Distinction Doors puts Epicor ERP at the heart of its plans for growth
Location: Barnsley, UK
Established back in 2004, Distinction Doors is the UK’s largest distributor of insulated composite doors, working with a network of trusted fabricators and installers to provide products to the trade and social housing sectors. Producing a wide variety of products, from cottage doors to more contemporary models, Distinction Doors is dedicated to providing its customers composite doors that are not only secure and easily customisable, but also energy efficient.
Based on an 86,000 sq. ft. premises in Barnsley, Distinction Doors sells 7,500 to 8,000 insulated composite doors a week, all of which are distributed throughout the UK and Ireland. Offering a variety of value-add services including a range of glazing styles and a state-of-the-art paint plant, the doors can be tailored specifically to the customer’s specifications whether they are purchased by a fabricator or an installer.
Focusing on customer service and delivering a vast range of products, the company places a strong emphasis on innovation in order to continue to increase its services. It is therefore vital that employees have access to the right data so they can monitor trends and continue to develop products that are delivering a strong return on investment.
Re-engaging with the ERP framework
Initially installing the Epicor ERP solution back in 2011, the company had been using the software with a variety of customisations to assist across the supply chain. In line with its continued growth, Distinction Doors felt it was time to consider upgrading its ERP system. A particularly important factor for the company was re-engaging its user-base with the system to ensure that it could get the most out of the upgrade and the benefits it offered.
IT and Operations Director for Distinction Doors Gareth Williams says, “We weren’t making the most of the Epicor ERP software, especially due to the lack of IT on site. We had built up a variety of customisations but this ultimately meant that the software wasn’t as flexible as it could be. We needed to strip the system back and get the latest version to really start to use it to its full potential. With this in mind, it was important that we could also re-engage the user-base to enlighten them about how to use the system to improve decision making and remove manual processes.
“One of our main challenges is capacity planning, especially considering our focus on increasing our value-add services. We upgraded to the latest version of Epicor ERP to help us move beyond the spreadsheet culture we had become accustomed to, with the goal to increase the flexibility of our software.
“During the upgrade, the board were impressed that we could still keep the business running at one of its busiest times and this was ultimately a testament to the whole implementation process. Not only that, but the upgrade has increased baseline knowledge of the system across the business, with senior members of staff more openly looking at how it works and how it can improve our business.”
From gut feel to facts
Armed with the upgraded system, Distinction Doors had the ability to integrate its online portal into the system—making it easier to track online orders and access data at the click of a button. By also adopting core modules to automate invoicing emails, the company can use the system as a platform for process improvement. With nine members of staff previously tasked with inputting orders manually, the Epicor ERP solution now enables these members of staff to focus on the core of their job, customer service.
Along with the ability to incorporate back-of-house barcoding and scanning, the company can increase efficiency when it comes to stock management, and ultimately, begin to store the data needed to help track stock across the supply chain.
Williams continues, “We rely on the software for a variety of things; it’s central to our business. Whether we are processing sales orders, sending purchase orders to our suppliers in the Far East or reporting on our stock levels and progress, Epicor ERP helps us increase our efficiency across the business.
“Additionally, the reporting capabilities are really important in helping us plan for the future. We can now make more informed decisions, using the data to help us map particular customer trends and ensure that our scheduling is based on facts instead of gut feel. It’s easier to see when we are off target with our predictions and planning, which is especially important considering our plans for continued growth.”
Looking to the future
With ambitious plans for growth over the coming year, Distinction Doors now has the capability to develop more accurate plans for the future. Stripping back the system and upgrading to the latest Epicor ERP solution has enabled the company to realign its focus and assess the processes that it had in place. Looking to develop its value-add services and overall range of products in the UK and Ireland, the company can rely on data produced by the system to better prepare for this growth. Whether tracking its resources or reporting on trends, Distinction Doors can continue to rely on Epicor ERP to improve its efficiency and assess its processes more effectively.
Williams concludes, “This is our system of choice and it definitely has the capacity to grow with us. Because of its flexibility, we can add customisations without breaking the integrity of the software’s core. This will make it a lot easier when it comes to upgrading the software in the future as these upgrades won’t inhibit it. With this in mind, we are keen to upgrade our system every 12–18 months to ensure we are using the most up-to-date software.
“Now that we have stripped the system back, re-engaged our user-base and realised the functionality that we weren’t previously maximising, we trust that Epicor will help us achieve our goals for growth; it is key to our business going forward.”