Times Square Lighting Leaves Legacy Software Behind to Unlock True Integration with EFACS
Times Square Lighting began in 1934. Rob Riccardelli Jr, the original owner’s great grandson, explains that the business started with his grandfather, Bernie, procuring items and refurbishing them to sell. Within the New York City theatre distract, the most sought after item was refurbished stage lighting. After spotting a gap in the market, the company was established, designing and manufacturing new fixtures for the stage lighting business.
Times Square Lighting is a family run manufacturing business. Founded in 1934, the company was originally based in New York City and manufactured lighting for the theatre industry. The company is currently run by 3rd and 4th generation family members with architectural lighting projects as the primary market.
When Times Square Lighting approached Profitsflow, they were operating on a legacy system that had been installed in 1995. The software, AllianceMFG, has been brought to end of life and support was no longer being offered. There was a decision to be made to either continue using an unsupported solution, or look for a new software package.
A ‘one stop shop’, hosted ERP solution. A modern, browser based fully integrated software, including accounts, provides a seamless flow of information between each department.
All elements of the business are handled by one software solution instead of the alternative of using several different systems. Using EFACS as a hosted solution ensures that employees can connect into the office while working from home if necessary, which is becoming increasingly more common.
Despite the name, Times Square Lighting is no longer based in New York City. The company is now based in Stony Point, where they manufacture geared towards the architectural and display lighting industries.
The company also no longer serves the theatre industry, which was the primary market until well into the 1970’s. In the mid 1980’s the company started to build a reputation for architectural lighting.
Times Square Lighting is the leading manufacturer of architectural lighting in the United States. Their products can be found primarily in showrooms, commercial retailers, museums and art galleries.
Selection & Implementation
In 1995, Exact AllianceMFG was installed to aid the manufacturing aspect of the business. The software reached end of life and support for the product was discontinued in 2013. At this point, Times Square Lighting was using AllianceMFG for manufacturing, alongside Quickbooks for Accounts. It was decided that the company would make the transition to Exact MAX, which was advised for all existing AllianceMFG customers.
Rob Riccardelli Jr., Vice President Accounting, was tasked with overseeing this project. Despite converting data multiple times and planning for a smooth Go Live, there was an issue in linking Exact MAX and Quickbooks which was not realised until Go Live.
After the failed Go Live, there were 2 options available, one was to wait until the connection between Exact MAX and Quickbooks was resolved, which could take months, and continue to use AllianceMFG as an unsupported product. The alternative was to look for a completely new system.
Due to expansion, Times Square Lighting were reaching the limit of their existing licences for the unsupported AllianceMFG solution. After some online searching, Mr. Riccardelli came across Profitsflow and reached out to inquire about buying licence packs from Profitsflow customers who had already transitioned away from Alliance. Riccardelli reflects, “Being we’re in New York and Profitsflow was in Ireland, I did not initially think they would eventually become our software vendor”.
Profitsflow have performed a number of AllianceMFG to EFACS implementations and were confident that EFACS would be a suitable fit for the company’s business requirements. Data was taken from Alliance and quickly converted and uploaded to EFACS, which served as the basis for a number of online demonstrations between Profitsflow and Times Square Lighting. Having previously worked with multiple software providers that were spread across North America, Times Square Lighting felt no apprehension about choosing an ERP supplier from Ireland.
Times Square Lighting felt confident in Profitsflow’s ability to perform a migration from Alliance and decided to forge ahead with an EFACS implementation. Training was successfully conducted over teleconferencing and screen sharing. Go Live was set for January 1st 2018, to ensure a financial year end with the previous system and for a new financial year to begin with EFACS. Tadhg Henderson, Profitsflow’s Managing Director, went to New York to oversee Go Live. Riccardelli reflects that “We were able to operate smoothly, albeit slowly, by the time [Tadhg] left. After a couple weeks, we had the new processes down and customized reports ironed-out”. He adds, “Any transition like this will be difficult, but we were able to complete a full day of work right out of the gate. A much better result than the disaster we experienced with Exact MAX”.
Times Square Lighting decided to go for a hosted solution, to alleviate the pressure of server and hardware maintenance. Housing EFACS on a hosted server has enabled employees to continue to access the EFACS system, even if they are working from home. Riccardelli acknowledges, “Due to the new world we live in, more and more employees are working outside the office. EFACS in the cloud makes it seamless for them to work remotely even when our office internet connection is unreliable”.
EFACS has been utilised by Times Square Lighting for a number of years. Looking back at the experience of having to choose a new software solution, Riccardelli highlights “Having all facets of our business handled by one program written by one company is much better than most of the alternatives that rely on a separate accounting package”.
In conclusion, the successful implementation of EFACS E/8 as a hosted solution by Times Square Lighting has led to a number of benefits, including the following:
- Better Stock Control
- Increased visibility
- Effective Costing Analysis
- Employees can access the software via web browser from home
- Enhanced access to information for management decisions
- Less duplication of data