How His Glassworks Became Big and Stayed Small


His Glassworks

“…our revenue has more than doubled without the need to add any additional staff and for a small business, that’s amazing!” -Mark Bolick, COO His Glassworks

His Glassworks:

(being small doesn’t mean that your customer base and revenues have to be)

his glassworks

My dictionary has a great definition of small, “not large as compared with others of the same kind.” I like that definition.  The world continues to get smaller thanks to technology and the advent of the Internet has allowed many small businesses to become “big” small businesses. But his Glassworks in Asheville, NC is one company that has become big while staying small by leveraging technology.

In 1984 glass artist Bob Stephan moved his small glass art studio, His Glassworks, from Virginia to a beautiful cove hidden away near the Blue Ridge Parkway in Asheville, NC. Glass art is a trade where many specialized tools and supplies are needed and Stephan struggled with the fact that many of these specific tools were not readily available. Artists are by nature creative and as the old adage goes, “necessity is the mother of invention.” It was that necessity that drove Bob in 1992 to begin manufacturing some of the tools and supplies he needed and marketing them to other glass artists through trade shows.

Word continued to spread about the products that His Glassworks was selling and the business began to grow. In 1994 a young college graduate named Mark Bolick joined His Glassworks and soon introduced the idea of creating a website and web store to help drive sales. Over the next seven years the company continued to grow and expand sales. “Once we grew into the manufacturing and distribution side of things and had inventory to manage, we quickly outgrew our technology until it became obsolete,” recalls Bolick who is now COO. “Our company file just became too big.”

His Glassworks continued to work with their off-the-shelf accounting package trying to make it adapt to their business. “I even called the vendor for suggestions and was told there was nothing they could do for us. They said that we had outgrown their software” said Bolick. He continues, “it was a miserable failure by the time we were done with it. We were stuck in a lurch and had to find something towork.”

After months of exhaustive research and narrowing the field to ten different ERP solutions, His Glassworks chose to partner with AcctVantage ERP. Integrated inventory, accounting, sales, marketing and resource planning capabilities were features that His Glassworks required. AcctVantage ERP delivered accounting software for Mac with exactly those features plus the flexibility that they needed.

“AcctVantage ERP gave us the freedom and leeway to adapt the system to meet our needs,” says Bolick, “plus, it was able to work with our existing mixed Windows and Mac network.”

During the ten years that they have been using AcctVantage ERP, His Glassworks has cut their turnaround time by more than half and the majority of orders now ship the day they are received. Now shipping to more than 40 countries, that’s an improvement that directly affects their bottom line. “We used to have a whole day’s lag time even for shipping inventory that we had in stock,” says Bolick “now when an order comes in, production has it within seconds and it’s often shipped before lunch. That never happened before.”

In 2011 His Glassworks moved its sales, inventory and shipping operations to their new facilities along the French Broad River in Asheville. The ability to have their entire process from manufacturing, acquisition, sales to shipping all handled in one complete accounting software has allowed them to grow their business and revenues substantially. When asked if he felt AcctVantage ERP had impacted his bottom line Bolick shared, “since we switched to AcctVantage ERP our revenue has more than doubled without the need to add any additional staff and for a small business, that’s amazing!”

So what does Mark like most about switching to AcctVantage ERP?  “Aside from the fact that it has greatly increased our profitabiliy and paid for itself many times over, I love the intuitive design and the ability to tailor AcctVantage ERP to each user’s unique needs and clearance levels.” He adds, “AcctVantage ERP’s dependable service and support has helped us keep His Glassworks up and running from day one! We’re just amazed at how much more productive we are with this system. We couldn’t be happier.”Mark Bolick, COO of His Glassworks credits AcctVantage with allowing the company to grow without adding staff.

Interested in learning more about His Glassworks?

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