For Campbell Supply Company, A Commitment to the Highest Level of Service Drives Success

When Whitman “Woody” Campbell founded Campbell Supply Company in 1967, his focus was on selling and servicing fire apparatus and equipment. The company was successful from the outset and quickly grew and expanded. In the 1980s, Woody’s son Scott joined the company, and it was then that they began supplying fire trucks and equipment to the cities of New York and Philadelphia. Campbell Supply Company again underwent another major expansion in the late 1990s, with Scott Campbell assembling a core team to lead the company into the 21st century. Many among that group are still with the company, including John Craft, who was brought in as his partner to handle CFO duties, and oversees IT.

Today, Campbell Supply Company has expanded to include 7 locations from lower New York to South New Jersey, staffed by well over 300 people, and its state-of-the-art facility in South Brunswick, New Jersey, has more than 35 service bays. While the company has grown considerably, it continues to be family owned and operated. A third generation of Campbells, Spencer, Mason, and Emily, all work in the business and are preparing to lead it into the future. In addition to carrying Freightliner, Western Star, and Isuzu vehicles, among others, Campbell still proudly sells and services emergency vehicles.

Craft likes to quote Scott Campbell who describes the dealership as “corporately blessed,” meaning that the talented people who are the heart of the business share in and live out the company values of honesty and integrity. As Craft puts it, “Those values start with the leadership team, but they’ve filtered down throughout the company. Our whole team cares deeply about our customers and is committed to the highest level of service. They can be counted on to do the right thing all the time, not just when it’s convenient.”

Procede Software—A New Player with A Different Approach and Modern Technology
When Craft joined Campbell, the dealership was using a home-grown business system that they modified to work for the emergency vehicle side of the operation, which worked well enough for some things, but was not going to support future growth. After some research, the Campbell team implemented a leading commercial DMS at the time, but they continued to struggle: the green screen felt like going back in time, data was locked down, they couldn’t write reports, and it seemed like they were on the phone with the company every day, working through issues.

It was then that Craft first heard of Procede Software through another dealership. He reached out to the company to talk and liked what he heard. “When I initially engaged with Procede Software, we talked broadly about their business philosophy and their responsibility to their customers: their understanding of the value of data and making it accessible to the dealers was clear from the beginning. From a technology standpoint, I appreciated that the software was SQL based and that the open architecture would allow for integrations.”

Based on these discussions, the Campbell team decided to take a chance on Procede—a new player with a different approach and more modern technology—and Excede DMS was implemented at their emergency vehicle dealership in 2002 and commercial franchise dealership in 2004. As Craft recalls, Excede had a big impact on the business from the outset: “With our previous DMS, we were constrained in our thought processes in terms of what it could do for us, but after implementing Excede DMS, our thinking shifted to what we could do for ourselves. At the end of the day, Excede DMS helped us manage parts better, service better, and customer relationships better. It enabled us to make better decisions about our business.”

“Now, after nearly 20 years of relying on Excede DMS, I am confident there is no better product in the industry,” said Craft. “The software continues to improve every year, and I would say that it has evolved as far and fast as trucks have evolved.”

Partnering Across the Industry to Solve Common Problems
From the outset, Procede Software was committed to building good relationships with OEMs and with the ecosystem at large. They wanted to partner across the industry with OEMs, third-party vendors, and their customers to solve common problems across a range of dealerships and brands. The company’s founders understood that strong integrations and access to data would be critical components in advancing the industry and their own technology.

As an early adopter of Excede DMS, Craft has been an eye witness to how these themes—partnerships, integrations, and data access—have evolved, and of course, Campbell Supply Company has played an important role in all of them. Craft shared a memory about the first Procede Software Conference, where the seeds of the first Daimler integration were planted. Craft recounts, “A representative from Daimler attended, and we talked about challenges with adding vehicles. Someone else was in attendance who had developed a more efficient way of doing it, and it was out of that initial conversation that the Daimler integration eventually came to be.”

According to Craft, the ability for dealers to come together at those early conferences coupled with the easy access to their data had other lasting impacts, “For the first time, we were able to take data from a group of dealerships and have conversations about it in the aggregate. This helped us identify issues and show opportunities for efficiencies and increased productivity across the group—not just one dealer—that we could take back to the OEMs.”

“In this industry, there is a commonality to what we do, and people lean on one another. Dealerships have common interests and common problems, and no one dealership has the big picture. Through their annual user conference, Procede brings dealerships together and get everyone talking and working collaboratively to solve those problems and move the industry forward,” Craft continued. “That’s the power of having multiple dealers come together around a common solution—it drives our collective success.”

Another moment that stands out to Craft involves building a third-party integration: “We were having a challenge with our credit card processing provider, and I mentioned it to someone at Procede. It was really just an off-the-cuff comment, but suddenly, I started getting phone calls and emails—the team jumped in to solve the problem. The Procede team came through for us with a better solution.”

“We’ve always been able to rely on the Procede Software team to help us solve our challenges. They give us so much to think about, from new processes to better solutions. I can’t speak highly enough about them. They’re talented people with vision and passion—just incredible at what they do.”

Looking Ahead: Continued Success Built on Strong Relationships
Like many of Procede Software’s customers, Campbell Supply Company participates in the Excede Insider Program, which gives dealerships insight into the Excede DMs roadmap and the opportunity to provide input and feedback on new products, features, and enhancements. However, Campbell is unique in that they have a dedicated resource, Matt Silverman, whose primary focus is ensuring the dealership gets the most out of the tool, including participating in the program.

Craft explains, “Excede DMS is so integral to running our business, and there is such value to it that we proactively invest in it so we can become better at what we do. Typically, people only master 80% of their technology, but this ensures we’re able to use 100% of the functionality Excede has to offer.” Looking ahead, Craft is excited about where the industry is headed and what the future holds for Campbell Supply Company, as well as all the new functionality coming in Excede DMS v10.2. “The Excede Insider Program helps us run our business better today, but it’s also how we are preparing for tomorrow.”

In closing out our conversation, Craft had this to say: “At the end of the day, our success as a dealership is always going to be about our partnerships: it’s vital to our existence that we have strong relationships with our OEMs and our DMS provider. Looking back over our nearly 20 years of working together, it’s clear that Procede Software excels at partnerships—there’s nobody better.”

Those are kind words, and we appreciate them—Campbell Supply Company was one of our first customers, and Scott Campbell, John Craft, and their entire team have been with us through every step of our growth. In our estimation, they are indeed “corporately blessed”—they set a new standard for partnerships, their corporate values of honesty and integrity are apparent in every interaction, and we are deeply grateful that they took a chance on Procede Software all those years ago.