Midwest Wholesale Hardware
Case Study: Midwest Wholesale Hardware
Industry: Hardwarer Distribution
Location: Kansas City, Missouri
Number of Employees: 69
Support a growing national wholesaler in its quest to improve efficiency and accuracy, reduce inventory, and identify opportunities for savings and new revenue streams.
SOLUTION- Epicor Prophet 21
Streamlined purchasing processes
Improved operational efficiency
Expanded vendor managed inventory offerings
Improved customer relations
About The Company
A national wholesaler of commercial door hardware, Midwest Wholesale Hardware (MWH) was founded in Kansas City, Missouri, in 1987. Over the past 25+ years, the company has expanded to six locations and 69 employees. In 2010, MWH began researching business systems to support its business visibility and processes. Working with an outside consultant, a selection committee made up of employees from across all departments reviewed several options, and ultimately chose the Epicor Prophet 21 enterprise resource planning (ERP) system. According to CEO Jorge Echave, “Prophet 21 was the clear-cut winner across all functional areas.”
MASTERING THE SYSTEM
The company went live on the solution in December 2011. Echave recalls, “Epicor Consultants were very helpful with pre-implementation, but in hindsight, we jumped off the deep end; it was an ‘all hands on deck’ situation for go-live. Even with the Epicor Learning Management System and the ‘play’ Prophet 21 database to refer to, we could’ve mitigated some initial pain by having more Support personnel at our headquarters location, commensurate with the number of employees there who would be using the system. We also would have spent more time on process development beforehand, mapping existing processes back to our customers.” As Midwest Wholesale Hardware became more comfortable with the Prophet 21 system, the company took advantage of many advanced features. For example, DynaChange® Portals provide customized visibility into day-to-day business processes at the transactional level within an organization.
According to Cindy Mesik, MWH Purchasing Manager, “The Portals have been really helpful; we have made productive use of them in Purchasing and Accounting. We eliminated manual steps and linked these functions, creating greater efficiency and accuracy. Sales tax reporting is faster, and we are using less paper.”
Epicor’s Wireless Warehouse Management System has been fully implemented at two MWH locations so far. “We are already experiencing fewer picking errors and reducing the number of returns at those locations,” states Echave.
A new e-commerce Web site supported by Epicor B2B Seller went live in August 2012. This soon increased Midwest Wholesale Hardware’s online business to 2 percent of total sales. “We were surprised and impressed that it happened so quickly,” Echave says. MWH also started using Advanced Demand Forecasting on major suppliers in August. “It’s outstanding on the Purchasing side,” notes Mesik.
SAVINGS, EFFICIENCY AND SUPPORT
As Midwest Wholesale Hardware enters its second year on the system, Echave projects, “We’re expecting a 25-30 percent reduction of inventory within the next six months, with little customer impact, and better inventory turns.” He adds, “As we are a heavy transaction type of distributor, we often have to ship from multiple locations for a single order. With some tailoring we’ve done to the Prophet 21 solution, the system now replenishes to the ‘ship to’ location, so there is less need for split shipments. This saves on freight expenses.”
Additional savings have come from streamlining processes. According to Echave, “We have nine fewer employees than we did before the implementation, due to retirements and other attrition. Five of those did not have to be replaced, due to the greater efficiencies within the ERP.” Regarding follow-up and communication supporting the solution, Echave comments, “Everyone I’ve dealt with at Epicor is really invested in making things right…even well after implementation. They’ve been very responsive.”
In addition, Midwest Wholesale Hardware takes advantage of opportunities to network and learn from other Epicor Prophet 21 customers, such as the Prophet 21 World Wide User Group (WWUG) and Insights, Epicor’s annual Global Customer Conference. Says Echave, “We are trying to get as much as we can out of Prophet 21; we need to have our ‘finger on the pulse’ of what’s happening with the technology.”
He concludes, “With as many pieces of our business that are being touched by Epicor Prophet 21, there are none where we were overpromised. Our expectations are definitely being met.”