Automated Drive Systems, Nebraska

“The affordability to performance ratio for Total ETO is outstanding in every department.”

Brenden Fritz, President

Automated Drive Systems provides a complete offering of industrial and process control products and services. This includes system design assistance, installation, and service of variable frequency drives, soft starts, and DC drives. They have been growing quickly in recent years and still strive to provide the highest quality equipment and customer support.

Size of Company

Omaha, Nebraska



Salesforce and,

Business Challenge
ADS was struggling to strengthen their buying power and gain more control in procurement. They were manually entering every part number for every BOM, which was time-consuming and problematic. Time tracking was also a struggle, as was capturing important data that is relevant for scaling.

Total ETO was able to eliminate double entry and find several ways to streamline their engineering and procurement processes. Parts are now tracked; both internally and externally. Time is also properly tracked and recorded to each project.

Dynamic Benefits & Results
– Accurate accounting to judge the efficiency of a project and spot errors.
– Shipping and receiving are now organized and error free. 
– Additional revenue from having a system that helps them to easily sell spare parts.
– Increased profits from tracking time-in-motion and other metrics.




ADS needed better buying power and more control in procurement. As President Brenden Fritz described it, “shipping and receiving was a scavenger hunt with nightmare paperwork”. They needed to enter part numbers manually which meant procurement required 2-5 hours to build the BOM, for every project. It was time-consuming but even worse, prone to many errors that caused more problems and more inefficiencies. Additionally, spare or unused parts from a build were difficult to trace, often resulting in lost opportunities and wasted investments.


Time tracking was a major problem too for the organization. They were using to do time-in-motion because it was the easiest way to get some basic tracking. However, they knew that most of their employees’ time wasn’t being recorded properly. That meant there were some projects they took on that didn’t turn a profit at all. Unfortunately, they didn’t have the data to tell them which jobs or how much they were losing.





Automated Drive Systems was using Salesforce as an ERP, which the team described as being “ok for accounting but the ERP component was severely lacking”. This was especially evident when ADS took on more customers with complicated BOMs. Salesforce could only track 100 parts, which quickly “turned a project into chaos”.


As President Fritz said, “at one point in time we had a form that would travel with every panel and after every QC test there was a plus/minus sheet for the technicians at various stages to remove parts that were either on there and shouldn’t have been or weren’t on there and should have been. That’s great until you do a cycle count and realize there’s $10,000 worth of parts walking out that back door that people forgot to mark down… The process was very broken”.


Furthermore, Automated Drive Systems knew they were missing out on a lot of data that could help improve efficiency and profitability. They were also getting frustrated! As a small business, the scramble for parts and the redundant paperwork was annoying and laborious, worst of all, it was preventing their growth. It didn’t take long for ADS to see that their current combination of software platforms was holding them back.


ADS had been searching for a solution for about 18 months before they discovered Total ETO. They had looked at other ERPs, that were 3 to 4 times the price and still didn’t provide the flexibility they needed. When the team experienced a demo of our software solution, they were immediately impressed! So much so, the Procurement Manager said that he would quit if they didn’t purchase Total ETO.





Accurate Accounting
The accountant at ADS loves cost accounting and was excited to see the data that Total ETO could provide. This kind of information makes it easy to accurately judge the efficiency of a project, spot errors, and determine the cost of those errors. It’s a relief to the ADS team that our ERP integrates with popular accounting systems, including QuickBooks, which they use. They learned quickly that they could trust the data that Total ETO collects. “Even just the time tracking portion alone has given us a crazy different level of optics for our operation and has made huge changes in how we do things”, says Fritz.


Shipping and Receiving are a Dream
Shipping and receiving was a “scavenger hunt with nightmare paperwork”. Now, it’s organized and efficient. Receiving can easily cross reference parts and quickly label them as they come in. This ensures they get to the right project. With Total ETO, Automated Drive Systems can open a screen on their device, which will show the parts that haven’t arrived yet in red. It makes it easy for them to take action, minimizing both downtime and the stress of last-minute scrambling.


Additional Revenue
Thanks to the functionality that Total ETO has, ADS was seeing additional revenue right away. With their old system, it was too difficult to sell spare parts. Now, if a client asks for parts, they just click a couple of buttons and have an immediate quote for them. It’s so easy and profitable, that Automated Drive Systems is offering that service to all new clients. They’re even reaching out to past clients now, being proactive about selling parts, because “it’s so easy to grab quotes for any and all projects, now we’re capturing revenue that was going to somebody else”.


Increased Profits
Automated Drive Systems was using to track time-in-motion. They knew there were a lot of gaps and consequences with this method but didn’t realize the severity until they used Total ETO. Not only was it easier for all the staff, it was far more accurate. ADS immediately saw they weren’t billing clients properly. In some cases, the difference was so significant that it worked out ADS was paying the client $350 to produce their project (the cost of the project to build, was $350 more than what ADS charged them).


Later when that same client needed a new project and was faced with a quote that was much more than they used to spend, the client was okay with it. ADS could show the data from Total ETO that confirmed previous costs were too little. Since the client could see the data, it was easy for them to agree and continue working with ADS.


Convenient Customizations
To assist Automated Drive Systems with their use of Total ETO and adapt to their processes, several customizations were completed in our ERP. This includes an Excel file BOM Import Tool and the related Project Material Estimate tool to generate an estimate from the imported BOM.


Another customization was designed to improve parts tracking. Staff at ADS were manually entering part numbers for all their projects. They wanted to use the barcode on each box instead to simply scan it. However, there were times when it wasn’t a barcode but a UPC instead. They had the idea to modify labels to have a QR code, making it their own customized part number. Automated Drive Systems reached out to Stan, their PM from Total ETO. Just four days later he had the solution. Now ADS labels have a QR code, saving them several hours each week. It also removes the potential for errors.


A custom report was also created for process schedules, designed to contain the information they needed to control their manufacturing process internally.  These customizations enhanced Total ETO allowing it to include features that increased and controlled their production and provided mission-critical information.


Automated Drive Systems is always trying to improve their processes and like to think outside of the box. President Fritz himself has said “we’ve gone to Total ETO with some pretty crazy ideas and requests. But they’re a partner that listens to the questions and is always trying to help. We call them and say – ‘hey, I’ve got another weird one for you’… the response is never ‘you’re bonkers’, it’s always ‘we can do that’!”.


Time Saved

Engineers, designers, and procurement staff spent about 1,400 hours a year manually building their BOMs. Not only was it redundant and time-consuming, it meant there were errors and other setbacks. Eliminating that double entry and redundant work greatly reduced errors and speeds up the completion time for each project.


A Renewed Passion

The team at ADS loves being Custom Panel Builders. They see it as a privilege to lend their experience and skill set to help a lot of businesses. It’s wonderful to hear from President Fritz that “Total ETO helps ADS be the company we want to be”.


The system and processes have improved functionality throughout ADS, and greatly reduced errors. Employees aren’t drowning in paperwork and manual entry any more; this improves efficiency as well as morale.



The affordability to performance ratio for Total ETO is outstanding in every department.”
Brenden Fritz, President