Connecticut Parts Distributor Moves to SX.enterprise™
International Commercial Supply is a privately-owned distributor headquartered in Winsted, Connecticut. The business began in 1984 with four employees as a niche supplier for catalog sales of replacement parts for commercial kitchen equipment. Today the company has 74 employees located in Winsted and in a satellite distribution center in Las Vegas, Nevada.
“Our previous system was a DOS based application that was really built for a manufacturing environment, not for a distributor,” explains Linda Pieszak, the company’s Operations Manager and Controller. “It was not able to grow with the company and we spent over $100,000 over the past several years in consulting and programming fees to keep the system running. We also built a parallel application in Access to provide the distribution functionality we were lacking. In terms of efficiency within each department, paper was being handled too many times without sufficient checks and balances. Report options were extremely limited, which made financial planning a challenge. We needed a system that streamlined our procedures and allowed us to be more proactive in our approach to running the business.”
Conducting the Software Search
Once the decision was made to forge ahead with the commitment to purchase and implement new software, ICS began their search by soliciting information from software companies that specifically designed software for distributors. Starting with an initial group of twelve candidates, the field was narrowed down to three finalists. Each was invited to conduct a presentation for the selection team which included the Information Technology Manager, the Assistant to the Controller, and Linda, the company’s Operations Manager and Controller.
“After the presentations, we concluded that Expertek with SX.enterprise was by far the superior choice,” says Linda Pieszak. “Although the other companies had features that were enticing, only Expertek could provide the total package. We were looking for a product that could offer as many of the features we were looking for ‘right out of the box’. We did not want to invest in major modifications. We especially liked the fact that when Expertek made their presentation, they related it directly to the way we conducted our business, and they offered tangible process improvements that we would be able to implement with the software.”
Making It All Work
“The implementation process went well,” says Linda. “I felt our staff members were well prepared. We had a few minor initial problems that caused some frustration, but they were resolved quickly and the system has worked smoothly ever since. It met our expectations.” ICS found that internal team training and assistance from Expertek worked best for their organization. “We tried the computer-based training tools, but our people responded better to training from Expertek and our own implementation team.”
Reaping the Rewards
“The new software has enabled us to streamline our processes as desired,” explains Linda. “We have been able to rearrange staff and cut back in several areas. Our service to our customers is quicker and more efficient. Our workday now ends at least 15 minutes earlier than before, and we are now able to meet our UPS deadlines reliably and consistently.” By implementing SX.enterprise’s Buyer’s Control Center, the company has also made significant improvements in purchasing efficiency and reduced excess inventories. The system also found opportunities to reallocate surpluses between branches to achieve a better overall stock balance.
“Our plans with Expertek now include implementing Event Manager to make us more proactive in monitoring and responding to activities in the business,” states Linda. Automating credit card processing and implementing a Web-based ordering and customer service are also on the horizon. With more time available to manage now, the company is also focused on vendor performance measurement and implementing advanced inventory management.