Headquartered in Columbus, Ohio, Restaurant Equippers is one of the largest sellers of new and used restaurant equipment and supplies in the United States.
Restaurant Equippers is one of the largest sellers of new and used restaurant equipment and supplies in the United States. Since its formation in 1966, the company has enjoyed two market distinctions.
1) Through size and ability to purchase in volume, the company can offer lower prices than most competitors.
2) To ensure prompt order fulfillment, it stocks every item advertised in its catalog, distributed quarterly to approximately 750,000 food service professionals. The company maintains a massive warehouse distribution center at its Columbus, Ohio headquarters, boasting a total of over 170,000 square feet. Roger Wadsworth, Chief Information Officer, notes, “Since we’re the discounters in our business, prices and availability are the two things we offer customers.”
When Roger Wadsworth first assumed the role of General Manager, Restaurant Equippers built a new warehouse and implemented an automated warehouse management system, integrated with the Distribution Management System (DMS) Restaurant Equippers was then using for enterprise resource planning. The DMS system was 15 years old and discontinued by the software developer, causing the company to turn its attention to implementation of a more sophisticated ER P system.
One of the biggest priorities was the ability to extract usable information from the system, a process which was extremely cumbersome with the old system. The company needed to know whether it was targeting the right customer base. It needed to ensure it was carrying the optimal product mix. Dealing in large items, it wanted the ability to analyze freight costs and select the lowest priced carriers to minimize total cost of ownership for customers. Expecting rapid growth, Restaurant Equippers knew the chosen solution must support significant company expansion.
The company evaluated a number of ER P systems and settled on Microsoft Dynamics GP. Two factors sold Wadsworth: 1) The solution had most of the desired functionality right out of the box, and 2) It operated with a Microsoft SQL Server database, the familiar tool already used for their warehouse management system.
Microsoft Certified partner Socius was engaged to assist Restaurant Equippers with implementation and customizations. The first order of business was to develop integrations with the warehouse management system; this work was done completely on the Dynamics GP side of the solution. The company wanted immediate information about availability of an item; they wanted to complete the entire order during the phone call. Another customization allowed order takers to offer an alternative item if a requested item was unavailable. The credit card transaction would be completed and the customer informed of the anticipated arrival date and costs, including freight charges, all in one phone call.
Socius provided a senior consultant to serve as project manager. The availability of the consultant and the partner support team helped to make the transition painless for Restaurant Equippers. Once the customizations and integrations were in place, training began. Wadsworth reports, “When we converted, we had no business interruption at all. To change your main system like this and not have any business interruption is a difficult thing to pull off and, in my opinion, Socius couldn’t have done a better job in that whole process.”
Wadsworth is quick to point out that the company’s success since the implementation is based on a number of factors and can be traced to improved business practices as well as the various software components. But he also recognizes that Dynamics GP is the fulcrum – the major user interface that integrates the other tools. Wadsworth observes, “We couldn’t have done it without a solution like Dynamics GP that makes it all possible.”
The company has since realized its anticipated growth. While the warehouse staff was reduced from 70 to 37 workers, the company is fulfilling 2½ times the previous fulfillment rate as a result of technology tool gains and changes in business practices! The new solution has provided the desired analysis tools. Among those tools are Crystal Reports, FRx Professional, and an integrated Web OLAP application. To Wadsworth, the availability of ‘actionable’ data cannot be measured, and the solution has delivered on that promise.
Customers immediately know if an item is available or, if not, whether an alternate can be substituted. Credit card processing occurs in one to two seconds compared with up to three minutes previously. The new solution has greatly improved the company’s ability to maintain satisfied customers. Restaurant Equippers looks to the future with the belief that Microsoft, with its commitment to research and development, will help keep them on the cutting edge. Wadsworth believes the value of a technology solution cannot be measured in dollars. His philosophy is, “If you do right things, right things will happen.” Partnering with Socius and Microsoft have proven to be those ‘right things’ for this company.