Sign manufacturer implements e-Commerce module

Supplier: Epicor Software (Aust)
27 June, 2011

Hi-Vis Signs and Safety is one of Australia’s largest manufacturers of road and safety signs.

In keeping with their innovative and 'high-tech' approach to business, Hi-Vis Signs and Safety have been working with COGITA and Epicor utilising Vantage ERP.

'Be seen' is the Hi-Vis tag line. 'Be the first' could be its second. In fact, Hi-Vis Signs and Safety was the first in Australia to start implementing the newly rearchitected Vantage 8; the first to acquire the VUTEk GS3200 printer (a highly innovative printer from USA); and once again the first to implement in the Asia Pacific region with COGITA, the e-Commerce module from Epicor; plus their first online order came through in February.

The ongoing success of Hi-Vis is due to its commitment in bringing innovative good quality products on time to its customers.

Offering an online selling point for their customers that integrates with their Vantage ERP system was an important step with improving customer satisfaction and running smooth operations.

"To help us achieve our online goals, COGITA recommended the e–Commerce module and we went live a couple of months ago. Hi-Vis is now pleased to offer customers a new way of browsing and ordering their products and services online," says Graeme Bashford, Hi-Vis Marketing Manager.

Real time information
The Epicor e-Commerce module allows organisations to manage customers, merchandise, inventory and order history — basically the entire order life cycle. It enables Hi-Vis to increase their Web presence and help drive new business—both from new and existing customers, untapped business opportunities and sales channels.

A major advantage of Epicor e–Commerce is its integration with every part of the business. The software eliminates the need for a separate commerce specific database so everything is recorded in the one system (Vantage), from the starting point when the order is taken to the end product being dispatched. With transactions being processed in real time, every step of the sale, the accounting process, and the production process can be seen in a central location.

Good quality price ratio
e-Commerce is a content management and commerce management tool. "The implementation of e-Commerce took a bit longer than expected but it was an interesting learning curve," says Peter Davey, Hi-Vis IT Manager.

"The module offers a choice of templates, options and designs to choose from. It is quite easy and straight forward; once you choose the template, your website can be up very quickly," says Davey.

When businesses think of selling online and creating a website, they may think of hiring a web designer to create the look, feel and functionality, which is the path that Hi-Vis were considering. This exercise can be costly and importantly may not take into account the aspects of ongoing content management and integration with the existing ERP system.

e-Commerce is an "all–in–one" option and once the look and feel is set up, the information starts flowing through the system.

"The management console is very good and does everything we would ever want to do," says Peter.

Customer satisfaction
Hi-Vis now has a wide range of road and workplace safety products that can be purchased online through their website; Each client can obtain a log in and password, making the ordering process smooth, fast and easy.

One-off and cash sale customers can pay by secure credit card payment portal, and account customers operating within their credit limit automatically receive an invoice. Most importantly, when an existing account customer logs in to the website, they can have their specific price lists and discount structure appear in the shopping basket, and they can also access their order and invoice history, making reorders very simple.

Hi-Vis currently receives orders from many different sources through fax, email or phone. The focus is to move toward processing orders online for faster delivery and greater visibility for the customer.

"We want to get more and more business through the website" says Bashford.

Online selling and automated order processing not only means greater efficiency inhouse but also generates better customer satisfaction.

The sales team don’t need to be involved anymore which means the total order to despatch lead time can be reduced by an average of 1 working day.

A significant chunk of Hi-Vis business is where customers in the safety industry tend to re–order the same type of product. They will now be able to re-order within a couple of minutes by clicking on the picture of the products they require and entering the quantity. The system will do the rest.

The system is very easy to use and enables customers to check new products, their order status and history online. "The customer feedback has been very positive and we hope many more customers will follow the trend," says Bashford.

Looking forward
Hi-Vis has many ideas around what they want to be able to do with their new website and will be actively exploring this in the coming months. They will also be doing more to fully utilise the integration between their Epicor eMarketing, Vantage CRM and Epicor e-Commerce modules. There are current plans to explore further options for providing remote access to the Vantage solution for their sales force, to allow the sales team to be more efficient.