Case Study: Kipp Brothers
Company: Kipp Brothers
Solution: Infor ERP
Product: FACTS Warehouse Management
Industry: Consumer Packaged Goods
About the company
From its headquarters and 100,000-square-foot warehouse just outside Indianapolis, Indiana, Kipp Brothers sells a wide variety of novelty gift items including small toys, party favors, mugs, key chains, costume jewelry, decorations, and seasonal items such as Easter baskets and Christmas ornaments. Founded in 1880, Kipp Brothers is a privately held importer and wholesaler, importing much of its diverse inventory from Taiwan and China. Kipp Brothers maintains more than 3,500 different items. Currently, the company serves more than 78,000 customers, ranging from large supermarkets and retail stores to schools, gift shops, and home users across North America, the Caribbean, Russia, Spain, and parts of South America.
Setting the strategy
Although the ownership of Kipp Brothers has changed over the years, the distributor continues to grow and flourish in a business environment that is increasingly challenging and competitive. With a large and diverse customer base, ordering patterns can be both
unpredictable and complex. Combine that with the many challenges of purchasing stock from Southeast Asia, where it takes 60 to 120 days to receive inventory, and it is amazing that Kipp Brothers successfully keeps its fill rates at above 90 percent and ships all orders within 24 hours of receipt. So how does Kipp Brothers efficiently manage the complex and unpredictable intricacies of its import and wholesale business while successfully servicing such a large and far-reaching customer base? The answer is Infor ERP FACTS Warehouse Management.
Getting business specific
When Bob Glenn, president of Kipp Brothers, began searching for software to help his company fill orders more quickly and accurately, he knew he needed one that was easy to use and could grow with the business. He selected Infor ERP FACTS Warehouse Management
because he believed the application met those criteria without question. After the application was implemented and up and running in a short time, Glenn was immediately impressed with the distribution functionality and the flexibility to customize the application to more precisely fit the company’s unique import business processes.
Results ans Benefits
With Infor ERP FACTS, Kipp Brothers has completely automated its inventory, sales order, invoicing, and accounting processes. According to Glenn, “Employees continue to reach higher levels of productivity, accuracy, and efficiency, dramatically improving our customer service and overall customer satisfaction.” Using Infor ERP FACTS, company managers also can quickly view reports on sales history, gaining access to key business information on customers, product trends, order history, and ways to improve inventory forecasting. Says Glenn, “Previously, when a customer wanted to know about past orders, someone would have to literally dig through paper files to locate the right information. Now with Infor ERP FACTS, comprehensive customer records are just a pointand- click away.” The company’s processes are streamlined, efficiencies are achieved, information is quickly accessible, and most importantly, customer service is improved. As part of the company’s shift to electronic commerce.
Kipp Brothers recently launched a new website that integrates with Infor ERP FACTS and enables customers to view, order, and purchase products online. Notes Glenn, “We now see about 40 percent of our orders conducted online, and our customer numbers are over 78,000.” One of the most dramatic benefits of Infor ERP FACTS is how it has improved the company’s cash flow. “At Kipp Brothers, we turn our inventory three or four times a year, which is a lot for the import business,” says Glenn. “FACTS helps forecast how much inventory I need for a specified period, which is about all you can ask for in this business. It’s hard to predict how much our customers will order or if a typhoon or strike at the docks will delay receipt of our shipments. Sometimes we need a crystal ball.” Since implementing the Infor ERP FACTS Warehouse Management module, Glenn has seen impressive improvements in productivity throughout all processes in the warehouse. “With Infor ERP FACTS Warehouse Management, we have reduced our inventory overhead from $2.2 million to $1.3 million, significantly improving our overall cash flow and inventory investment,” says Glenn. “The entire materials handling process is automated with Warehouse Management. Employees have access to realtime data on every aspect of warehouse operations. Both customers and employees have access to real-time inventory. The application is so easy to use that employees can be trained on it in as little as an hour. Previously, it took at least a week to get workers trained in the warehouse.” Infor ERP FACTS Warehouse Management has redefined the way Kipp Brothers manages its inventory. Gone is the company’s tedious year-end inventory process that involved the entire warehouse staff manually counting
items. Now, Kipp Brothers uses just two people for inventory cycle-counting. “Since cycle-counting is now so fast and easy, it’s done continuously rather than just at year’s end," Glenn explains. "Now we know exactly how much inventory is on hand at all times."
Glenn is also pleased with the personalized service the company receives from Alternative Business Systems, Infor’s solution partner. As a long-term user of Infor ERP FACTS, Glenn further mentions the true bottom-line benefit of the application, which can best be summed up by the company’s successful expansion without increasing overhead. "Infor ERP FACTS Warehouse Management has
enabled us to process orders more quickly, provide better customer service, and improve our cash flow, positioning us to more than double our business without additional investments in equipment or personnel. The application has also allowed us to expand our fulfillment business by offering our order-filling services to other companies.”
Doing business better
After more than a century in business, Kipp Brothers knows what it takes to be successful and stay at the top of its game. It continues to look for ways to streamline processes, lower costs, and improve customer service. Before Infor ERP FACTS Warehouse Management, the company printed about 50,000 sales order forms twice a year, plus 100,000 invoices a year, and mailed all of them. Glenn adds, “We are now greener because we no longer print forms and invoices.
50 percent of our customers have their invoices emailed to them. We will continue to consult with Infor as we grow and move into the future.