Epicor Prophet 21 | Field Fastener Supply

Case Study: Field Fastener Supply
Solution: Epicor Prophet 21
Industry: Fastener Distribution
Location: Rockford, Illinois
Help a Machesney Park, IL-based fastener distributor
leverage the technology to build on a history of success,
while making the improvements necessary to succeed
in the future
Streamlined purchasing processes
Improved operational efficiency
Expanded vendor managed inventory offerings
Improved customer relations
About The Company
When Jim Derry and his brother purchased Field Fastener Supply in 1990, they took the helm of a small but successful fastener distributor serving customers in and around its Rockford, IL, headquarters. By the time the new ownership celebrated their first year in business, the transformation from local wholesaler to a progressive, nationwide organization focusing on vendor managed inventory (VMI) was well underway. A constant during this time was Field’s Activant Faspac solution, which Derry says provided the push needed to take Field down the path he envisioned. “VMI was a cornerstone of our business model, so implementing technology designed for that process made an immediate difference,” recalls Derry.
Fast forward to 2005, to the moment when present and future converged and Derry saw the writing on the wall: implement new technology, or risk being held back. “We maximized Faspac’s technology to the fullest, and it served us well, but we were growing at a rapid rate, and we needed to get technology in place that could advance with us,” Derry says. Favoring incremental improvements over a dramatic overhaul, Derry and his team assessed the feature sets of potential replacements, along with the training procedures, support programs, and long-term vision of the companies behind the software. When the dust cleared, Activant Prophet 21TM stood out from the crowd. “It came down to improving on what we had built, and the functionality and distribution expertise of Prophet 21 meant that it would be the solution we could use for a long time,” he says.
Heading Home
Born and raised in Rockford, IL, hometown of Field’s original headquarters, Derry graduated college with a degree in mechanical engineering, but spent the years before Field selling computer systems in Minnesota. Not one for the corporate world, Derry looked at the opportunity to purchase Field as a way to fulfill his desire to work in an environment with a more connected, hands-on feel. “I didn’t see myself spending 40 years in corporate America, when I had the chance to get my arms around something I could actually manage,” recalls Derry. “Moving to Field was more in sync with my education, plus, it was located in my hometown, and returning to Rockford meant a lot to me.”
Effective Improvements
When considering the move to Prophet 21, Derry knew that, because of the movement toward sourcing material from Asia and the resulting need to carry more inventory, streamlining purchasing processes was a top priority. With Prophet 21’s purchase order requirement generator (PORG), Derry has kept inventory investment manageable, despite the longer lead times associated with international trade. “The PORG module lets my purchasing staff operate more efficiently because everything can be done from one screen,” Derry explains. “They can review and analyze requirements, make decisions, and place orders in the same spot, all without having to print and study purchasing reports.”
A hallmark of Field’s operations since 1990, VMI is another process that has seen substantial improvements with Prophet 21. By utilizing Prophet 21’s handheld bin management functionality, which allows inventory information scanned at the customer location to be sent to Prophet 21 via a wireless connection, Field’s outside sales team has enhanced the effectiveness of the VMI process. “Because our guys can go to the customer, scan the order, and upload it into Prophet 21 in real time, we process VMI orders more efficiently and better manage customer relationships,” Derry says.
With one eye focused firmly on the horizon, Derry sees Activant continuing to play an integral role in Field’s growth, and looks for Prophet 21 to provide for them well into the future. He concludes: “Activant has done a lot of great things for us, and we appreciate the relationship thus far. We needed one solution to do it all – that’s what Prophet 21 does – and that’s what we’ll need to keep us competitive as we grow.”

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