Nearly three and a half decades ago, Jim Fisk decided to create some detailed maps of Burnt Hills, NY, to help a group of people doing some canvassing for a church.
From that humble beginning a company – JIMAPCO – was born and has since become an 18-person business with a hard-won reputation for offering great maps of the northeastern United States.
Chris Fisk, JIMAPCO’s vice president, says, “We map every street and road from the Canadian border to just above New York City, and from the Finger Lakes to western Massachusetts, Vermont, and Connecticut.”
She says, “We sell our maps directly into stores, which then resell them, but we also sell to map distributors, such as Rand McNally, which sells across the country. As a result, it’s possible to walk into a Texas store and buy one of our maps of the Northeast.”
But JIMAPCO does much more than simply make maps and offer them for resale. JIMAPCO also acts as a distributor for the maps of other companies. And at company headquarters in Round Lake, NY, there is a retail facility that maintains thousands of titles for sale that do not go out for distribution.
Fisk says, “JIMAPCO is, in effect, three companies rolled into one. We have all the challenges of a manufacturer, including running a production facility, maintaining inventory, and getting products produced on time. But we are also a distributor, so we have to keep track of sales of every product to every customer.”
“Finally,” she says, “The demands of our retail operation are very similar to those of virtually any retail operation anywhere.”
So, in 1994 when Fisk went to look for a software system to help run JIMAPCO more efficiently, she wanted one that could recognize and handle these three distinct functions within one company and bring them together in a way that made sense for company management. That brought JIMAPCO to the EXEControl System from Ebeling Associates.
“It was clear from the beginning that EXEControl was built to do the sort of thing that we needed, “Fisk says. “And it soon became apparent that it could do it very easily.”
In manufacturing, the system allows JIMAPCO to keep a close watch on sales trends so that the company can be in production in a timely way before stocks of a particular product run out.
When severe ice storms hit northern New York State, the software flagged JIMAPCO managers that maps of that area were being depleted at an enormous rate. JIMAPCO was able to reprint the maps on an emergency basis so that utility crews – many of whom were from out of town and did not know the area – could make repairs and get the lights and heat back on.
“For the distribution portion of our company,” Fisk adds, “EXEControl helps us to keep track of sales of every product to every customer. It helps us to know what is selling and what is not as well as which customers are doing well and which may need some attention.”
“The software has proven extremely useful for decision making,” she says. “Maps are not like candy bars – you can’t deliver the same thing to Syracuse that you do to Albany and expect it to work just as well.”
EXEControl also includes a point-of-sale system that JIMAPCO uses in its retail store for handling retail transactions and tracking inventory as product is sold.
“The most compelling feature of EXEControl,” Fisk says, “is the ability to generate the kinds of reports that are most useful to our business. Any kind of report that we want, we can generate almost immediately. The system is extremely flexible, and it is made even more so by the ability of EXEControl Global Solutions’ technical support people to jump online and become ‘co-pilots’ with us.”
She adds, “The service has been absolutely incredible. Whenever there is a need or a problem, the answer is just a phone call away. Our specialty is making maps; EXEControl Global Solutions’ is computer systems, software and service, and they do that very well.”
“Here’s a perfect example of what I mean,” Fisk says. “One day I was running two reports to get different snapshots of the company, but the bottom-line figures didn’t agree even though they should have. A call to EXEControl Global Solutions revealed the problem: I had omitted a crucial step. Even better, a 20-second phone call had saved me hours of fussing and trying to find the answer myself.”
Fisk concludes, “EXEControl makes a terrific software system that really meets our needs, but it is the way they conduct their business that makes it truly superior.