- Location: Batavia, Illinois
- Industry: Safety products
- Number of Employees: 20
- Web site: www.safetysupplyillinois.com
"The online learning classes from Epicor University were extremely helpful in introducing the new functional aspects of Prophet 21 to our employees. The Learning Management System is wonderful for training new users on Prophet 21. Epicor technology and tools for learning and growing are all there; you just need to access them."
Mary Porter, Owner/COO | Safety Supply Illinois
Safety Supply Illinois (SSI) is a distributor of safety products ranging from earplugs to high-end safety equipment, including fall protection and confined space solutions. The company was established in 1985 and purchased by Owner/Chief Operating Officer Mary Porter three years ago. Based in Batavia, Illinois, SSI has a national footprint with over 16 warehouses and 20 employees.
According to Porter, "When I walked in on the first day of ownership, I immediately recognized the need to upgrade our business application. There was paper everywhere, file cabinets jammed with documents, and 'sticky notes' of customer requests all over the place. Manual reports were being created to keep track of work. Invoicing was also done manually, requiring double or triple efforts to process an order, and so on. It was evident to me that SSI could not compete and grow with the existing system."
Learning to improve processes
SSI converted to Epicor Prophet 21 in 2012. Porter recalls, "This was a huge change from a technology, functional and individual role perspective. As in most transformation efforts, many people are resistant to change. However, the online learning classes from Epicor University were extremely helpful in introducing the new functional aspects of Prophet 21 to our employees. The online training schedule provided by the Epicor Learning Management System (LMS) allowed me to create, schedule, and track user-specific training timelines.
"The LMS is wonderful for training new users on Prophet 21, and because it is organized by business function, I encourage our existing employees to listen to other classes and learn about all functional areas," continues Porter. "Going back to review classes after the initial training has helped to expand our preliminary functional understanding. It is one thing to listen to online classes and another to practically apply the lessons in a working environment."
Porter notes that utilizing Epicor Prophet 21 on a daily basis was a little more difficult in the beginning. "It is very challenging at times to wrap your arms around all the comprehensive functionality that Prophet 21 has to offer and actually implement those features into a production environment," she says. "But over the last eight months, we have really focused on changing our existing workflows and using more of the Prophet 21 features. We are slowly incorporating many of the Prophet 21 enhancements into our business practices, with help from the Learning Center."
Most recently, SSI started using the catalog function in conjunction with the pricing service to streamline the Sales team's product research efforts, standardize item numbers and units of measure, and reduce error rates with its supply chain partners (purchasing, order entry, and sales for 150 vendors). According to Porter, "This has been a tremendous benefit-I would estimate it reduced our research time by 30 percent, and streamlined customer service, purchasing, and the item maintenance function. We can now search the catalog for a new item, click on it, and the correct part number, cost, and UOM are automatically populated into our Prophet 21 item file."
In another example, the Learning Center helped SSI get a handle on the secondary process of adding logos to products ordered. Previously, it was very complicated for SSI to manage the outsourced logoed process, added charges, multiple POs, and customer invoicing. "We utilized a variety of sources to understand and implement the secondary process including online classes, LMS documentation, our Prophet 21 User Group, and Epicor Application Consultants. As a result, our logo error rate has been reduced and customer satisfaction increased," says Porter.
A solid foundation for growth
According to Porter, Epicor provides a comprehensive business application that continues to evolve with the changing technology sector. She states, "Epicor Prophet 21 has given us the foundation to be able to thrive in this hyper-competitive environment. Given today's advances in technology, our customer base has become much more tech-savvy, so we have to be in a position to get accurate information out quickly, with seamless product deliveries. That could not have happened with our old system. We continue to learn and evolve everyday as new features are introduced and our knowledge base increases."
The results at Safety Supply Illinois speak for themselves. Porter observes, "In the last three years, we have tripled sales, in part because we converted to Prophet 21. In addition to increasing our overall customer base by about 20 percent, we are attracting much larger customers such as utility companies. We have also been able to absorb more volume without an increase in staff."
She concludes, "The Epicor technology and tools for learning and growing are all there; you just need to access them. I always recommend Prophet 21; it has made a difference in our ability to compete."
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.