About the Company
“America’s workplace safety expert.” That’s how Zee Medical Service of Reading, PA describes itself, being the nation’s largest van-based distributor of first aid and safety solutions to industry. Local distributors send out trucks to 300,000 manufacturing plants, construction firms, restaurants, hotels, and offices across the continent, fully equipped with everything from first-aid kits to safety glasses. Zee Medical Service of Reading, PA, has been family-owned and operated for more than 25 years. Its vans visit up to 640 businesses every day. In addition to supplies, Zee Medical Service helps customers with specialty items like respiratory protection, machine guarding, and hearing protection, and it provides on-site training on 40 subjects, including blood-borne pathogens, confined space procedures, and CPR.
Each of Zee Medical’s 32 vans is a mobile warehouse. The better its inventory matches customers’ needs, the better its daily sales and the fewer back orders processed. Unfortunately, the old UNIX-based system the company had used for years was outdated, poorly integrated, and not Y2K compliant. It lacked forecasting data or insights on individual customer buying patterns. It could not sustain company growth and serve Zee Medical’s needs for mobile order fulfillment or e-commerce.
Zee Medical Service switched to a Microsoft Windows® platform and Sage 100 ERP* and found everything it wanted and more. “Sage 100 ERP gives us the information we need for managing multiple warehouses, with the scalability to handle a higher volume of users on the system,” says Pris McClain, controller and financial manager at Zee Medical Service. “We have sped up backorders, eliminated downtime, and developed strategies so we know what customers will want in advance. In other words, we’re working a lot smarter than we used to, and it shows in improved productivity.”
Results & Benefits
Before the advent of Sage 100 ERP, Zee’s truck inventories were a week behind, since sales orders were delivered in batches for the prior week. Now orders are faxed in every night and entered into the Sage 100 ERP system. “We now know exactly what was sold the day before,” explains McClain. “Soon we’ll be able to print out call reports for reps and then, based on those reports, prepare inventory in advance. Delivery times have been reduced, and there’s still room for further improvements in the future.” A related benefit, according to McClain, has been a widening of Zee’s inventory offerings, since less stock needs to be maintained on the premises at any given time. McClain says that customer service has improved as well. “When a client asks, we can tell them the exact status of their order. We make detailed notes in the system, recording updates from vendors, and comments from customer phone calls. We even put driving instructions in the notes, so substitute drivers can easily take over a route.”
Zee maintains an Access® database with various types of customer lists, essential because bill-to addresses are often different than ship-to locations, and many different representatives may serve a single account. Its reseller used Sage tools to create a seamless interface with the Sage 100 ERP system, made possible by its flexibility and open database connectivity. Plans include switching to a Visual Integrator database interface in the near future for even easier accessibility.
Zee has also scheduled implementation of the Sage Remote Salesperson module as part of its total automation strategy. “We selected Sage 100 ERP in the first place because they keep offering useful additions to the product line, demonstrating their commitment to the distribution industry,” comments McClain. “I am always eager to see their latest upgrades because they’re typically things we need.” McClain can now perform numerous analyses that were never possible before. She can scrutinize territories by sales rep and find top producers. She can create trend reports on products sold, profit margins, or discounts by product line. These insights have led to changes in compensation structures, to generate maximum msales and profits.
“Sage 100 ERP is to accounting packages what Microsoft Office
is to business software—brilliant, full-featured, and way ahead
of the competition,” says McClain. “That must be why I like it so
much. It’s just like us.”
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