We knew we needed a software system that would meet our current needs, as well as allow us to grow to include future requirements.
Founded in 1973, Villa Park Electrical Supply Company is a family owned and operated electrical supply and lighting distributor, serving the Greater Chicago area. The company's 3,200 square foot Electrician's Superstore, located in Addison just outside of Chicago, IL, was built with the electrical contractor in mind, and offers products geared toward residential, commercial, and industrial use.
Although Villa Park's previous business system, Real World, was functional, it was an old DOS-based system dating back over 30 years. "As our business grew over the years, and technology changed along with it, we knew we had to upgrade the system to streamline some of our day-to-day processes," explains Rose Ann Deadessis, Managing Partner at Villa Park Electrical Supply. "We also needed to meet the demands of our customers, in order to move forward."
Savance's Steve Bardocz managed Villa Park Electrical Supply's transition to Savance Enterprise. "Villa Park is a great example of a family owned and operated independent distributor looking to stay innovative and competitive in today's landscape," he says. "The family relies on each other’s strengths to collectively demonstrate that hard work and high service level still wins over customers."
"We knew that there were many technological advances since we first started using Real World in 1986," says Rose Ann Deadessis. Arguing against that fact would be impossible in Villa Park's case: In addition to an antiquated operating system, the company's business system also relied heavily on green bar paper, dot matrix printers, and paper ledgers, where Villa Park would record each financial transaction in writing on a daily basis. While these methods and materials might still work, they are not future-ready, and add time to an already busy work schedule for everyone involved.
A big driving force for the need to streamline business processes was the challenge of managing any given order from order entry to fulfillment in the Real World business system. The extra steps and time required by not having seamless integration, communication, and drill down available in the ERP across all functional areas of the business were costly. "We wanted to have orders print directly to the warehouse so they could be fulfilled," explains Rose Ann Deadessis. "In the past, we were printing orders at the service desk and then running back to give the paperwork to the warehouse staff to fill. It was very time-consuming."
Along those same lines, Villa Park also had a staff member in the front office receive material into the company's old ERP after the warehouse staff had checked it in against the manufacturer's packaging list. This method of entering received stock was inherently both time-consuming and error-prone.
Villa Park Electrical Supply Company started the hunt for an ERP solution that would both meet the company's immediate needs, as well as allow for future business growth. "We knew we needed a software system that would meet our current needs, as well as allow us to grow to include future requirements," Rose Ann Deadessis says. "For example, we wanted to streamline order processing, billing, purchasing, inventory control, and payables. We also wanted to create a web store and integrate it with our business system. Finally, having a system in real-time was very important to us. This would encompass inventory and accounting."
When the Villa Park management team started to look for a new business system, they turned to NAED, the National Association of Electrical Distributors, for a suggestion. "We were searching for software that was compatible with our industry, and NAED referred Savance to us," says Rose Ann Deadessis about how Villa Park first got into contact with Savance.
The company considered another solution as well, but decided it was not a good fit. "After studying the product they had to offer, we found that the system was not much different than what we were already using," Rose Ann Deadessis explains. "We chose Savance because the product seemed to be the solution that we were looking for. What we really needed was basically an advanced and up-to-date version of what we were already using. A future-ready ERP system that would allow us to grow. The Savance system also catered to the electrical industry, which was a big factor in our decision."
By making the deployment a priority and approaching it with the right mindset, Villa Park Electrical Supply handled the transition to Savance Enterprise very well. "A lot of distributors think they can just commit to a new piece of software, and magically – overnight – all their problems go away," says Steve Bardocz at Savance. "That’s not how it works. Instead, you have to identify areas where your business has weaknesses and identify opportunities for improvement, and most importantly, be willing to change. When a team is as cooperative as Villa Park, the before and after is like night and day."
Rose Ann Deadessis agrees, and says "As with any major change, there were many challenges, some of which resolved themselves quickly, while others took a bit longer to figure out. However, most of the areas [of the software] that we work with fit our needs perfectly. We've also found the customer service and support team to be very professional and friendly."
Results & Benefits
After years and years of doing things one way, change is not easy; however, in this case, it has been worthwhile, and Villa Park Electrical Supply has seen improvements in all major areas of its business operations since implementing Savance Enterprise. Many procedures have been streamlined and simplified, and now function much more efficiently. Statement processing and order processing are two examples.
"Statement processing is phenomenal," says Rose Ann Deadessis. "What used to take us all day to do is completed in a matter of minutes. Order processing has become more streamlined as well." When it comes to quoting, team members can put together a quote for a customer in a matter of minutes, and the customer will instantly receive a copy of the quote to their email.
Rose Ann Deadessis brings up customer returns processing as another area where the company has seen great improvements. "Credits are definitely getting easier, and I love it. Our returns area is the cleanest and most up-to-date it's ever been. Credits are coming in quickly, as well, because it’s so much easier for me to keep track of everything."
As part of the transition to Savance Enterprise, Savance suggested that Villa Park implement the use of manufacturer part numbers, which replaced the prefixed, non-standard part numbers the company had previously been using. Partly, this was done to be able to take advantage of Savance's data import tools for better descriptions and more accurate and up-to-date pricing; however, Villa Park has seen some immediate benefits based on this change. "I like using the manufacturer's part number because it simplifies and cuts down on errors when ordering from the manufacturer," explains Michael Favia, President at Villa Park Electrical Supply Company. When asked what he sees as the most significant change between Savance Enterprise and Real World, Michael Favia mentions purchasing. "Purchasing is much easier using the Savance system compared to Real World."
In addition to the examples mentioned above, Villa Park's receiving and shipping methods have been improved, and now handle backorders and order fulfillment much more efficiently. Another big time savings for the company is that the end-of-day cash drawer reconciliation process has been automated.
When transitioning to a new way of managing a business, it is critical to properly document and streamline the new process, and then enforce it as a standard. This is challenging for any company but particularly a company that has been doing things the same way for many years. The double-entry ledger journal and other paper-based methods are examples of areas where the Villa Park team had to change its mindset from old ways to new.
Nick Lochner, Account Executive at Savance, was part of Villa Park Electric Supply's transition from Real World to Savance Enterprise. "Prior to conversion, Villa Park had a paper-heavy process. Our original recommendation to their executive team was to immediately remove the need for so much paper being shuffled from person to person by way of Savance's many paperless workflows," he says. "Initially the team was skeptical, and for the first few weeks after go-live, they used and filed paper copies of most things; however, about a month into using Savance Enterprise, they made the choice to stop relying on paper and instead relied on the software."
Making the decision to stop relying on paper has had a big impact on Villa Park's day-to-day processes, in several ways. "In speaking with the Villa Park team, they are very happy they have moved away from paper," Lochner says. "The paperless tools in Savance Enterprise have allowed them to have more seamless visibility and drill down into their data, do less filing, and realize cost savings due to needing less paper and ink. This is one example of the many process improvements Savance Enterprise can offer, leading to an immediate return on investment."
"It’s rewarding to be a part of such a major transformation, and help a company that’s eager to succeed take their business to the next level,” Steve Bardocz concludes. “It’s one of the reasons I get up and do what I do. The complete transformation is both motivating and rewarding, and we couldn’t be happier to have had the chance to win Villa Park’s business, and to partner with them long into the future."