Cilio Case Study: Edwards Xteriors, Forrest Edwards, Owner
Company: Edwards Xteriors
Specialty: Door and window installation
Years in Business: 26
Growing with Lowe’s
When Forrest Edwards first started Edwards Xteriors 26 years ago, it was just him and a truck.
Now, his Nashville based company, which specializes in door and window installations, has six office staff and 21 contractors. Those contractors work for 62 Lowe’s stores, covering about two thirds of the market in Knoxville, Chattanooga, Nashville, and Jackson in Tennessee. They also cover a few stores in Kentucky, South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, and Mississippi.
Edwards first began working with Lowe’s in 2002, and 19 years later about 95% of his business comes from the home improvement retailer.
Edwards credits his success at Lowe’s with a little bit of luck and a lot of hard work – “being in the right place at the right time and knowing the right people” – and with the help of Cilio’s CiO field service software, which he and his team use to manage their installation projects for Lowe’s.
A customizable option that’s easy to use
Back in 2016, Lowe’s was getting ready to launch its IMS system. Edwards knew that if he was going to continue growing his business, he needed a way to scale the management of project paperwork with Lowe’s. He looked at a few software solutions that Lowe’s referred, and he quickly chose CiO.
“I remember the ease of use was the biggest thing, and how simple it was to fine tune for my business,” he said. “Everybody does things a little differently, and Cilio made it simple for us to be able to use it how we wanted. They worked really hard to customize it to fit our needs. With the other companies, you don’t really have that option. You can choose what they do for you, but you can’t ask them to do something they don’t already offer.”
An integral part of the business
For Edwards, one of the biggest advantages of CiO is the reduction in paperwork needed to manage Lowe’s projects. The digitization and automation that CiO provides has allowed him to grow his customer base with less office support than he might have needed otherwise.
“We never have any paperwork issues at all. It makes our lives really simple. It takes the place of two to three people in the office that I don’t have to have because Cilio does it,” explained Edwards.
In addition, Edwards and his team have seen efficiencies in areas of scheduling and customer communications, which save time and money in the office and in the field:
- CiO’s scheduling tool uses a mapping feature that allows users to schedule appointments according to location to help minimize drive time between jobs. “It saves us a bunch of time,” said Edwards. For the office staff, “it’s a large part of their day making sure the locations are correct. Some guys run 8 or 10 POs in a day, so having it geographically laid out correctly makes all the difference in the world.”
- The office staff also began using CiO’s texting tool recently, a feature Edwards estimates will slash phone time by 30 to 40%. And customers like it as well, which is just another bonus.
“The whole system is phenomenal. We love it.” Edwards concluded. “Without it, I don’t think we’d be in business with Lowe’s. There’s not one thing that I can say is awesome; it’s everything. There is such an ease of use, it just makes our lives so much easier with all the information. It’s just great.”