AIA: Software Helps Distributor Increase Business Without Increasing Staff
Established in 1972, G.S. Hydraulic (New Berlin, WI) is a distributor of fluid power and electrohydraulic equipment and electronic components. Primarily serving mobile equipment manufacturers, the company employs about 50 individuals.
About 50 percent of G.S. Hydraulic's revenue comes from custom assemblies. "Some days, working with customers involves compromise," says John Thornton, president of G.S. Hydraulic. "We must constantly demonstrate how our products and services will help them save money. Other days, it's a downright battle. Some customers will try to beat us up for the best price possible, no matter what."
Either way, G.S. Hydraulic must stay lean to stay competitive. "You have to maintain efficiency to keep your costs in order and avoid the expenses of rework," says Thornton. CommerceCenter, a Windows-based software program for distributors, helps G.S. Hydraulic effectively manage costs and streamline operations. Produced by Prophet 21 (Yardley, PA), the software ensures that the company maintains competitive prices and healthy profit margins.
"With CommerceCenter, we've grown our business by at least 25 percent in 2 years without any increases in staff," says Thornton. "CommerceCenter cuts the mental processing involved in a lot of tasks tenfold. We get meaningful reports in minutes, instead of hours."
Before the company started using CommerceCenter, tracking bills of materials (BOMs) for custom assemblies was a daunting task, involving three separate databases.
Employees kept engineering and computer-aided design BOMs in one database, pricing information in Microsoft Excel spreadsheets, and other BOMs in the company's business system. "Things got really confusing with the triple data entry," says Thornton. "And we lost money on many occasions because price updates didn't automatically transfer from one location to another." CommerceCenter enabled G.S. Hydraulic to consolidate its databases. "Because CommerceCenter has an open infrastructure, we can link to BOM information. We've effectively cut three databases down to one."
Thornton estimates that this consolidation saves his employees more than 2,000 hours per year. "It's a huge step forward for us," says Thornton. "It's amazing, how everything links seamlessly."
Before moving to CommerceCenter, Thornton could always tell when service levels suffered. "When business was up, it seemed inevitable. People would call with more complaints. We were pinched, and had to do things faster," he says.
CommerceCenter helped slow the complaints considerably, despite the 25 percent increase in business. "It helps us get the right products out the door at the right time," says Thornton. "That keeps customers happy and keeps employees focused on driving revenue instead of correcting mistakes."
The solution has also helped G.S. Hydraulic employees improve inventory management. CommerceCenter has given the company the ability to identify slow- and fast-moving items. It's redeployed its assets into areas that were neglected before. As a result, turns have increased by about 15 percent.
"Our last system stunted our growth. We chose CommerceCenter because we wanted to grow, and we wanted a solution that grew with us. So far, it's evident. We made the right choice," says Thornton.
For more information on CommerceCenter, call 215-493-8900 or visit www.p21.com.