August 2014

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50 | www.cedmag.com | Construction Equipment Distribution | August 2014 A Closer Look On Thursday, July 3, Milton CAT migrated from its 25-year old legacy DBS management system and on the following Monday turned on a new, fully integrated ERP built by XAPT at all 13 locations throughout New England and upstate New York. As planned, the "Go Live" event had virtually no impact on Milton CAT customers. "We work with our dealers in pre-paring the software and training their employees require for opening day," said Chris Kohart, execu- tive vice president of XAPT, and CEO of their Americas division. "First and foremost, the last person that should be impacted by an ERP implementation is a dealer's customers," Milton CAT's IT Director Rod Ford couldn't agree more. "Our whole organization has done an incredible job of managing this change and working through the issues – ensuring that the customer was isolated from the change. We had a lot of people work- ing long hours to ensure the customer experience was the same as it was on the old system." Milton CAT is the 25th dealership worldwide to embrace XAPT's ERP, built on the Microsoft Dynamics AX platform. Another seven dealers in North America and nine dealers worldwide are currently in the process of converting to the XAPT system, including the world's third largest Caterpillar dealer. Kohart credits the compa- ny's success to its experience with Microsoft Dynamics AX as well as accumulated industry knowledge. "We consider ourselves an extension of the dealership – a partner for the long term. We pride ourselves on deliver- ing the best product and support out there," said Kohart. Ford concurs that the relationship is a partnership between XAPT, Caterpillar and Milton CAT. "To me, they are our partner," said Ford. "It has been a good relationship and they really understand our business." Ford says he finds XAPT's dealership knowledge refresh- ing. "Vendors sell their products and don't understand the complexities of a dealership's business. They promise the world because they don't understand it," he said. Kohart's prior experience working at a heavy equip- ment dealership helps, as does the company's experience working with equipment dealers. Built on Microsoft Dynamics AX For Milton CAT, one of the differentiating factors in selecting the XAPT ERP system was the Microsoft Dynam- ics AX platform. "The Microsoft platform allows functionality to be built in layers above the core product," explained Ford. "Business processes change and the software needs to adapt to those changes. Because of the way it is built, it is easier to develop new functionality and still be able to migrate to new releases as they become available from Microsoft." Because Microsoft is a brand that most people have familiarity with, the system is intuitive and easy to use, says Kohart. "One dealer has seen roughly 30 percent growth in rental activity since the bottom fell out in 2008. But they haven't seen the need to add rental coordinators because of the efficiencies the system has gained them," he said. XAPT is among only a handful of more than 20,000 Microsoft providers designated as Global Independent Microsoft technology, paired with understanding and support of dealership processes, makes this ERP an easy fit for an equipment business that's ready to grow. BY JOANNE COSTIN XAPT is the Dealer Enabler Chris Kohart

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