- Location: Laurel, Maryland
- Industry: Multi-family and Commercial Maintenance Products
- Number of Employees: 420
- Web site:
"Epicor® understands distribution. They get it…and that's why Prophet 21® works."
David Baxley, Executive Vice President | Central Wholesalers, Inc.
Central Wholesalers, Inc. of Laurel, Maryland, is a distributor of maintenance supplies including plumbing, electrical, and janitorial supplies for multi-family apartment complexes and commercial maintenance contractors. With 420 employees in three locations, the company is celebrating its 30th anniversary in 2011.
Central Wholesalers went live on the Epicor Prophet 21 ERP system in December 2010. Explains David Baxley, Executive Vice President, "We were looking for a change and an improvement over our 13-year-old legacy system. With Prophet 21, Epicor offered significant distribution experience, as well as the software that most closely matched our needs, to give us a competitive advantage."
Implementation and Training
The implementation went smoothly overall, thanks to the work of the Epicor consultants as well as Central Wholesalers' in-house training and data conversion resources. "We used Epicor's Learning Management System before go-live; it lays a foundation for employees to become familiar with the Prophet 21 screens, etc., giving them good exposure to the system," Baxley says. "But the bulk of the training has to be hands-on. We had users take tickets they had entered in our legacy system and practice putting them into Prophet 21, so they would be as prepared as possible."
Improved Reporting Efficiencies
Early results include improved employee productivity and time savings. According to Baxley, "We like the reporting flexibility; we don't have to constantly create or work on reports because Prophet 21 has so much reporting built in, and it's easy to export the data to Excel and manipulate it." He adds, "We are now less dependent on IT to run reports; in the Customer Master Inquiry, people just look up what they need."
Reduction in paper usage has also been significant. "Our IT guy used to hand out 50 pounds of reports every morning!" says Baxley. "And in the purchasing department, they would go through 5-6 cases of paper per week for replenishment; now that is all done online. Without leaving the Prophet 21 system, we can also fax a P.O. directly to the supplier."
Gaining Traction Online with B2B Web Site
Central Wholesalers has found that having a fully integrated Web presence with Prophet 21 B2B Seller™ gives them a competitive advantage. "We can provide real-time information updates, show quantities available, and automatically update prices on the Website," notes Baxley. "The search functionality and self-service features for our customers are also very robust. And our sales people can do sales order entry remotely, freeing up resources."
Part of a Community
Baxley was impressed with the support available to Central Wholesalers as a Prophet 21 user. "Being part of the Prophet 21 'community' is a big advantage; it means having the access to other customers," he observes. "With our previous system, we were on our own; there was no one to bounce things off of. Now we can ping other customers for advice, since we're all using the exact same product. The conversation within the Prophet 21 users group is 'no holds barred'; we got lots of useful tips and advice for our go live from there. We also talked to lots of people at the annual user conference. They were happy to share information."
Concludes Baxley, "Epicor understands distribution. They get it…and that's why Prophet 21 works."
Epicor Software Corporation is a global leader delivering business software solutions to the manufacturing, distribution, retail, and services industries. With 40 years of experience, Epicor has more than 20,000 customers in over 150 countries. Epicor solutions enable companies to drive increased efficiency and improve profitability. With a history of innovation, industry expertise, and passion for excellence, Epicor inspires customers to build lasting competitive advantage. Epicor provides the single point of accountability that local, regional, and global businesses demand. For more information, visit