Manufacturing Success Stories

1.      In 2004, the owner/CEO of a small, rural manufacturing company had to face facts: the company was growing, but the bank was concerned, and the outdated accounting system couldn’t integrate job costs with financial reports.

“To achieve financial strength and stability, we needed someone to help us get a better grasp of our financial structure,” the owner recalls. “We interviewed several candidates, and it became clear that the Miller CFO model was the one that would work best for us. We needed a high level of expertise, but a full-time CFO was simply not an option.”

Miller CFO’s first task was to develop a solid understanding of what the company did, and what its accounting and banking needs were—then to use that knowledge to select a new job-cost and accounting system, and possibly to implement a new banking relationship. Despite the company’s small size, its products are highly complex, and it was essential to be able to relate the activities of 20 shop workers to the profit of 25 jobs in the shop at a given time.

“Bill was a very quick study,” the owner remembers. “He had worked in a number of different organizational environments, and he had a good intuitive sense of how things should fit.” Miller CFO implemented the complicated job-costing and accounting program. Later, when Miller CFO saw that it took two to three hours each day to transfer time-card information from an older time-keeping database into the new accounting software, he designed and built an intermediary database that took the time records and allowed them to be imported in 15 minutes per day. Miller CFO also helped reduce benefits costs with a high-deductible health plan, while simultaneously improving employee satisfaction with the plan – so much so that after 3 years, employees surveyed said they would prefer to stay with the plan rather than revert to a more traditional plan.

Miller CFO organized a review of banking alternatives, and stepped the owner to thru a rigorous selection process that gave the owner the confidence to select a bank he was comfortable with. During the economic challenges of the past few years, the new bank requested additional information, and “Bill prepared the information that the bank needed and managed the relationship, actually giving us access to an expanded line of credit,” the owner notes. Miller CFO explained gross margins; and now, with better reporting and monitoring, the company and the owner can focus on strategic business issues. Miller CFO also maintains the company’s servers with an outside company, resulting in a more stable and cost-effective IT system than it had previously.

“Miller CFO helps the whole company. The expertise is exactly what we need. Having Bill on-site three days a week gives us a better strategic sense of how everything fits, and we can plan much better.” Miller CFO’s role has evolved over the years, and the service is still a valuable asset. “Bill allows you to focus on the core of your business. With Miller CFO, he watches the financials, and I focus on sales and managing the company. I’m not diverted from what I do best. Miller CFO has become a critical element of the advisory group every CEO needs,” the owner finishes.

2.      Another manufacturing company recruited Miller CFO Services to help oversee its transition to a new and improved job-cost accounting system. Miller CFO was brought in after the software had been selected, and helped implement the new system in a way that matched the company’s needs. At one point, data from the new system was needed to support an expansion of the customer service department’s efforts, but the data was unavailable in any standard reports. Miller CFO developed an Access database that brought the data into an easily readable format that accomplished the department’s goals. Miller CFO also produced the company’s first regular monthly financial reports, enabling the company to adjust its efforts when financial results indicated the need.

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