Headquarters: United States (Boston, MA)
Number of Employees: 2
The Reluctant CEO
Growing up Florian Briem didn’t want to join A.E.P.X, his family’s business. Waypoint Post, as it is now known, was started by Florian’s father in the 1980s exporting mostly cars and automotive parts. The company was small, operated out of the family home, and involved the entire household. Florian’s father, Günther, was president, his mother, Andrea, ran day-to-day operations, his brother Oliver worked there for a time, and even Florian chipped in when he wasn’t busy with school. Regardless of how Florian may have felt when he was younger, in 2006 he took over the family business as CEO.
Florian Briem, CEO of Waypoint Post
At 21 years old, Florian’s new position prompted him to ask some hard questions regarding the past and future of Waypoint Post. The first few months also involved learning things quickly and on the fly. He understood the inner workings of the company and how they had evolved over the last 30 years. But, the way he saw it, operations at Waypoint Post needed to be modernized to stay competitive and keep costs down. Florian knew how easy it is for companies to stay complacent with outdated methods and technologies when the essentials of the business are being met. Making meaningful changes would require effort from within the company and from its new CEO. One of the first places to start with updating and modernizing was with its software.
For nearly 30 years, Waypoint Post had been running on a proprietary program to conduct business. Orders, invoices, inventory, and more were running in a DOS-based application that was written by Florian’s brother while he was in school.
It was basic and limited in scope (it lacked support for a mouse!), but it was efficient and did what it needed to do. In fact, for its time, this program was advanced enough to give Waypoint Post an advantage over its competition. The company used and relied on this program well into the 2010s. However, with the export industry evolving around him, Florian knew that despite any sentimental reasons, Waypoint Post had to move beyond his brother’s application and explore more modernized solutions.
As a small business owner, cost was definitely a factor when it came to choosing an ERP. However, functionality and efficiency with the company’s day-to-day workflows were also important elements to consider in his value analysis. At the time, Florian saw programs on the market that could help, but the amount of customizations required to accommodate Waypoint Post’s needs would make them prohibitively expensive. Having something custom developed was not a viable option as it would create reliance on a developer, and lead to expensive upkeep. Neither alternative was particularly attractive.
“We’re doing the same amount of work another company would do on a different system that would have 5 or 6 employees.”
Florian Briem, CEO of Waypoint Post
Once Waypoint Post made the switch to Odoo, the company became much more productive. As of this writing Waypoint Post has 2 users of Odoo’s software. Yet despite its small size, Florian feels confident in the company’s decision stating, “We’re doing the same amount of work another company would do on a different system that would have 5 or 6 employees.” He sees the growth potential both for his company and with Odoo having up to as many as 5 users. To Florian, “it’s paramount that I have a program that I know when I put a user on it, I can teach him very quickly.”
Indeed, the last person Florian hired to use Odoo had a basic understanding of the platform within a month and 8-9 months later has a full understanding of how the system works. Eventually, with more users on the platform, Florian can focus more of his attention on growing the business outside of the office instead of being tied, as he once was, to the computer running his brother’s DOS program. Florian believes that being on Odoo gives his company an edge by providing additional value to its customers. Whereas his competitors are still conducting business by hand or other antiquated means, Waypoint Post is able to streamline and fully track anything they send. By implementing tracking numbers, tax codes from both the US and the destination country into Odoo, and other information, the business keeps getting better and more efficient.
The Way(point) Forward
Now that Waypoint Post has fully acclimated to using Odoo, Florian is in it for the long haul. With the release of version 12, the CEO is excited for the new changes and new applications, including Documents, to further move away from paper and become more digital into the future. As Waypoint Post has proved, reaching goals are simpler when business demands are streamlined and collaborated in Odoo.
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