Beyond Quickbooks: The Next Logical Step for Small Businesses

ERP systems are becoming critical for small to mid-size manufacturers to meet customer demands. Entry-level ERP systems cannot scale, and one-size-fits-all systems don’t meet specialty manufacturers’ needs. The burden of per-person licensing plus the cost of add-on modules and customization make taking the next step prohibitive.

In the case study below, Data Managers, Inc. shares its approach to the transformative journey of a growing specialty manufacturer who builds custom part assemblies. The manufacturer was quickly outgrowing Quickbooks. Their quoting and order entry systems were manual and slow, severely impacting the speed in which they could serve the customer. Inventory management was reactive, and errors often occurred. In order to serve their customers, they needed more automation and functionality in their systems. Netsuite licensing was expensive, and it required customization at additional costs to fully meet the manufacturer’s needs.


Specialty Manufacturer (custom part assemblies)

12 Employees

Legacy Technology

Word, Excel, Quickbooks


  • Create operational efficiencies; quote to sales order to invoice, work order to shipping to inventory
  • Improve response time to customer
  • Visibility into past orders, inventory etc.
  • Invest in a platform that will grow with the company

Issues with the current system

  • The company had outgrown the current tech stack and needed an ERP system to operate more efficiently.
  • Quote tool was unable to build assemblies, and many processes were manual.
  • Users were unable to leverage prior quotes and orders to speed up quote creation.
  • Certification documents needed to be related to order line items. QB does not allow one-to-many relationships to be added alongside quotes or sales orders.
  • Needed the ability to have an online customer interface

Business Analysis: Quote and Sales Orders

Data Managers, Inc. (DMI) consulted end-users on business requirements and goals in order to develop a system to meet their unique needs. Users required flexibility in the process of creating quotes and sales orders.  In both cases they wanted to be able to import items from past orders. They also needed the system to accommodate future growth. By allowing the user to search by a variety of data points like the description or part category, the time to build a quote was dramatically shortened.


Purpose-built, scalable specialty ERP system – Built upon Microsoft Access


The manufacturer was able to modernize its processes and ensure data integrity without incurring significant licensing and customization expenses of an off-the-shelf Enterprise ERP system.

  • Increased customer satisfaction
  • Increased response time to customer
  • Improved ease of data entry
  • Integrated order entry and improved accuracy of inventory
  • Reduced order errors
  • Improved reporting for better data-informed decision-making

In addition to the quote and order modules, DMI created a customer-facing portal that allows customers to view 3rd party certifications required in this industry. This tool was written in VB.Net and has an interface to the ERPs data set. DMI has developed a strong partnership with this specialty manufacturer and continues to develop features for them as they grow and digitally evolve.

Learn more

Are you struggling with how to upgrade from Quickbooks? Is your company operation still manual? Learn more about Data Managers Inc’s business analysis and development capabilities by contacting