As they celebrate 130 years in 2024, Brunton, the oldest compass company in the world, has a long standing history of being made right here in the United States — from start to finish.
“We're a start-to-finish operation — we engineer, we design, we manufacture, we warehouse — we're all here under one roof which is really pretty unique these days,” stated Lauren Heerschap, Owner, CEO, Marketing and Sales Director at Brunton. “For a while there, it was a little bit scattered in terms of where the leadership was, but it's really great to be under one roof again.”
After Lauren and David Heerschap took over ownership of the company in 2021, their initial goal was getting the company back on a good foundation, while focusing on making the best compasses in the world for geology, military, and outdoor recreation.
“By making really good compasses, we can keep everything made here. We can keep it in-house, have full control over quality, and also be able to innovate rather quickly or improve things rather quickly because it's all here.” stated Lauren.
But, part of getting back on a good foundation and sustaining their start-to-finish operation meant that they needed an ERP and B2B system that made it easy for their dealers and reps to streamline their wholesale ordering process.
“I had this big whiteboard as we contemplated and worked on purchasing Brunton back in 2021. I knew we would need an upgraded ERP system. And, so that had to come first.” explained Lauren.
“I started out in sales the year we purchased Brunton… I entered purchase orders daily. It took me half an hour each [order] to enter all of our orders manually,” Lauren reflected. “NetSuite [had] a B2B capability, but as we looked at it, it just wasn't what we envisioned as a kind of a user experience that we wanted our dealers to have.”
So, they started to evaluate several different B2B platform options. One of them included Envoy B2B – recommended to them by one of their external sales reps. After receiving a personalized demo for the platform, the choice was clear.
“Envoy B2B was a combination of the most intuitive and simple [B2Bs]. We didn't need all the bells and whistles. We just wanted something that would work and be intuitive for us and for our users. That's really what we liked about Envoy B2B. Just knowing the nightmares we went through trying to implement NetSuite because we didn't have a good team, we wanted a good team to help us [implement our] B2B.”
Throughout the process, Envoy B2B’s customer success team walked step-by-step with Brunton to complete their turnkey Netsuite integration and set up their B2B for success. Within the first month of setting it up, Brunton’s team noticed that the time previously spent on manually entering in orders was freed up, now allowing their team to focus on growing other areas of their business like their marketing department.
Other features that helped Brunton create a firm foundation included easily being able to import order spreadsheets into their B2B, gaining personalized training meetings from Envoy’s Customer Success team, and having access to knowledge base tutorials within the B2B that could be translated into other languages for their global sales reps.
“I can see stress levels going down and time opening up for more fun,” stated Lauren.
Now, with their streamlined B2B up and running, Brunton has big goals coming for 2024.
Since 1930, Brunton has been under contract for their military transit — and in 2024, they plan to unveil that transit commercially. That's a significant project that Brunton has been working on for decades, and they're excited to share it with the world.
Along with that, Lauren stated that they have big goals to become the main supplier of analog compasses for the U.S. military.
“The military and our allies are seeing a return to land navigation skills… every soldier needs to be able to navigate if GPS gets cut off. And so these compasses are really important. We're excited about the potential for Brunton to become the main compass supplier,” explained Lauren.
Their other vision is to continue being a leader in the geology sector throughout the world.
“Around the world, geologists, when they pick up their compass, call it a Brunton. Even if it's not a Brunton, they call it [one],” stated Lauren. “[But] we're still trying to grow. We're still trying to capture Europe where our [main] competition is. Our vision there is to, by focusing on Europe, truly continue to be the global geological compass.”
Overall, getting back to the route of navigation has always been Brunton’s focus. And with a B2B that supports their mission, streamlines their wholesale process, and digitally enables their dealers and reps — Brunton is able to continue their long-standing legacy of being the gold standard in compasses and transits, all while being a start-to-finish operation in the United States.