East Coast Defender ®
Scott Wallace and Elliot Humble
East Coast Defender is a growing manufacturer of custom vehicles, based in Kissimmee, Florida. They started small, but they have really grown as interest continues to build in the unique way of transforming Land Rovers into their signature Defenders. "Just four years ago, we were inside a single-car garage," says Brandon Guerrero, the company's Parts Manager. "We moved from single to a three-car garage, and now we're in a massive facility. What we build isn't something you see on the road every day. We start it from the ground up where other companies just get a car brand new and that's it, it's yours. We get the chassis and get the axles and rebuild them. Everything's all new inside and there's nothing reused. New engines, new drivetrains, new axles, all-new seating, new carpeting - everything is new inside of it."
"Every car is torn down to the chassis and then fully rebuilt, so there's no nut and bolt that's left untouched," notes Elliot Humble, Co-Founder of East Coast Defender. "It was just a really small operation of bringing in classic Land Rovers from the UK and selling them. And that seemed to quickly grow into a big custom operation where we were importing a lot more Defenders, a lot of parts, and building some really custom one-off Land Rover Defenders."
"People say, 'I've got a Ferrari," and they're like, 'Oh, a Ferrari,'" says Scott Wallace, the other Co-Founder of East Coast Defender, imitating an impressed tone. "But it's the same as the other Ferraris. So our truck - there aren't two alike. What we're doing is, it's a bit like if this was the conception of a child. You're saying, 'What sex do you want it to be? What color eyes do you want it to have? What DNA do you want it to show? How do you want it to behave?' And then we build it for you. Where else? There isn't another manufacturer in the world that can do that."
Humble adds, "For me, this is pretty much everything. I mean, I grew up just loving cars, everything about cars. I always just wanted to mess around with cars, drive cars, race cars, all this sort of stuff. And we've set up a business building custom English 4x4s in America, so that's pretty cool."
One of the key features of East Coast Defender is its ability to be introspective and always be on the lookout for ways to improve the way it does business. "When you come inside of our business, it's a little bit different world," notes Guerrero. "We're in a world where we criticize ourselves on a daily basis." Wallace adds, "We take a problem, we say, 'Why is it a problem?' and we're going to fix it. And our inventory management was one of those issues." Guerrero says, "We were using a software system that worked, but it wasn't efficient. It wasn't good enough for us." And Humble has this insight into the inventory management challenge the company faced, "When we would order any parts for any cars, we didn't really have any tracking or any method of ordering other than what was in our heads."
Once they understood the problem, they began hunting for the right solution. Wallace says, "I researched a number of inventory management software solutions that just didn't fit, and I was dealing with sales teams and I felt like I was in a process. I didn't feel that anyone was really listening to what I was saying we did. But when I contacted Fishbowl and I said, 'Look, this is what we do,' not only did they listen, they went, 'Look at the different variations of the models. Look at the number of components. Look at the accessibility of parts.' And I went, 'That's us!' And that's why Fishbowl is the best solution."
Fishbowl turned out to be exactly what they were looking for. Referring to Fishbowl, Wallace explains, "It's a bit like our product. When somebody says, 'I want a gun box hidden in the rear carriage with security on it,' most would say, 'Well, we can't do that.' We go, 'Yeah, we can do that.' And Fishbowl is of that mentality, like, 'Yeah, we can do that.' They were the one company that said, 'You haven't got to take this one-size-fits-all and keep it.'"
Like Fishbowl, East Coast Defender is always aiming higher and its staff pushes itself to do even better each day. "It doesn't interest us getting out of bed to make money," Wallace says. "What excites us is building the next truck better than the last truck and better and better and better and better."
Visit http://eastcoastdefender.com to learn more about its custom vehicles. In addition, you can watch a video case study of East Coast Defender.