About Starboard Group
The Starboard Group is a leading American investment company that operates 79 Wendy’s and similar well-known restaurant chains throughout Wisconsin, Illinois, Missouri, Pennsylvania, Virginia, New Jersey, Virginia, Alabama, and Florida.
In 2013, Starboard group was managing 28 databases containing 77 restaurants, 8 real estate companies, 4 corporate entities, and other non-related business ventures all required to function as individual revenue or cost centers within Microsoft Dynamics GP. The accounting and IT staff were becoming inundated with inefficiencies and downtime from logging in and out while switching between entities. So much so that it was starting to affect the bottom-line. Every new restaurant addition required another database and the overhead was becoming too much. With aggressive growth targets of 300%, Starboard group needed a solution integrated within Microsoft Dynamics GP that could scale with the company.
CFO, Giovanni Lima, sought out Binary Stream’s Multi-Entity Management (MEM) to help alleviate his company’s ERP woes and streamline efficiencies. With over 35 unique entities and a business unit count estimated to quickly double by the middle of fiscal 2015, switching to MEM swiftly enabled Starboard Group to consolidate most of its operating company databases into 1, bringing its total database count to 2, contributing to an average of $38,000 per year in time and overhead efficiency savings per year.
- Redundant processing – such as processing Accounts Payable, or backing up databases – can be done for all companies at one time rather than individually by company
- Switching companies takes seconds rather than minutes; entity can be chosen on a transaction by transaction basis
- Increased time savings during year and month-end closing
- Quickly able to add new entities during high growth periods
- Simply ensure vendors match across all entities
- Reduced amount of databases to enable easy single database backups
- Improved cross-company reporting for upper management
- $481 in savings for each new company/entity acquired
- $8,100 in savings per year on weekly Accounts Payable (AP) processing by not having to switch between company databases
- $20,625 in savings per year on weekly processing when handling accruals, portfolio analysis, consolidations, etc.
- $9,231 in savings per year on monthly reporting
- $38,437 in savings per year on average
Starboard Group and Multi-Entity Management (MEM)
We interviewed Giovanni Lima, CFO at Starboard group. Giovanni discussed the process he and his team used to envision a solution that needed immediate attention given Starboard’s 3-year strategic plan. We discussed not only how MEM was discovered and evaluated but also the cost-saving benefits his team realized post-implementation.
When the Starboard Group first began using GP in 2009, it only operated a fraction of the restaurants that it owns today. Running lean but with a high-performing team of individuals is one of Starboard’s competitive edge. Therefore, ensuring the team does not get bogged down with system or application limitation’s is priority one. This is consistent with Starboard’s decision to scale down to then properly scale up.
“Backing up data, reporting, adding a new restaurant —it was all a challenging to say the least. You had to cross databases and log in and out of each entity to pull reports and process even the simplest of transactions.”
“I knew that with our company’s aggressive growth targets over the next few years we would desperately need a better solution. We just needed a stable and scalable platform for growth without having to re-invent the entire system. The overhead and inefficiencies of managing over 30 databases separate databases were onerous and just not scalable to our business model,” explains Giovanni.
ERP Growing Pains
“The team knew that 200-300% growth in two years was going to prove to be an ambitious target by itself,” Giovanni adds. “The team wanted to ensure that Starboard Group would not be held back by its ERP system,” added Giovanni.
Here’s what he detailed as the biggest inefficiencies with handling multiple entities in its ERP:
- Processing data across multiple entities
- Too many databases to manage effectively and efficiently
- Ensuring that each entity’s vendors match accordingly
- Difficult to see company performance across all entities
- Adding new restaurants during high acquisition periods
- Consolidated reporting
- Managing inter-company transactions
- Keeping a consistent chart of accounts
“Backing up data, reporting, adding a new restaurant —it was all a challenging to say the least. You had to cross databases and log in and out of each entity to pull reports and process even the simplest of transactions,” Giovanni explains.
Starboard Group Finds their Multi-Entity Management Solution
While Giovanni was searching around for a solution to their ERP challenges, his Microsoft Dynamics GP implementation partner suggested he look into Binary Stream’s Multi-Entity Management product. And after researching various alternatives he concluded that MEM had the best proven solution for what he and his team had envisioned.
“Multi-Entity Management was the only solution on the market that could do what we needed,”
With MEM, Giovanni and his management team were able to see the biggest benefit when processing takes place across entities in one shot. “Being able to easily access and pull reports across all companies and entities within a database enables us to more effectively plan for growth and achieve profitability targets,” adds Giovanni.