- Location: New Castle, DE
- Industry: Electrical
- Number of Employees : 340
- Web site: www.unitedelectric.com/
"Eclipse is a dominant solution in our industry… Epicor has a good roadmap; they are executing on the plan, and the features I see coming soon have real value to us….Epicor is feeding us changes to Eclipse even faster than we can implement them."
Rich Chadwick, Director of Organizational Improvement | United Electric Supply
United Electric Supply learns and grows with Epicor
Headquartered in New Castle, Delaware, United Electric Supply is a nationally recognized, employee-owned, full-line electrical distributor founded in 1965. With 21 branches in Delaware, Maryland, Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Northern Virginia, the company stocks over 23,000 different items from more than 250 major manufacturers, and offers a full range of electrical supplies, products and services in industrial automation, lighting, wire/cable/conduit, gear and control, data communications, electro-mechanical and energy solutions. United Electric has 340 employees and approximately $200 million in annual revenues.
After conducting a two-year search for a new enterprise resource planning (ERP) solution, United Electric selected Epicor Eclipse, based on other electrical distributors' use of the system. According to Rich Chadwick, Director of Organizational Improvement at United Electric, "We wanted to go with a software package that our peers were utilizing to stay competitive and solve problems that are very specific to the electrical industry, such as managing manufacturers' rebates. We like being able to leverage others' experiences, and Eclipse is a dominant solution in our industry."
United Electric also required that its software solution be scalable for changing needs. "A technology provider has to be able to adapt to the industry's future direction and tomorrow's problems," comments Chadwick. "The capability of the Epicor Eclipse software to expand and handle our company's projected growth was critical."
Partnering for efficiency and accuracy
Following an implementation process that took about nine months, United Electric Supply went live on the Eclipse system in April 2007. Chadwick notes, "We have found that implementation needs to be a true 50-50 partnership between the distributor and the technology vendor. Your software provider knows the package, but doesn't necessarily know your company and the people in it… You have to have both working together, with a mix of software knowledge and company/employee knowledge."
Using Epicor Eclipse ERP, United Electric is now operating at more locations, yet with fewer employees (e.g., reducing Accounting staff headcount through retirement). "We all agree, we could not have done that on our old software package," observes Chadwick.
The company also automated three regional distribution centers with the Epicor Eclipse RF warehouse system. Chadwick states that it is "one of the best pieces of software I've ever worked with… it was amazing. And the RF guns in the warehouse are easy to use; we estimate that we saved 30 percent in manpower there, plus we increased our accuracy. It is very important that we not ship the wrong product to the customer-reducing that to the absolute minimum greatly benefits our reputation as a distributor."
Epicor Eclipse has helped United Electric improve customer service in other ways, as well. For example, notifications from the system between manufacturers and sales via electronic data interchange (EDI) reduce surprises (such as changes in delivery schedules) to customers.
Continuous introduction of new features
Chadwick comments, "Epicor has a good roadmap; they are executing on the plan, and the features I see coming soon have real value to us…Epicor is feeding us changes to Eclipse even faster than we can implement them." Some of these new features include:
- Estimating outbound freight charges at time of order entry. "Historically, we lose money on this if we're not charging it to the customer before the order is delivered and getting their agreement to pay," says Chadwick. "Timeliness of the information is key."
- Product lifecycle support. "As old products we offer are sunsetted by the manufacturers, we can manage the inventory transition to new replacement products to satisfy our customers' needs. Eclipse allows you to set up the system to accomplish that goal," he states.
Tapping resources for support
As mentioned earlier, technology is only half of the equation. United Electric uses Epicor Support Services regularly regarding setup and outcomes of new Eclipse ERP features, and retains Epicor Professional Services for advanced training. "For more complex applications like Job Management, Epicor provides a more in-depth expert than we have in-house," Chadwick notes.
And the peer network that influenced United Electric's initial decision to purchase Epicor Eclipse continues to be a source of support. Chadwick himself has been on the board of directors of the Eclipse user group for over two years. He emphasizes, "The interchange of ideas with other distributors is very valuable. Helping each other out saves a lot of time troubleshooting software and business issues all on your own. We are always learning something new to help us in our business."
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.