"Epicor understands the distribution user. With Epicor Prophet 21, we have more confidence behind our data than before." Dana Vuelvas, Special Projects Manager | TSC Manufacturing and Supply LLC
TSC Manufacturing and Supply LLC of Houston, Texas, is the distribution division of TSC Group Holdings Ltd., a leading global rig and equipment manufacturer and turnkey solutions provider. A key part of this vertically integrated organization, the division includes 54 employees in five locations, providing maintenance services and consumables for the oil rigs since 2001.
TSC Manufacturing and Supply converted from a legacy accounting system to the Epicor Prophet 21 enterprise resource planning (ERP) system in January 2013. IT Specialist John Schmalz was hired in April 2012 to oversee the data conversion into the new system, and has worked with the Epicor Prophet 21 solution for over 30 years. He recalls, "Company management liked that the solution was designed specifically for the distributor, as well as the ability to combine all branches on one integrated system. Prophet 21 provides inventory control and support for organizational growth, including support of multiple companies in other countries."
Real-time, integrated information
According to Dana Vuelvas, TSC Special Projects Manager, "Since we implemented Epicor Prophet 21, employee productivity has improved significantly. The information is live, at your fingertips, and everyone is able to access it as needed. For example, Sales can now see the prices and inventory levels for all customers, locations, vessels and containers, and Accounting can view invoices for all branches at once."
In addition, every screen has drill-downs. "You don't have to open a new window, you can just drill down further and further to find what you need," comments Vuelvas. "Epicor understands the distribution user. With Epicor Prophet 21, we have more confidence behind our data than before. We know that it is accurate."
Schmalz and Vuelvas both point to the elimination of Microsoft® Excel® spreadsheets as a key benefit. States Schmalz, "Everyone likes that all of the information is in one place. Prophet 21 brought an end to spreadsheet juggling." Prior to going live on Epicor Prophet 21, TSC tracked inventory levels on four separate worksheets.
"We also used to manage customer minimum stock quantities, orders and replenishment of minimums on multiple spreadsheets, leaving plenty of room for error," Schmalz continues. Management of branch locations for transfer, and transfer backorders, were entered as customer orders. Each branch was transacted as a separate company.
All of this data is now integrated into Epicor Prophet 21. Schmalz observes that the wealth of information has allowed for the creation of nearly 150 custom reports (27 in Accounting alone). "We are currently implementing Customer Relationship Management (CRM), and coming up with ideas for reports on that, as well," he says.
Wireless Warehouse increases efficiency, reduces cycle counts
Most recently, TSC Manufacturing and Supply implemented the Epicor Wireless Warehouse Management Solution (WWMS). "Our warehouse is now more efficient in tracking, managing production orders, and other optimization," says Vuelvas. "The warehouse manager can problem-solve on a strategic level, versus constant firefighting, and warehouse personnel are able to find products more efficiently." Cycle counting was also accelerated, which gives a more accurate understanding of what is on hand and available for sale. Previously, TSC conducted its counts quarterly, over an entire weekend, whereas now it is done weekly in 1½-2 hours.
An Epicor Senior Professional Services Consultant assisted TSC with setting up some advanced WWMS functions. For example, with prioritization picking, TSC enabled the system to direct staff to pick heavier items first, so that they are packed on the bottom of the pallet. According to Vuelvas, "Our warehouse staff mentioned they could tell that the Epicor consultant was very familiar with the day-to-day challenges that a warehouse would encounter with the WWMS. He was able to answer every question they had about it."
Employee training and engagement
Vuelvas observes, "When implementing an ERP system, there needs to be a great deal of effort put into change management. You have to focus on the most critical needs first, spend the time to train everyone properly, and you must get the everyday users to embrace the ERP. For many of our employees, this was their first experience with an ERP. Sell them on it, tell them to 'give it a month.' Then they can't imagine ever going back!"
At TSC Manufacturing and Supply, new hires take courses on the Epicor Learning Management System (LMS) to get up to speed on Prophet 21 system navigation, etc. Notes Schmalz, "We use this quite extensively in lieu of one-on-one training; it lets them come back with more advanced questions, and establishes a baseline for what's next." Studies show that the level of satisfaction with an ERP system is higher when organizations plan ahead and have teams that manage the change process, along with training that helps to bridge the gap between current and future states. "Capitalizing on all of the capabilities of the Epicor Prophet 21 system represents a huge opportunity for us," he concludes.
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.