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Keim Lumber

Company Facts

  • Location: Charm, Ohio
  • Industry: LBM
  • Number of Employees: 400
  • Year Founded: 1911
  • Annual Revenue: $70 million


As the fourth generation transitions into the business, Keim continues to provide its customers with hard work, dedication, and honesty.

Keim's owners are always searching for new and creative ways to provide better service to their customers-and in order to provide that kind of outstanding service, management chose to switch to the Epicor Catalyst system

Increasing Efficiency with Switch to Catalyst

With a third of Keim's business in retail, Keim relied on the Epicor Eagle system for 15 years. Although the staff liked the Eagle system, management wanted to have their manufacturing operations integrated into one system.

Lavern Schlabach, director of accounting and technology, explains, "We wanted to have one ERP solution that could handle all of our hardwood lumber requirements from accumulation and drying to remanufacturing, and also handle retail. We also wanted deeper integration with third-party software for dispatch and delivery and professional estimating. After looking at other technology vendors, we ultimately selected Epicor's Catalyst system"

Dispatcher Schedules 330 Orders in a Single Day with DDMS

Keim has a large Amish customer base, and the company has successfully used new technology like Epicor Dispatch and Delivery Management System (DDMS) to cater to old world, low-tech customers. Prior to DDMS, Keim conducted a manual dispatch and delivery operation. Their adoption of DDMS has made a large impact, and Keim can now deliver more product with the same staff.

DDMS is a system designed to walk dispatchers through the scheduling and completion of deliveries electronically. DDMS transformed the flow of Keim's dispatch and delivery department. Keim purchased 7-inch tablets for their drivers to mount on the dashboards for turn-by-turn driving directions. "Our drivers have really taken to DDMS. And our sales people have, too. They have visibility into the status of the orders for delivery, and can answer questions more quickly now," says Lavern.

Keim's two dispatchers are able to dispatch simultaneously from a single location using the DDMS Work Center. Keim's dispatchers schedule as many as 25 to 40 stops per truck, with some job sites as far as 150 miles away. "It's a lot of coordination. One of our dispatchers told me that on a typical full day, he has 180 to 220 orders to schedule for delivery. Recently he scheduled 330 orders in a single day, a feat he said couldn't have been accomplished prior to DDMS and Catalyst," Lavern notes.

New DDMS capabilities, such as electronically capturing signatures upon delivery and taking photos of the shipment and signee at the job site has made it easier to solve customer issues. "There have been a few times when a customer couldn't find a product that had been delivered," describes Lavern. "The sales person looked at the photo of the delivery in the system and directed the customer to the item based on the photo. DDMS is very convenient."

Keim Employees Communicate with Ease Using Business Process Management

Keim benefits greatly from the BPM software, which streamlines workflow between employees. Through BPM alerts, employees are notified when an action item should be addressed. A quick link takes them directly to the document in question. "With as many sales people as we have, BPM has increased the speed of employee communication. For example, we might have an order that needsa deposit, but we only take payment at the cash register or in the billing office. A sales person sends a BPM alert to the billing department for payment. The billing department sees the alert with a link to the order. They click on the link, complete the task, and send a BPM communication to the sales person that it's complete," says Lavern.

Millwork Configurator Helps Sales Personnel Price Custom Projects

Millwork for Epicor Catalyst uses dynamic millwork files which allow a front-end user to price and order millwork projects accurately. As the sales person answers the millwork questions, the millwork system creates the work order. "We can create custom millwork on the fly and provide the correct pricing to the customers," describes Lavern. "Prior to Catalyst, a sales person would have had to get pricing from the millwork office. Now pricing is faster, and there's less opportunity for error."

Document Management

Keim uses Document Management to automatically produce and laser-print 2500 monthly statements. "Document Management is a better way to produce statements. It takes less than a day for three employees to get the statements printed and in the mail," continues Lavern. "We also have some customers receiving statements via e-mail. They get a statement in their inbox that looks just like what they would have gotten in the mail. This saves both time and postage for us, and our customers receive their statements immediately."

System Truly Serving Business End-to-End

With Keim's business picking up, the staff is finding they are ready to handle the higher sales volume with the Catalyst system. "Our revenue is up significantly this year. Catalyst has provided us with a platform for that integrated system we were looking for and enabled us to do more with the same staff," concludes Lavern. "The Catalyst system is proving to be the right choice. It's a system we can build on for the future."

Executive Summary

Keim Lumber Company is a family-owned lumber company and has been operating in Holmes County, Ohio, in the heart of Amish country, since 1911. This single location lumberyard offers a diverse product mix to pros, home builders, remodelers, and DIYers. They have a door and window shop that stocks many of Andersen® Window's products. They also provide standard lumber products and manufacture all their own hardwood moldings.

About Epicor

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 .

Success Highlights:

"Catalyst has provided us with a platform for that integrated system we were looking for and enabled us to do more with the same staff. The Catalyst system is proving to be the right choice. It's a system we can build on for the future."

Lavern Schlabach, Director of Accounting and Technology | Keim Lumber