Largest Full-Service Distributor of Shoe Repair in U.S. Retains Leadership
Southern Leather Company is the largest full-service distributor of shoe repair and store supplies in the United States. Founded in 1912, the company is a fourth-generation family business with warehouses in six major American cities. It carries widely recognized merchandise from leading vendors— including nearly 20,000 in-stock items ranging from fitting aids and care products to buckles, fasteners, cleaners, and foot-related medical accessories.
"We’ve successfully competed in a steadily declining industry for decades," said Cindy Loewenberg, project manager, Southern Leather Company.
"Our company has always been a business leader. Since we had no intention of losing grip on the market, we developed a comprehensive plan that enhanced process controls and best practices, controlled inventories, and streamlined jobs, and that will help us enter new industries as opportunities appear."
Part of the company’s strategy included implementing the Epicor Prophet 21 enterprise resource planning (ERP) solution, which replaced a legacy system that did not show live stock on the shelf, connect the inventories at each location, or connect accounts payable to anything. In fact, before Prophet 21 software, employees would have to physically walk the warehouse to check for items when customers called. Available in multiple colors and sizes, many of these products were hard to differentiate since they were listed in the previous system as one item. Warehouses also had to close for multiple days for annual inventories that involved travel by numerous individuals only to be completed with semi-correct results.
"Prior to Prophet 21 software, accounts payable was in no way connected to actual inventories," Loewenberg said. "There were no checks and balances. Now, we get alerts on the slightest of variances. This aspect alone has been invaluable in ensuring discounts and the proper receipts of goods. In fact, the savings alone probably paid for the cost of the Prophet 21 system."
Key benefits to date:
- Reduce year-end processes by 50% with less staff
- Check the availability of inventory at multiple locations with the click of a mouse
- Access sales, cogs, customer histories, and sales tax information in real time
- Streamlined accounting processes
With the former system, sales representatives had to hand-write and fax orders into locations, not even knowing if the inventory was available. Today, they enter orders with laptops or tablets, knowing if items need to be substituted or if orders can be filled complete or from other branches.
"Prophet 21 software has advanced our company on so many different levels," added Loewenberg. "We can set up pricing for big-volume customers in a way that wasn’t possible before. Yearend processes took more than two months of intensive work by multiple people. We currently complete the same task in under a month with less staff."
Read on to the full story of Southern Leather Company here.
Posted by Epicor Social Media Team.