YARDLEY, PA, March 31, 2004 - Every distributor faces similar challenges, says Jennifer Arndt, CFO of S.L. Fusco, Inc. "It's how you handle them that makes the difference," she said.
To battle common challenges - like shrinking margins and the expenses associated with endless manual tasks, S.L. Fusco invested in Prophet 21 CommerceCenter, a Windows-based, SQL Server enterprise software solution designed for distributors. "CommerceCenter helps us compete through increased efficiencies and flexibility," Arndt said. "It gives us functionality that we can take advantage of today and tomorrow."
"Prophet 21 engineered CommerceCenter for today's distributors - with an eye on tomorrow's challenges," agreed Chuck Boyle, Prophet 21 president and CEO. "It's truly a solution that helps distributors cut costs, increase sales, and improve service."
Based in Rancho Dominguez, CA, S.L. Fusco distributes abrasives and cutting tools to companies in the wood- and metal-working industries. The company employs more than 50 at its three locations.
Though the company has experienced across-the-board improvements, CommerceCenter benefits S.L. Fusco's accounts payable (AP) department most dramatically. Prior to implementing the solution, AP clerks struggled to finish posting invoices on a daily basis because many factors complicated the process. For example, clerks manually re-entered vendor invoices sent via electronic data interchange (EDI) because S.L. Fusco's antiquated, UNIX-based solution couldn't handle data imports. Plus, employees had to re-key items that were being vouched, resulting in excess clerical work and room for error.
Today, through the use of Trading Partner Connect, vendors import invoices directly into CommerceCenter, completely eliminating clerical time spent on these tasks. Additionally, clerical time spent on non-EDI invoices has been reduced significantly.
Overall, increased AP efficiencies have resulted in a 25 percent drop in departmental labor costs. "The change in that department is dramatic," she testified.
Other areas of S.L. Fusco have benefited, too. Increased inventory visibility has "reminded" S.L. Fusco about stock they forgot, Arndt said: "Because we can see data more clearly, we've been able to implement a dead stock program where we identify slow- and non-moving SKUs and give employees incentives for selling those items." As a result, S.L. Fusco sales representatives have sold more than $100,000 worth of stock that would have probably remained on the shelf. "We just couldn't identify these items in the past," she said.
Also, because S.L. Fusco uses CommerceCenter to automatically factor inbound freight into the moving average cost of their items, the company can see the true profitability of SKUs more clearly. "Everything's a little clearer in CommerceCenter, which helps us make better pricing decisions," Arndt said. Overall, S.L. Fusco has seen an increase in its gross margin of 1 percent. "We attribute that in large part to our ability to get accurate information about the true cost of what we're selling," Arndt concluded.