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Avail Is On Its Way

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A technology called Avail, a cloud-based ERP system developed by team dealers for team dealers, is being introduced with the simple goal to, in the words of Avail VP-sales Brian Hensen, “connect the entire team sports industry.”

Avail was developed by the team at Brand RPM (photo below), a Sports Inc. team dealer and decorator whose 90,000-square-foot facility in Charlotte has been servicing the team and corporate market for almost 15 years. It is that experience that prompted the company 18 months ago to, in essence, find a better way to connect all aspects of the team business — from sales to design, from decorating to delivery, from invoicing to payments.

Hensen explains that as Brand RPM started acquiring and adding dealers to its organization it realized that its current network-based ERP and 20-plus plug-ins would not allow it to scale. The need was seen for a cloud-based ERP for not only internal use, but for the team business as a whole.  

“This industry is consolidating, and every dealer is feeling the effects of this consolidation,” Hensen says. “The scale achieved in a consolidating environment will typically force a dealer to choose one of two options to be able to compete.

1.  Sell to a larger firm. Larger companies, often funded by private equity money, will come in with the goal of buying a lot of dealers (“roll-up”) to achieve scale and then leverage efficiencies to make the entity profitable.  

2. Platform Model. Join a platform that achieves the same scale and empowers businesses to operate with the efficiency of a very large company. “In 2021, radically improved technology has to be a component,” Hensen says. “Avail is the platform model for this industry.”

Avail, launched on a limited basis a year ago to the company’s own sales team of 40-plus reps, was built by in-house developers familiar with the challenges its decorating and team business faced. Hensen likens the technology at this point to where online stores were five years ago when they were first introduced.

“We built this technology because we saw an opportunity to help the team dealers go from survival mode right back into thriving,” is how Hensen puts it.

The selling point of the Avail technology is in the efficiencies it brings to what have always been cumbersome, hands-on tasks. Among the values it brings to team dealers:

  • A cloud-based ERP that runs the business.
  • A web store platform built within the Avail platform that requires no order entry, no purchasing and an option to utilize Avail’s decoration, pack-out and shipping.
  • Gross margin improvement of between 7-10 percent on average.
  • Automated purchasing process via API’s, along with automated payables and receivables.
  • Customer portals that allow customers to see inventory, pay bills and track all school deals.
  • Membership in the Avail community, allowing independent dealers to be a part of a community focused on growing their business.

Now Avail is ready to roll out on a deliberate basis to team dealers. It was simple to bring the major team vendors on board because, Hensen points out, they quickly saw that it was a more efficient and effective way to do business with their independent dealer accounts.

Avail is being very deliberate with its on-boarding of new clients to assure that both Avail and the team dealer are ready for the partnership. “This is not a fit for everyone, but it is a fit for a team dealer who wants to grow and is willing to do things differently than they have in the past,” Hensen says.

He urges dealers to request a demo by going to https://www.availlabs.com.

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