and Outlook were enormously important to achieving efficient communication among the company’s support people who are scattered globally. After carefully investigating those solutions, selecting Dynamics 365 Business Central was a simple decision.
The search for a Microsoft Dynamics partner was an easy one for him. Remembering the fabulous experience he had years prior as a GP user he immediately sought out the same expertise, imagining that the solution must be even better developed now. For a serious businessperson intent on building a strong company, Michael knew that you must build yourself a strong foundation. Encore and Business Central provided that strong foundation which will protect his business going forward.
Modern Technology for a Modern World
With Encore as Wallowa Valley Cleaning Products’ Microsoft Partner, the conversation came back to Dynamics GP and Michael’s previous great experience with that solution. Encore educated him in the latest developments in the Dynamics line of business solutions, namely, the addition of Dynamics 365 Business Central in the last couple years as a natural move forward to the cloud from Dynamics GP. Michael knew that working in the cloud was now an essential aspect of a modern, growing company. He saw the benefits in being able to work remotely from any device, and easily scale up as his business grows.
“A cloud-based solution is the obvious choice in our global decentralized business environment. Wallowa Valley Cleaning Products is great example. Our support staff are located all over the world. Being cloud-based means we can select and utilize the best consultants regardless of their location on the planet.”
– Michael Harvey, Founding Partner, Wallowa Valley Cleaning Products
The partnership with Encore and Wallowa Valley Cleaning Products has been excellent thus far. Michael has found the Encore team to be very focused on completing the project diligently.
“I have a strong chemistry background, a strong environmental law background, and a good outlook on business and technology, but I know nothing about this software and best practices for how my business and team should be best leveraging it for success. So, I picked Encore again and let Encore guide me and I’m very happy with the result.” – Michael Harvey, Founding Partner, Wallowa Valley Cleaning Products
The Scalability of Dynamics 365 Business Central
Michael admits that Dynamics 365 Business Central costs more initially and takes more time to get implemented than a product like QuickBooks, but he’s quick to point out that the investment in the right solution that can scale up with your business is worth every penny.
As the company grows, an ERP solution in the cloud like Business Central will be able to scale up quickly and easily to adapt to changes in the organization, without any need to transition to a different ERP solution in future.
“For a start-up in the modern world, it’s so much more economical to use a solution like Business Central where everything is online. The key thing about selecting Business Central is that it’s so scalable. It’s an investment that will pay off for the serious entrepreneur because you don’t have to worry whether the functionality is there. You can go into Business Central knowing that whatever functionality you can imagine is available.” – Michael Harvey, Founding Partner, Wallowa Valley Cleaning Products
Even with the occasionally slow internet access in the small mountain town where he lives, Michael has had no problem getting access to Business Central. He’s also found that the ability to get a free license for the accounting staff has been a great benefit to the company. With a relatively small amount of training from Encore, using the system has been intuitive and smooth.
Business Central is “a phenomenal product”
“Because I’ve used Microsoft products like Word, Excel, and PowerPoint; Business Central has been very intuitive to use. Now I just zip through all the transactions whether it’s billing or purchase orders. It’s a phenomenal product. Business Central is an example of continuous improvement by Microsoft.” – Michael Harvey, Founding Partner, Wallowa Valley Cleaning Products
Wallowa Valley Cleaning Products has an online shopping presence as a result of their partnership with TrueCommerce, which was purchased through Encore. Michael had so much trust in Encore’s integrity that he chose a commerce solution based only on an Encore team member’s expert recommendation. By purchasing through Encore, the responsibility for support for both Dynamics 365 Business Central and TrueCommerce lies with the Encore Care support team.
When it came to sustainment and support of Business Central for his business and users, once again Michael chose to put his trust in the Encore team and their service offerings and became an Encore Care Unlimited program member. He has found that the support from the Encore customer care team has been incredibly valuable for keeping their operation going full steam ahead.
“Tech support from Encore has been relentlessly excellent at all stages, extending from initial implementation through operations start-up. Encore has the integrity to tell me what I need to hear, not what I want to hear.” – Michael Harvey, Founding Partner, Wallowa Valley Cleaning Products
Of deciding to partner with Encore and implement Business Central, Michael laughs “I’m patting myself on the back for another good decision on my part!”
Wallowa Valley, Oregon