Linder’s Inc has been around for nearly a hundred years, and only began to embrace technology in the past decade when Barry Thunberg became the Controller in 2011. Synergy between the four departments is essential to Linder’s doing its best business, and the company tried a number of technology options before finding their optimal solution. In a recent conversation, Barry told us what Linder’s does best is “sell parts, sell cars, and have happy employees. AKUITY has done a lot to help us do all three of those.”
Read on to learn how AKUITY was able to help Linder’s goals become their reality.
In 1922, Linder’s Inc. began reselling auto parts in Worcester, MA. The company has since expanded to include auto sales, service, and a scrap yard. In recent years, the Internet has allowed Linder’s to expand these operations: rather than just word-of-mouth, they now reach buyers nationwide. “Like most companies, we rely on technology more and more,” explained Barry Thunberg, Linder’s Controller. “Computer systems have become our life blood.”
Linder’s was looking to upgrade their technology by the time Barry joined the company in 2011, but computers aren’t Barry’s only concern. “I never quite know on a day-to-day basis which hat I’m going to have on,” Barry said, listing Finance, HR, and Operations among his obligations. “IT would be a major component of that as well,” Barry added, recalling that when he started, “on a daily basis, somebody was in my office with a problem. Maybe multiple times a day.” If Barry couldn’t resolve an issue, he reached out to their IT person, who programmed their systems, noting that, “Whenever anything went wrong, he had to come try and fix his own programming.”
This process wasn’t working for Barry, and the regular downtime was detrimental to Linder’s. Barry recognized that for the business to meet its goals, he needed a better solution for technology support.
Linder’s first IT vendor didn’t reduce Barry’s IT burden, as they, “would only come out when something was broken.” For example, when Linder’s had a ransomware attack, Linder’s previous IT company wasn’t sure, “whether we could get the data back. They thought the best course of action would be to pay the ransom.” Barry was shocked by this response and wondered, “Why do we have you guys? You’re supposed to be in charge of the backups. I’m an accountant!” Linder’s eventually recovered most of the data, but lost days in the process. While Barry doesn’t think this company was keeping their systems broken intentionally, he does think they weren’t equipped for the job.
Barry found a better solution in the Managed IT Service model one provider showed, but wanted a second opinion. He met with AKUITY as they were, “big enough, local, and one of the sales guys kept calling me.” Barry liked his options, and ultimately chose AKUITY for two reasons: a lower cost than the larger-market firm, and the AKUITY team, “impressed us with their knowledge and capabilities.”
While onboarding, Barry felt AKUITY’s engineers made sure they developed a thorough understanding of Linder’s setup before making recommendations. Once they knew the full scope of Linder’s existing infrastructure, business challenges, and goals, AKUITY developed a plan to make improvements gradually yet efficiently, and as unobtrusively as possible, including over nights and weekends when the Linder’s offices were closed. Initially, AKUITY was on-site regularly making improvements, but at this point the engineer, “comes in on a monthly basis and has very little [left] for us to improve,” Barry said, adding that, “Over time, things have just gotten better and better.”
“Since we went to AKUITY, our up-time has been way better,” Barry noted, thinking back to how different things could have been had the ransom attempt happened under AKUITY’s watch. “We’re not losing out on revenue because our systems aren’t down,” he said.
Barry said technology is no longer a burden on him, sharing that he, “went on vacation last year, and we had a hard drive failure. AKUITY’s managed care system picked up on it while I was on vacation. I was notified. The new part was ordered, the drive was put in, all the information was put back on the drive. When I got back from vacation I saw the entire trail of it – it was taken care of while I was gone. In the old system, this would have been a crisis. We would have paid for something that broke, but AKUITY recognized it way before and took care of it. To me, that’s part of the managed care system that we were sold, and to me, it works,” Barry smiled. “That kept us up.”
Employees still ask for Barry’s advice, but now have the ability to resolve problems on their own. “I don’t have many people showing up at my door anymore because they know how to open their own tickets, they make their own phone calls if there’s a problem, and problems get resolved quickly.”
Barry went on to say he gets regular updates about the overall health of his infrastructure, including backups, security, ticket status, battery power, and various monitoring systems. “That gives me comfort, in that we have a lot of technology that we’re relying on, and the monitoring systems are taking care of it.” When asked if all Linder’s employees had found the same confidence, Barry laughed. “There’s no doubt,” he said. “They were really frustrated before – everybody was. I think they feel great now.”
As it turns out, Barry had met with AKUITY years ago. He recalls AKUITY, “had proposed a managed care system a long time ago. We couldn’t wrap our heads around that at the time – it seemed like we’d be paying for something but not actually using it. So we ended up going with a pay-for-something-when-it-breaks type IT company. Now, realizing what AKUITY does in the background, I don’t feel like we’re paying for something we’re not using.”
In closing, Barry said the benefit is quite simple. “A business wants to do what it does best. AKUITY does what it does best, which is to keep a company’s IT functions running. A company like us, what we do best is sell parts, sell cars, and have happy employees. AKUITY has done a lot to help us do all three of those.”