Profiles in Supply Chain Enablement: Russell Sigler completes a wide-scale ERP deployment on an aggressive schedule
Company: Russell Sigler, Inc. (Phoenix, Ariz.)
Company Size: Medium
Company Sector: Distribution/Wholesale
Area(s) of Enablement: Order/Demand Capture, Procurement, Fulfillment/Logistics, Payment, Customer Relationship Management, Decision Support.
Enabler: Adonix (Pittsburgh, PA).
Case Study: Russell Sigler, Inc. (RSI) is a leading wholesaler of heating and air-conditioning products. Headquartered in Phoenix, Ariz., the company distributes the Carrier, Bryant and Payne product lines from eight branch locations throughout the U.S. Southwest, providing contractors with all the necessary equipment, parts and supplies for installing and maintaining quality commercial and residential air conditioning and heating systems.
The company had been operating a legacy Adonix enterprise resource planning (ERP) package called TOLAS on DEC VMS since the mid-1980s, but RSI wanted to use a more modern, open system to improve information flow throughout its branches and empower the company's users with automated data collection capabilities and real-time business intelligence.
RSI's multi-site environment posed a challenge since all the branches are closely intertwined from a supply and demand standpoint. They continually transfer inventory between sites to help satisfy local customer needs, so it's common for one branch to pull inventory from another's stock. The company therefore understood that by integrating across the enterprise with effective forecasting and replenishment controls, RSI would be able to better position inventory across its demand chain. In addition, RSI realized that the company would need a more sophisticated order fulfillment and inventory sourcing environment right out of the box. Ultimately, RSI selected the Adonix X3 ERP system for the implementation.
One unique challenge for RSI was the company's firm commitment to meeting an aggressive system implementation schedule. Since demand for air-conditioning systems accelerates during the spring months, the company wanted to have a fully operational system across all eight sites during a concentrated six-week timeframe, just ahead of this peak demand period. The plan was to accumulate system knowledge with Adonix's help in the months ahead of the go-live date, but to perform the bulk of the branch implementation work themselves, with just a staff of three people.
The key to the success of the project was the close work that RSI did with Adonix using the most appropriate implementation methodology as its guide. RSI opted to use Adonix Cappucino, a goal-directed methodology designed for more sophisticated midsize implementations, to document and track key activities like functional gap analysis and resolution, as well as data migration. The company used a conference room pilot to validate system operation and a train-the-trainer education approach.
Through gap analysis, RSI and Adonix built in important specific functionality such as vendor claims capabilities. Claims processing is a very integral part of RSI's business, allowing them to claim rebates for products that are sold to certain customers under certain cost/price conditions. Manual claims tracking and invoicing was time-consuming and prone to errors, but with Adonix' development toolset, RSI was able to adapt the Adonix X3 ERP system to accommodate this value-added component.
To be ready for the company's "big bang" implementation, the core project staff became thoroughly knowledgeable with all operational aspects of Adonix X3, a key prerequisite for employing a "train-the-trainer" approach across a 130-user, eight-branch network.
Following a successful conference room pilot and cut-over period at the company's corporate headquarters, the implementation was successfully deployed at each branch location over a six-week period. Subsequently, in just eight months after the project kickoff date and in time to accommodate its busy season Russell Sigler effectively transitioned to Adonix X3, with all sites running Sales, Invoicing, Branch Transfers, Purchasing Requests, Inventory and other key distribution activities.
The claims process is now fully automated, with complete tracking and reporting on eligible rebates, as well as impacting invoicing, inventory cost reductions and general ledger and sales reporting. With 25 percent of business activity involving claims, RSI anticipates that a significant amount of savings will accrue from this functionality alone over time.
After using a "green screen" system for many years, RSI is also taking advantage of the inherent drill-down capabilities of Adonix X3, which has improved access to information and helped in enhancing customer service. The company deferred its automated data collection and forecasting needs to a secondary project phase, and to address the latter requirements, RSI is implementing SmartForecasts from Adonix business partner Smart Software. RSI also is planning a Web storefront as a follow-on project.
RSI proved that with sufficient determination, even a small staff can successfully bring a wide-scale implementation to fruition in a concentrated time period a rare feat in an era normally known for lengthy implementations and costly budget over-runs.
For more stories of successful supply chain implementation, read the "2005 Supply & Demand Chain Executive 100" article in the June/July 2005 issue of the magazine. Also watch the Today's Headlines section of SDCExec.com every Tuesday and Thursday for more in depth best practices drawn from this year's Supply & Demand Chain Executive 100.