Richard Dodick, CEO, Wholesale Electric Supply:
I want to start by saying that Savance is one of those rare vendors that ALWAYS go above and beyond the call of duty. They initially came out to show us their system that worked with an existing business system, but we were still on paper forms and using the Trade Service books. I knew we had to make a change to stay competitive but change is a difficult concept when you have been doing business the same way for so long. Savance put a plan together for us to slowly move us into the 21st century.
Savance first had to put some infrastructure in place to support their system. We had one computer that managed accounts payable/receivable and one computer that managed an Excel file with our costs. The computers were completely independent. Savance purchased and set up a server, computers, wireless, printers, bar code printers, handhelds, e-mail, external connectivity (over the Internet), and a website. They configured and set up the entire network and all the hardware. This one vendor approach made it easier for us than having to have someone put in the computers and someone else put in our new business system. After the network was installed, it was time to start on the business system roll out plan.
The plan started with helping us organize our inventory. By starting with a bar coded warehouse, they told us that we were going to run before we could even walk but that the payoff was worth it. We sectioned the warehouse and labeled the shelves and bins with bar codes. Every part was inventoried and bar codes were generated. Their help in this process was paramount. We were able to start with all the items from Material Express and use a handheld to bring those items in our warehouse into our local inventory file. We were able to directly enter reorder points and the location was automatically load based on the most recently scanned location tag. This expedited the inventory process significantly. I would have expected us to have to manually create a list of the items, look up all the prices, and data enter the items into their system. In addition, they provided resources to assist in this process which meant that my business could continue as normal without feeling the strain of implementing a new business system.
The next step involved loading our pricing from manufacturer disks. Savance's program has a nice tool that made this process completely automated. Even for future updates, the column matching and importing is a matter of minutes. The most significant learning curve we had during this process was determining which lines to load, how to effectively organize the manufacturer disks and updates, and how to track incorrectly loaded prices (which Savance's program provides a way to see the complete audit trail of any change to pricing – this was a big help).
Finally, we began using the system which the staff immediately loved. Just being able to pull up items and instantly see our cost and provide the customer with accurate pricing was a significant milestone. Now, we can scan any item with a mobile handheld to build an order or check a price. We can also cash people out just by scanning the items – a significant time savings. In addition, we can now more effectively combine our purchasing efforts by simply clicking on their critical purchasing and choosing the vendors that we need to purchase.
The system has paid for itself in our efficiency increase alone. We have uncovered pricing issues, exposed purchasing problems (due to minimum penalties and over buying), and finally knew exactly what was in our warehouse. We are now able to do what some distributors have only dreamed of doing. We have gone from paper forms to wireless handhelds that allow us to almost anything.
The Savance staff always went above and beyond to make sure this project was successful. They were attentive to our needs, adapted the solution to our process, and against their best interests, went at our pace. Some of our staff went from never using a computer to scanning items, printing labels, and e-mailing orders. Savance's thorough training and patience was the key to this transition. Everyone here at Wholesale Electric would personally and professionally recommend Savance for any future relationship.