- Location: Miami, Florida
- Industry: Plumbing, mechanical and HVAC
- Number of Employees: 47
- Web site: www.lehmanpipe.com
"Understanding how to mine data from our ERP software was a huge advantage for us. We had the pieces, but nothing was being used to its full potential. Epicor really shines when showing how to tie together an entire system."
Josh Aberman, General Manager | Lehman Pipe and Plumbing Supply
Lehman Pipe and Plumbing Supply, founded in 1946, caters primarily to plumbing, mechanical and HVAC contractors, and government municipalities and agencies. Located in Miami, Florida, the company has approximately 47 employees and annual sales of $25 million.
According to Josh Aberman, General Manager, while Lehman Pipe had purchased their Epicor enterprise resource planning (ERP) solution in the mid-2000s, they were not using the system to its fullest potential. "Our product customization-which made sense at the time-made it difficult for new hires and others to understand all of the capabilities," says Aberman. "As a result, we were only using a small percentage of what the system could actually do."
That was when Aberman suggested the company engage Epicor Consulting Services. He recalls, "Too many people were doing the same tasks, and we sought training to streamline and designate proper job responsibilities." Lehman Pipe and Plumbing Supply also needed help with limiting expenses and financial exposure, as well as a better way of managing accounts payable and receivable.
Explains Aberman, "We walked the Epicor Consultant through our entire system and how we do everything from receiving material to billing our customers. Following this review, the consultant was able to offer solutions and make recommendations for utilizing different aspects of the system."
Uncovering Data to Drive Inventory and Improve Processes
After retaining Epicor Consulting, Lehman quickly saw results. Aberman confirms, "For example, over the past 60+ years, the business owners would stock the warehouse based on what bins were empty. As soon as we were able to use the ERP to help us see patterns and trends, we were able to make changes." Armed with this new knowledge from the system, the team at Lehman was able to modify their approximately $6 million inventory to reflect a significantly higher percentage of "A" material while limiting their slow-moving SKUs.
"Understanding how to mine data from our ERP software was a huge advantage for us," states Aberman. "Before, more than half of all sales were being tagged as 'exceptional,' which kept items out of inventory. Once we fixed this, we saw improvements almost immediately."
Lehman started categorizing their sales correctly, and within a few months, they were able to turn about $900,000 worth of excess inventory into cash. The system was further refined to pull real costs in real time. Limiting accessibility of what people could and could not modify in the system helped, as well. The way the company handles payables was transformed practically overnight.
"Previously, it would take us twice as long to look at half as many invoices," notes Aberman. "Invoices were all reviewed individually by at least 2-3 people. By maximizing the system, we now only need to look at invoices that do not match up to POs, saving staff time and effort."
Significant changes were also seen in the receiving dock. In the past, material was simply received and would sit in a "staging" area waiting to either be tagged for an order or put into stock. "Once we began printing Purchase Order receiving registers, we could determine what job materials were for as soon as they came in," Aberman says. "The items are now separated and tagged for customers at entry, saving time and money in not having to pull things twice."
The next step for the Lehman team is refining the document imaging system, so one person will no longer have to spend every day scanning and matching ship tickets. The company expects to consolidate the responsibilities of two current positions to one, giving those employees more time to do business-driving, value-added tasks.
"Epicor really shines when showing how to tie together an entire system," concludes Aberman. "Their ERP solution is used by many in our industry because of its ability to bring all items together. Learning how to fine-tune the system to work for us has been very successful."
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.