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Iowa Fluid Power

Since its launch in 1972 as a two-person operation distributing hydraulic components, Iowa Fluid Power (IFP) has grown into one of the Midwest's leading full-service providers and integrators of mobile and industrial motion control products. This includes the distribution of hydraulic, pneumatic, electronic, and related components to hundreds of heavy engineering and manufacturing companies throughout 11 states in the region.

We couldn't have dreamed of a better outcome. Our capabilities improved overnight. We needed a solution that could generate detailed reports that our people could retrieve on a moment's notice. Numerous options were researched, but none grasped both the distribution and the manufacturing sides of our business like Epicor Prophet 21. It's a tool we now use every day, and is ingrained into our organization.

Jim Kaas
President | Iowa Fluid Power

With on-the-shelf inventory totaling more than $5 million, IFP supports these customers from its corporate headquarters in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, as well as three additional locations in Minneapolis, Minnesota; Olathe, Kansas; and Houston, Texas. Another key to the company's success has been the services of Electro- Hydraulic Automation (EHA), which was formed in 1993 to handle automation systems work, repairs, and outside service for the entire company.

Coordination of a complex business

To better coordinate these activities and the efforts of more than 100 employees, IFP began searching for a software program that would easily monitor, track and record every sales and engineering transaction performed across all four locations and at EHA. Nearly half of IFP/EHA's sales are value-added, representing perhaps the largest commitment to manufacturing in fluid power distribution. After an extensive search, the company chose the Epicor Prophet 21 enterprise resource planning (ERP) solution in May 2010, due to its user-friendly Windows®-based operation and ability to fully centralize account information, customize data entry, and provide comprehensive reporting in real time.

"We couldn't have dreamed of a better outcome," says Jim Kaas, IFP President, who has been with the company for 30 years. "Our capabilities improved overnight. Our previous system could no longer keep up with the complex nature of our business. We needed a solution that could readily integrate client product sales with our customized engineering services, and generate detailed reports that our people could retrieve on a moment's notice.

"Numerous options were researched, but none grasped the distribution side of our business like Prophet 21," he notes. "Plus, the transition from our legacy system could not have been simpler. It actually came online under budget, and Epicor was with us every step of the way to ensure there were no glitches."

Smooth implementation leads to rapid information processing

Prophet 21 went live at IFP within nine months of its initial purchase. The conversion of data was handled primarily by internal staff with ongoing Epicor support. Expecting the final stages of the process to take at least five days, the company shut down on a Wednesday and planned for a Monday start-up. But according to Greg Kuhlman, IFP Vice President of Engineering, through the combined efforts of IFP and Epicor, the system was "fully capable, operational and ready for use by Thursday morning. With some additional data entry and verification of data, we went live on time and without any problems."

In addition, IFP's personnel were immediately impressed with the intuitive functionality of Prophet 21, and the amount of information it quickly and easily organizes into customized reports, invoices and purchase orders. "Prophet 21 has made my job 50 percent more efficient," explains Jeane Eagle, Assistant Controller at IFP. "The data is just so logically organized; everything is right there. It only takes moments to review a customer's entire purchasing and credit history. It used to take us twice as long to find and rectify problems. Plus, I can now reconcile the financial accounts for all four locations and EHA in hours instead of days." This includes the processing of more than 1,300 checks on a monthly basis.

"Epicor Prophet 21 is an extremely proactive solution that has allowed us to respond to customers and challenges more quickly and accurately than ever before," adds Kuhlman. "This is a rapid paced environment, and Epicor has partnered with us to increase our operational efficiency and provided us with better access to information to allow us to make quicker, more informed business decisions. Our salespeople and design engineers also love the system's ability to effortlessly track orders, record labor times, track projects, and check prices in seconds."

Kaas concludes, "Prophet 21 is a tool we now use every day, and is ingrained into our organization."


Company Facts

Location: Cedar Rapids, Iowa

Industry: Fluid Power

Number of Employees: 104

Web site:


Integrate sales, distribution, hands-on repairs, and customized design services of a large Midwestern fluid power distributor


Epicor Prophet 21


Reconciliation of financial accounts for four locations takes hours instead of days, including processing of more than 1,300 checks per month

Coordination of more than $5 million in inventory, as well as the activities of more than 100 employees, in one centralized database

Consolidation of account information, data entry, client histories, and purchasing information for instantaneous retrieval in customized report formats

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