Microsoft Azure Case Study: Cornwell Quality Tools

Cornwell Quality Tools is a manufacturer and distributor of automotive hand tools. Entering their 100th year, it’s clear they are on top of the game in their industry. Mickey Charlton, IT Director, has been with Cornwell for 35 of them.

When he came to Cornwell in 1984, they were a main frame operation, from a technology standpoint. Custom built programs, written in COBOl. Then, in the late 1990s, they got into the area of PC’s and networks and Windows, unfortunately lacking the skill set internally for that technology in house. Enter Sikich.

A Lasting IT Partnership Is Formed

Cornwell brought Sikich in to provide consulting in several areas including, the PC Network, using Microsoft Office products, and email. We also understood that the main frame applications that they were using were outdated and Cornwell was looking for more current Windows type application.

After running Sage MAS 500 for a number of years, Sikich assisted Cornwell in an ERP search of ERP Solutions. Now they are in the process of converting over to Microsoft Dynamics AX, again with Sikich’s assistance.

The Cornwell business model is a franchise model. The customers that they serve are the mobile franchise-ese, that drive the Cornwell tool trucks around. They operate within a territory and within that territory, they have a regular route that they run. For example, a Ford dealership, knows that at 8:30 this morning, he’s going to see his Cornwell tool truck driver, who is our customer. The Cornwell driver is going to sell him new product, he’s going to collect any money that’s owed from earlier sales and he’s also going to handle any warranty issues or service issues that the customer may have.

Cornwell recently launched a mobile application, that they developed in-house, for their mobile franchises. Charlton explains, “We have about 680 dealers throughout the country. This package runs their business for them, keeps their books, maintains their inventory. It’s a hybrid system because our customers are mobile franchises, they’re out on the road all day in tool trucks, and consequently, their internet access goes in and out. So, the technology that we wrote the system on, is a hybrid technology. It works whether they have connectivity or not.”

Upon the initial launch of the mobile application, Cornwell had an outside company host those servers. Fast forward two years, some concerns about the company surfaced and ultimately Cornwell moved to Azure. At this point, Azure seemed to be becoming mature and, as the trusted IT partner, Sikich felt that Azure was a more reliable, a more robust host for those services. Sikich aided moving all the database servers to Azure and now manage services to monitor those servers and keep them up and running.

The Value of Selecting the Right Partner

Like many organizations, Cornwell’s in-house IT team has a limited skill set. The dedicated team members at the organization had their hands full taking care of the in-house networking, and the day to day operations. It’s a common need for an organization to need to access a pool of talent that extends beyond those on its internal team. Cornwell leveraged the expertise within Sikich and stayed confident with peace of mind knowing their 680 dealers could continue to rely on the system to back up their data, to get current information. Mickey Charlton, IT Director, added, “I sleep much better at night knowing that Sikich is monitoring that and I don’t have to worry about it.”

“One of the things that Sikich has done,” stated Charlton, “Is, they keep up with the technology that I don’t have time to keep up with. The VCIO aspect of Sikich, is that they know the things that we’re working on, they know some of the strategic plans that we have, and they’re able to suggest some of the technology that’s out there that is beneficial to us, that I wouldn’t know about, because I don’t have time to keep up with it. So, it’s been very beneficial.”

The Impact of Microsoft Solutions and Partnering with Sikich

Cornwell Quality Tools has discovered the benefits of using the Microsoft applications have been extremely significant. They use the Azure Cloud to take care of hosting their servers for their mobile application and they haven’t skipped a beat with those. Considering the record growth over the last number of years, it’s important now more than ever to have the right solutions in place to meet strategic goals. Sikich provides the needed skill set to advance in areas such as EDI or networking, virtual networks, and more.

The True Meaning of Partnership

When asked about partnering with Sikich, Charlton shared, “We’ve got a long relationship with Sikich and they’ve been excellent partners of ours. Sometimes we take the word partner for granted, but they really are our partner, and they’ve got my back in a lot of areas. The good thing about Sikich is that they’re consistent, they’re professional, they’re reliable. It’s just been a great relationship.”

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