"We could not have accomplished this [growth] so easily without Epicor Eclipse. Every time I do something new with Eclipse, it saves me time and money. It's so versatile; anything we want it to do, it will do."
Mark Temple, President | Johnstone Supply of Tulsa
Johnstone Supply of Tulsa, Oklahoma, opened in 1984 as part of a family business expansion. In the past three decades, this HVAC distributor has grown to 20 employees and four locations.
Johnstone-Tulsa has been using the Epicor Eclipse enterprise resource planning (ERP) solution since May 2002, prior to the Oklahoma City and Tulsa branches becoming separate entities in 2006. The branches had originally been on a homegrown database system from Johnstone Corp., but in the early 2000s, a corporate committee conducted extensive research to select a new system to communicate between headquarters and the individual stores.
Enhanced customer service
According to Mark Temple, President of Johnstone-Tulsa, "We saw what Eclipse could do, and became one of the first stores to implement the software in the Johnstone distribution network." Specifically, Temple was impressed by the ease of customer lookup, the ability to recall past invoices and purchases, and the variety of inquiries available for extraction of data from the Epicor Eclipse database.
"Inventory control is so much better now," he states. "Everyone from our counter people to purchasing agents sees the items immediately. It's hard to put a value on that; it has saved us time, and has led to better customer service. The counter people love the ability to call up customer information and orders; it gets the customer in and out quicker."
In addition, Epicor Eclipse fosters better relationships with Johnstone-Tulsa's larger customers through tighter supply chain integration. "We can use their part numbers in the system, which helps their inventory control," observes Temple. "And the efficiency of giving them statements and their past order history instantaneously makes their lives easier."
Data manipulation and employee productivity
According to Temple, mass load extraction of data from Epicor Eclipse also saves Johnstone-Tulsa a tremendous number of man hours. "For example, for special pricing on a vendor, we can create a separate group in Eclipse by setting up a price matrix at a certain multiplier," he explains. "There is no need to update every item individually. Likewise, if we want our top 500 customers to receive a special price, we have the ability to take that large quantity of data and export and manipulate it."
In addition, he values the real-time financial aspect of the system, noting, "The P&L balance sheet is always available; I use it daily to evaluate and control inventory. That's a lot better than guessing, or waiting till month-end and playing 'catch-up.'"
He recalls that when Epicor Eclipse was introduced, there was some initial resistance from employees, but "now they love it." He advises other distributors to take full advantage of the training available from Epicor to improve employee utilization. "The training is extremely helpful, and more is better," he says. "Eclipse software is easy to learn, but you can always learn more-there's so much there. The system helps everyone do their jobs better; and makes it easier no matter what the position. That results in happier, more productive employees."
Support for growth From 2006-2013, Johnstone-Tulsa has experienced over 300 percent growth in revenues, and expansion from one store to four. Says Temple, "We could not have accomplished this so easily- particularly getting the new stores online and maintaining control- without Epicor Eclipse. I would've hated to attempt this growth without it."
He concludes, "Every time I do something new with Eclipse, it saves me time and money. It's so versatile; anything we want it to do, it will do."
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