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Legacy software prevented growth

P&R Electrical is a family-owned business that prides itself on quality and service. Founded in 1977, the business is now one of the largest independent electrical wholesale networks in Australia, operating 12 branches across South Australia’s regional and metropolitan areas servicing more than 3,000 customers. With over 30,000 products on offer and access to 1,000 leading national and international suppliers of trade electrical products, P&R Electrical is able to service the needs of all Australian commercial operations.

“Epicor Prophet 21 has given our customers a lot more visibility into their accounts. Invoices are automatically updated to the system so they can access them anywhere and anytime, as we understand small business owners might not be able to do their books during business hours, for example.”

P&R Electrical has leveraged Epicor Prophet 21® software, part of the Epicor for Distribution solution set, to support its continued business growth over recent years. Initially, P&R Electrical used internally developed software and ageing hardware, both reliant on one member of staff’s skillset for upgrades which involved a lengthy process to pull data at the end of each month. According to Craig Ogilvie, P&R Electrical’s IT Manager, the business identified the need to transition to a system that provided accurate and detailed data at any minute of the day to aid business decision making in 2014.

“It became apparent that our legacy software and limited reporting was a gap in the business. We realised that we needed to keep up with the latest tools to support our reporting across the business,” Craig said.

After a thorough review process and meeting with national and international ERP providers – including Pronto and Microsoft Dynamics™ – and users, P&R Electrical transitioned to Epicor Prophet 21 software in January 2016, hosted on P&R Electrical’s private cloud. The deep industry knowledge of Epicor was a balanced fit for P&R Electrical. “They weren’t trying to be a solution for everyone. They focused on and specialised in distribution and so they had a deep understanding of our business and our needs, with a solution built from decades of experiences working with distributors.” With training and support by Epicor, P&R Electrical was able to successfully launch the system across all sites in one day after a 10-week testing and reconciliation process.

“Epicor took the time help ensure our data was right. We decided to import five years’ worth of data across the new system, which was no small feat. Our team were trained, and the overall implementation was seamless for the business.”

ERP to help business think differently

Craig said P&R Electrical wanted to use its ERP to increase efficiency and encourage the team and leaders to think differently – specifically, wanting tools that allowed us to analyse our business differently. For example, buying the right stock at the right moment is critical to what we do. The system automatically reconciles itself and informs us of sales and stock purchasing trends and needs so we don’t have a supply issue for our customers. Having access to live data helps us to get it right and identify trends and patterns correctly.

“All of our 100 team members use Epicor Prophet 21 software all day. It helps our staff do their jobs better and is fundamental to everything that we do from inventory management, sales, accounts receivable, accounts payable, general ledger—the full gamut excluding payroll. With Epicor Prophet 21’s reporting solutions, there is nothing that we can’t report on.”

According to Craig, P&R Electrical’s customers have also benefited from Epicor Prophet 21. They can now service customers better because of the system’s reliability, stock and pricing management across its sites and communications functions. P&R Electrical can satisfy the growing demand from customers to provide accurate information and personalised reports faster than before, including automatically uploading invoices at the point of sale. Having access to live data has also allowed the company to provide reliable and accurate levels of customer service.

“If a particular branch doesn’t have a particular item in stock, we can confidently check nearby branches’ stock on behalf of our clients, saving us having to ring around to find out.”

From an employee perspective, the transition has been seamless with employees appreciating the simple, modern platform. Implementing change management and encouraging employees to engage and provide feedback on new processes is important to us.

“Moving from an old blue screen environment to a Microsoft-based one, with workflows and buttons that are a lot more intuitive has certainly helped cut down training time. Employees are a lot more comfortable navigating the system, and need minimal training when we introduce new modules for example.”

Epicor Prophet 21 supported business growth

Epicor Prophet 21 has supported P&R Electrical through continued growth over the last five years.

“The solution meets our business needs, and needs we didn’t even know we had. For instance, we now use a complex pricing algorithm across our sites and for our sales reps on the road, which gives us greater consistency and more flexibility with pricing. We’ve increased the volume of our sale values without increasing the volume of transactions.”

Craig said that Epicor Prophet 21 was a welcome asset as the business positioned itself during Covid-19. The tool allowed P&R Electrical to monitor its business and swiftly adapt in response to evolving trends in the market and it gave the executive team certainty about the business so they could make decisions with confidence. “ Epicor Prophet 21 is constantly evolving in response to user feedback and adding new features, which fundamentally helps our business and encourages us to keep growing.”

Since implementing Epicor Prophet 21, P&R Electrical has grown, expanded into ecommerce and continued getting smarter as a business without needing to add additional administrative staff.”

P&R Electrical estimate the business has seen a multifold return on its technology investment with Epicor. 

“For example, with Epicor Prophet 21’s electronic data interchange, we are able to integrate a new supplier or import a new product range into our system in one day without manual data entry or complex processes. On the old platform this would easily take 2 or 3 days and was a laborious, potentially human error-prone process.”Craig said that P&R Electrical had a strong and longstanding relationship with Epicor.

“We really like that we can quickly talk to people who understand our business and our marketplace, not another help desk. Epicor’s support network gives us confidence in the product and fantastic customer service when we have queries or need to escalate a matter. Epicor feels like they are our partners — that they are invested in our business.”

Solutions

Distribution  Prophet 21

Company Facts

  • Location: 12 locations across South Australia

  • Industry: Electrical Distribution

  • Number of employees: More than 100

  • Website: pr.electrical.com.au

Challenges

  • Legacy software and hardware would no longer meet the needs of their growing business
  • Detailed, timely, accurate, and diverse data was needed to support daily operations, business planning and future growth plans

Benefits

  • With real-time data, leaders can immediately see the exact position of the business, at any given moment, improving visibility for better decision-making
  • Supported P&R’s steady business growth without the need to hire more administrative staff
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