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McLendon Hardware Inc.

Company Facts

  • Location: Seattle, Washington
  • Industry: Hardware and Home Center
  • Number of Employees: 550
  • Number of stores: 7
  • Website: www.mclendons.com
  • Co-op: Orgill

 McLendon Hardware has been serving the Seattle metro area with hardware, garden supplies, and lumber since 1926. Today, this large and successful operation has seven retail locations, two distributions centers, and 550 employees. An Epicor customer for more than 20 years, the business is run entirely using the suite of Epicor Eagle business management solutions. “Epicor solutions are the core of our business,” said Nathaniel Polky, information technology manager, McLendon Hardware. “The Eagle system helps automate processes from point of sale (POS) to inventory management. Upgrading to the new Epicor Eagle N Series software was a logical step for us.”

Business analytics and reports empower employees

Epicor Eagle N Series software enables retailers to easily access critical information and analytics which fuels faster and more effective decisions. “McLendon’s focus is to leverage our data in order to benefit our internal team and our customers,” said Polky. “With Eagle N Series and Compass software, we’re actively using data and reports to help our team members do tasks more quickly, make more informed decisions, and ultimately deliver better customer service. We’re widening the circle of employees who receive data and reports; because knowledge is power and it ultimately helps us do a better job every day. The rich analytics in Eagle N Series software has helped us solve problems and make decisions from day one.”

Enhanced customer service

Eagle N Series software is built on the Microsoft.NET® architecture delivering a familiar and user-friendly solution. “The simpler interface is a big benefit to us because it helps get our team members up and running quickly while reducing training costs. This allows us to serve customers quickly, which improves customer service,” said Polky. “Additionally, our technical team uses the Community and Chat features to access, and interact with, the broad Eagle community. Many team members use the Community feature for instant access to Help content, and other retailer resources, and readily get answers to their questions.”

Effortless implementation

Eagle N Series software provides a functionality leap, yet upgrading is easy because it’s both a familiar Microsoft interface and a familiar Eagle interface. Employees don’t need to be retrained to use the system and upgrading is effortless without any disruption to the business. “The implementation was very smooth,” said Polky. “The nice thing about Eagle N Series software is that it’s still familiar. It’s Eagle software at its core, but now we’ll be able to take advantage of architectural system enhancements going forward. We switched overnight and our team members were excited to use it the next day.”

Improved inventory purchasing

Purchasing had been a time-consuming, manual process. “Before fully using Eagle, we were making decisions on intuition, not data. It wasn’t a meaningful way to run the business. For much of the year, we were drastically overstocked. We wasted a lot of time and effort, and carried more inventory than necessary by not leveraging our Eagle system,” asserts Polky. “When we began using the automated replenishment functions, the results were astounding. Our buyers are now focused on value-add buying activities like merchandising, promotions, and new programs, while our purchasing agents are able to focus on keeping our stores in-stock.”

Improved forecasting models

With the help of Epicor Inventory Planner, McLendon’s better forecasts demand and further refines inventory levels. “We were trying to reduce inventory levels without producing stock outs,” describes Polky. “Using Inventory Planner, we maintain a high in-stock level while cutting down on excess, which substantially saves inventory dollars. Since we began automatic replenishment, we reduced our inventory by nearly 25 percent and decreased our out-of-stock rate from 10 percent to less than 1 percent. We also perform “what-if” scenarios with inventory, which let’s us see what might happen before it goes live.”

Epicor supports mobile strategy

The decision to move to Epicor Payment Exchange was a long and thoughtful one. McLendon’s knew they wanted to move to mobile business solutions, which would provide new ways of interacting with customers. “Our goal was to select a payment processing solution that would be fully integrated with our Eagle system, work at terminals and on mobile devices, and would not significantly increase our costs,” said Polky. “That was the key differentiator between Epicor Payment Exchange and other processors. The solution opens up new possibilities for mobile payments at the same rate we pay at the register. We can now use POS and the mobile payment applications without incurring the additional mobile processing fees because of the Epicor integrated solution. Epicor gave us a complete payment solution enabling us to make all the necessary changes at the same time.”

McLendon’s had a lot of payment solutions to choose from—including renewing their current processor, but their list of essential features set a high bar to clear. “We wanted the new solution to address some very specific requirements of the business going forward,” said Polky. “Along with implementing Epicor Payment Exchange, we updated our old stand-alone offline authorization terminals, upgraded to EMV-ready signature capture pads, upgraded our Eagle software, added Epicor Eagle Tablet POS, and deployed Epicor Eagle In-Store Gift Card. Epicor Payment Exchange allowed us to make a real strategic leap forward.”

The Eagle N Series solution allows McLendon’s to achieve operating efficiencies, while improving the customer experience. About 60 percent of McLendon’s customers pay with a debit or credit card and 40 percent use a combination of house accounts, cash or gift cards, which means a lot of card transactions at the register. “One of the benefits that our cashiers are seeing is the ability to offer POS address verification,” said Polky. “In the past, we stayed away from that flexibility partially due to the fact that we had no way of doing any kind of verification and because of higher transaction fees for customers that wanted to make payments on accounts, pay deposits, or pay for large install orders. The switch to Epicor Payment Exchange allows us to give that ability to our stores as a service to their customers. This truly supports our mobile strategy because Epicor Payment Exchange removes mobile middlemen like Square and we’re able to offer mobile payments at the same rate that we are paying for our in-store register rates.”

A strong partnership

“In selecting a new payment processing solution, mobile solutions and competitive transaction rates were also key selection criteria, but some of the ancillary benefits are really what tipped us back to the Epicor side,” said Polky. “For example, the Epicor PCI implementation is significantly better than our old provider. It’s more user friendly, Epicor pre-loads some of the compliant questionnaire answers based upon the version of Eagle that we’re using—that’s very handy. We were able to move all of our locations over to the new payment processing system within the span of about a day. The Epicor team is a solid group of people who have been with us every step of the way ensuring a successful launch. Our partnership with Epicor, continues to strengthen as we leverage more of what the Eagle system can do for our business.”

Expanded revenue possibilities

In concert with everything else, McLendon’s decided to move its gift card service from their previous payment processor, to the Epicor Eagle In-Store Gift Card solution. “We had over 7,000 gift cards to convert and it was effortless,” said Ann Jury, system administrator, McLendon Hardware. “Processing gift cards is much quicker, smoother, and less expensive than it was before.” 

Gift cards offer a valuable business strategy that allows McLendon’s to increase revenues and build loyalty with their customers. Without the requirement to pay “per-swipe” fees, the Eagle In-Store Gift Card gives the business limitless opportunities to market to its customers. “We now do a lot more with gift cards, dynamic promotions such as ‘Buy These Together and Receive a $20 Gift Card’,”said Jury. “The Gift Card Viewer allows us to track our promotions, which is something we couldn’t do in the past. Adding the Eagle gift card solution was a smart move as there are a lot of advertising possibilities that we intend to use.”

System delivers competitive advantage

McLendon’s has seen dramatic improvements by integrating the Eagle system more fully into day-to-day operations. “The Eagle system has really inspired us to evaluate how we run our business. Eagle is crucial to our business and is a very solid, comprehensive solution that allows us to compete effectively. It provides information to our team members to be able to make meaningful, actionable decisions that benefit our customers every day,” concludes Polky.



Success Highlights:

Challenges

  • Getting employees to use system features
  • Improve inventory management to reduce overstocks and stock-outs
  • Streamline largely manual purchasing processes

Solutions

  • Epicor® Eagle N Series™
  • Epicor Compass™
  • Epicor Eagle Inventory Planner
  • Epicor Eagle Tablet POS
  • Epicor Eagle In-Store Gift Card
  • Epicor Payment Exchange

Benefits

  • Improved decision timeliness and effectiveness
  • Reduced inventory by 25%
  • Decreased stock-outs from 10% to 1%
  • Reduced processing costs for credit, debit and gift cards
  • Decreased fees associated with mobile payment solutions
  • Integrated terminal and mobile solutions

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