Home Appliances is the third largest supplier of appliances in Australia by volume, with operations in each capital city and a projected 100,000 appliances to be distributed in 2012.
The company distributes a range of products to leading retailers in Australia and New Zealand including products by Euromaid; the largest selling Australian-owned brand in Australia, IAG and Arc; the largest selling brands sold directly by kitchen stores throughout Australia; as well as holding exclusive distribution rights for international brands Fagor and Elica.
Home Appliances distributes finished goods, spare parts and accessories to a number of channels including electrical retailers, kitchen retailers, service agents, and commercial channels including builders and developers.
The company has experienced strong growth over the past decade and continues to expand its operations across Australia.
Home Appliances has become one of the largest suppliers of appliances and kitchenware to the Australian retail sector Since the company's inception as a start-up more than a decade ago, Home Appliances has required the support of an ERP system to assist in the running and expansion of its operations.
"Over an 11 year period we have had relatively rapid growth, from a start-up to where we today: the third largest appliance distributor in Australia. Part of my philosophy has always been to have one system for everything," Michael Hall, executive director, Home Appliances, said.
Home Appliances' headquarters are based in Sydney, with warehouses and employees based in every capital city in Australia. The company required a system that could provide accessibility to the remote workers that make up over half of the organisations' workforce.
"We have 45 employees and a head office in Sydney where half our employees are based; everyone else works remotely. Our structure requires that the systems we have in place are very important to our operations. We required an ERP system that allows our remote workers to login from all over Australia and can provide them with access to information in real-time," Hall explains.
Following a decade of rapid growth, Home Appliances was looking to increase its viability over the data it coilects from each department. The company wanted to introduce a system that could provide a clear and concise snap shot of its operations and customer accounts. The subsequent reports would support the company during critical business decisions
Home Appliances chose to support its operations with the Epicor ERP solution, Epicor Portal and Epico¢ Storefront, supported by Epicor partner, AIS Computing.
Epicor ERP, Epicor Portal and Epicor Storefront
Home Appliances has been an Epicor customer for over a decade. During this time, upgrades to their existing ERP system have continually enhanced the company's ability to manage their supply chain and improve operational workflow.
"When I started the company, we were pan of a larger group that was using Epicor We looked at what Epicor was able to provide and we worked out that while we were part of a larger group, as a wholesale distribution business the Epicor system suited our purposes and it has also given us the ability to grow," Hall said. "We started off from scratch and it's now given us the ability to be where we are now."
"Part of my philosophy as the business has grown is to have one system for everything. We have everything on Epicor from accounts, to sales, to inventory, logistics and after- sales service. We use Epicor Financial Management for reconciliation, general ledger and for closing the books. It enables us to get reports out very quickly at the end of each month."
Home Appliances has also implemented Epicor Portal which has improved the visibility and access to the Epicor system. Epicor Portal can help by providing the framework and tools that allow you to gather and share data. Home Appliances can get the information they need, when they need it. Epicor Portal moves the function of gathering and publishing data out of the hands of IT and into general usage for easier collaboration. By leveraging Microsoft SharePoint for industry-leading portal infrastructure, Epicor Portal is able to provide a secure and collaborative portal environment that reaches across the company.
"Customers may have two or three different services jobs; Epicor Portal collects all of the information on that customer and puts it onto the one screen. It also assists us by getting all of the account data, credit data and return, and putting it on one screen. It presents our data in a clear, concise snapshot."
From general ledger, through to supply chain logistics and enhanced operational efficiency, Home Appliances has enjoyed numerous benefits in their application of Epicor ERP.
The complete Epicor ERP system has allowed the company to run all of its operations on the one system, allowing for easy integration between departments. Epicor Portal also increases the company's visibility over customer accounts and supports management during decision-making process.
"Having our entire operation running on Epicor makes reconciliation and account production very simple. Everything is linked so we can get a really good snapshot of the business.
"Having our operations integrated on Epicor provides us with the ability to extract really good reports covering a number of different areas of the business and they are of great benefit when it comes to making business decisions and helping us to drive the business."
Similarly, Epicor Portal allows Home Appliances to build specific content within the portal and makes that content available for use throughout the company's operations. The ability to provide increased access to information enhances productivity and improves collaboration between the company's remote- and centrally-based employees, departments and divisions
After experiencing great benefit from Epicor ERP for over a decade, Home Appliances is now looking implement Epicor Storefront which will streamline the company's ordering process — providing customers with additional opportunities to purchase products.
"Epicor Storefront will provide access for our customers to place orders online and pay for products online. Our customers will also be able to integrate their orders," Hall said.
"This means they can login into their own accounts online and see every order they have in the system, print out copies of their orders and check delivery dates.
"Epicor Storefront will also save data entry, transcribing errors and improve the overall efficiency of our business.
"The system will also be linked into our supply chain. There will be a link on our logistic supplier's website, so that our customers can get proof of deliveries or the anticipated delivery dates.
"We have one system that links us to our customers — and I see that as a great differentiator between us and our competition. We are using IT as a differentiator in the service we provide; it's not just for finished goods, it's also for spare parts and accessories.