Last week, AdvancePro kicked off a new series of events for QuickBooks ProAdvisors and Business Services Professionals called EVOLVE. Held in Portland, OR at the quaint and hospitable Opal 28, it was a fun and inspiring evening with a focus on simplifying business in a “world of multiples”. A strong group of Portlanders came out to learn from the experiences of AdvancePro CEO, Israel Ellis and Showers Pass CEO, Kyle Ranson, and how they’ve leveraged enterprise technologies like AdvancePro in their businesses to get clarity and visibility into their operations.
 
“We chose Portland to host EVOLVE because it has the same qualities that make AdvancePro great: innovation and entrepreneurship.”  – Israel Ellis

Portland is home to some of our most successful clients, companies who have the commitment and vision needed to be successful, and have used our technology to scale their companies efficiently and profitably.
 
We had the opportunity to honour one such customer, Kyle Ranson, and he shared some of the lessons he learned as an executive at companies like Compaq and inFocus about the importance of a well-planned supply chain, and the consequences of a poorly-planned one.
 

 “Don’t let your systems dictate your customer’s experience. The experience should dictate your systems.” – Kyle Ranson

Kyle shared insights and stories that have helped him build Showers Pass into a global brand:

  • Identifying the one or two products that produce the best margins for your business. We often chase after exciting and innovative ideas that ultimately don’t produce revenue. For Showers Pass, it’s their waterproof socks.
  • Using AdvancePro to help them see up and down their supply chain. As Showers Pass’ business has changed over the years, they’ve started to sell to different customers with different demands and timeframes. Visibility has been critical for their success in managing these multiple.
  • Not using proprietary solutions that leave you stuck as technologies change. It’s important to figure out your stack early and use industry-standard solutions.
  • Being wary of the dangers of success and rapid growth. While at Compaq, they felt that they had outgrown their standard same-day shipping model. When they decided to move to a 5-day shipping model, they fell behind other supply chain innovators.
  • Recognizing the importance of your supply chain to your customer experience. Rather than outsourcing their packaging to a co-packer, they’ve taken that process in-house so they can control the customer’s first impression of their brand: the unboxing.
  • Understanding who adds and who takes value out of your supply chain. If you have duplicates in your supply chain, your customer is paying a premium for costs that don’t help them. Compaq had a long and dense supply chain that could take 3 to 6 months, and would go through many hands before getting to the customer. This meant that customers were getting old, out-of-date computers that had depreciated in value, and margins were suffering from the many hands they were passed through. This opened the door for Dell, who were able to cut costs and streamline their supply chain, taking advantage of the opportunity.

 

 
In a world that’s allowed us to become increasingly disconnected thanks to technology, it was a joy to meet with the Portland community face-to-face. The needs of the small business today are the same as they ever were, but the world of multiples have created a new landscape of opportunities as well as potential pitfalls. Having the right technology working for you is critical to helping you make informed business decisions and stay ahead of your competition.

 
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