- Location: Rockford, Illinois
- Industry: Fasteners
- Year Certified: ISO Certified since 1997
- Annual Revenue: $30 million
- Number of Employees: 53
- Number of Products: 40,000 SKUs
- Number of Customers: 900 OEM in 15 countries
- Web site:
Making the Data Work for Proactive, Lean Processes
Reliability, Scalability and Time Savings Contribute to High Levels of Service
System availability and scalability were key to Field Fastener's selection of the Epicor Prophet 21 solution. According to Pauli, "What gave Prophet 21 the edge over other systems was the reliability of the platform and the breadth of the distribution software." This includes the use of the Epicor Automated Backup Solution (ABS) for offsite replication. "ABS gives us peace of mind and lets us sleep at night," says Olson. "Knock on wood, we haven't had to use it, but it takes the pressure off. We wanted to make sure we picked a system that was going to be up 99.9 percent of the time."
With Field Fastener's previous system, scaling was a challenge. But the structure of the Epicor Prophet 21 solution allows employees to easily keep track of inventory in other locations (i.e., at customer sites and six consignment warehouses), using scanners and tags. Prophet 21 also accommodates the need to rapidly set up and contract multiple warehouses. Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) with Prophet 21 has helped Field Fastener streamline the ordering process, reduce entry errors, and save time. For example, Field Fastener has 3,000 parts with one customer, and EDI has driven down the costs involved with that invoice process.
"The EDI to our suppliers has also helped reduce wrong part issues, lock in pricing, and avoid double entry. The time savings have been significant," notes Patel. The user-friendliness of the Epicor Prophet 21 system is evident in such features as UPS integration, the ability to link documents to purchase orders, and item fast edits. For example, rather than going into 3,000 items for the previously mentioned customer, the Account Managers can go into the pricing agreement for all of them with a click of a button and change a date.
Likewise, for inventory returns, it only takes a minute to put a return through the system. Enthuses Account Manager Steve Ostrowski, "With Prophet 21, I have all the information at my fingertips when I need it. For example, for Purchase Order Request Generation, I'll have 7 or 8 of the modules open on top, so I can click back and forth between them. In the worst case, I'm only a mouse click away from where I want to be."
Partnering for Success in the Decades Ahead
Field Fastener team members believe that Prophet 21 continues to make necessary enhancements to the system, and they view Epicor as another part of their team. Observes Olson, "We made the right choice in our relationship with Epicor…we know we've got a solid technology partner." He adds, "I recommend Prophet 21 one hundred percent...it's been a great system for us. And I don't think you could ask for much more from a business partner; overall support from Epicor has been very strong and very responsive." Derry states, "When we were evaluating Prophet 21 and the competition, we boiled it down to features, service, support, financials, and the long-term viability of the provider. Epicor had the features we needed, robust support, superior training, and a long-term commitment to our industry. We also felt that we could influence and be a part of where the software went going forward.
Epicor offers opportunities to meet with key people and even get in early on newer functionality by helping to define specifications and how they're implemented. "After five years of using Prophet 21, we feel certain that this will last us the next 15-20 years. We're convinced that the architecture of the software can be added to, modulated, and updated so that we don't ever have to tear it out and replace it. That is a huge advantage," he continues.
For example, Epicor recently introduced DynaChange™ Rules, a Business Rule Engine that allows distributors like Field Fastener to insert their own business logic into the Prophet 21 code base without altering the application code itself. "Business rules allow us to tailor the Prophet 21 application to the way we do business. We've only begun to leverage the capabilities of this powerful tool with rules such as excluding certain types of purchase orders from lead time, or combining rules with user-defined fields to automatically e-mail a customer an invoice at ship confirmation," says Olson. "Rules have replaced written notes-or reliance on the user to remember to check certain boxes-and made the whole process automatic and streamlined."
Measuring and Reporting Improvement in Every Area
Each day, every team member at Field Fastener receives an update on major metrics of the company, including quality, on-time delivery, inventory, and sales. Notes Pauli, "I use the executive metrics from Prophet 21 all the time. We're able to generate a daily 'how's the company doing' report from the system. This lets us look at Key Performance Indicators, and share those with everyone in the company."
According to Derry, "We're seeing 1-2 percent improvement across every area of the organization, including better margins and improved inventory turns… and that's what we thought would happen. When you compile it all together, Prophet 21 makes an enormous impact on profitability. Our profit levels are more than double what they were five years ago. It all comes back to quality, Derry reiterates: "If it weren't for the horsepower of the Prophet 21 engine behind us, we couldn't deliver to our customers as quickly with the quality of data that we have now." Field Fastener looks forward to many more years of growth with the Epicor Prophet 21 system
Epicor Software Corporation is a global leader delivering business software solutions to the manufacturing, distribution, retail, and service industries. With more than 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 www.epicor.com.