Case Study: Conexiom Powers Field Fastener's ERP System

By eliminating manual order entry, Field Fastener reduced errors, expedited order processing, and improved service levels and customer satisfaction.

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Background

Field Fastener is a full-service engineering partner and global fastener distributor based out of Illinois. With over 100 staff working out of four locations across the Midwest, Field Fastener is one of the fastest growing U.S. private companies with an impressive growth rate of 54 percent over the past three years. They have earned a reputation for reducing customers’ operating costs by creating efficiencies and increasing profitability.

To serve their 900+ customers located in more than 20 countries, they offer an impressive portfolio with over 120,000 SKUs. As a busy supplier with annual revenues exceeding $60 million, Field Fastener turned to Conexiom for sales order automation to streamline order processing and to complement their system used to manage their extensive inventory and distribution operations.

Challenges

Need to Save Time with Order Entry: “With a reputation for reducing operating costs, it was natural for us to always be on the look out for ways to lean out ouroperations,” explained Chad Olson, Director of IT. Customer orders received via email, phone or fax created the challenge of dual entry, where Customer Service Representatives (CSRs) needed to manually enter purchase orders into the Field Fastener system in order to create a sales order in their Prophet 21ERP system.

Time-Intensive Customer Portal Ordering: Some larger customers had their own method of ordering that created considerable work for the CSRs. “One of our largest customers with an extremely high volume of orders wanted us to use their online portal to download, confirm, and place their orders,” described Olson. “This meant that one person spent between 2-3 hours per day on manual entry re-keying these purchase orders.” At that rate the workload was manageable, but since this particular customer was growing at an annual rate of 20 percent, this could quickly become a full-time job.

Need to Reduce Entry Errors: Despite an impressively high accuracy rate, Field Fastener was keen to improve. “The manual entry component created the opportunity for natural human errors,” shared Olson. With over 100 orders received daily, even a 1 percent error rate would add unnecessary costs to the business and create unfortunate inconveniences for customers. “Between wrong part numbers, incorrect quantities, pricing errors, and double entries, we knew we could improve our quality of service by reducing the opportunity for keying errors,” said Olson.

Field Fastener needed a solution that would streamline the ordering process and help them to innovate so that they could continue to meet their customers’ high expectations. By automating the order process, especially for those regular customers with high volumes of daily orders, they envisioned a substantial time savings, improved profitability, and the ability to reduce the number of errors.

The Solution

Field Fastener decided to launch Conexiom with one division of their largest, high volume customer. “We were immediately interested in testing Conexiom out,” recalled Olson. What sold them was the concept of automating a process that used to be manual. As Olson explained, “It’s similar to doing an EDI implementation without having to get the customer involved.”  

Conexiom proved to be the ideal solution because it captures and transforms computer-generated purchase orders received from customers via email and print into electronic sales orders automatically. By mapping these customer orders directly to their ERP system, it solved the problem of dual entry, as well as order accuracy. Furthermore, the automation process was seamless to the customer, which was a key priority for Field Fastener.

Benefits

Save Hundreds of Hours Per Year: For their largest customer alone, in 2013 Field Fastener processed over 11,000 orders with over 12,000 line items. Overall, the speed of order processing has increased and employee productivity has skyrocketed. The ability to automate orders across all five of this customer’s divisions has created a tremendous time savings of almost 400 hours annually for just one customer.

Accuracy Concerns Erased: One of the biggest concerns was preserving and hopefully improving their low error rate, which would require total data accuracy. “One of the great benefits of using Conexiom is that it doesn’t rely on Optical Character Recognition to grab order information,” relayed Olson. “This gave us the confidence we needed to be sure our customers would see a decrease in order errors. We’re thrilled to report a 99.96 percent correct shipping rate today.”

Refocus Staff on High Value Business Priorities: The automation process has left the CSRs with free time despite a tremendous increase in processing volumes. “The biggest advantage we’ve seen is that our team spends more time on revenue generating tasks. CSRs spend time on data analysis to gain a deeper understanding of how our accounts are performing across volumes, margins, and pricing. It’s a huge win improving customer satisfaction, employee satisfaction, and the bottom line,” exclaimed Olson.

Future Growth: Conexiom was such a success that the team is always looking for opportunities to process more customers through the system. “Conexiom is incredibly simple and it just works. It works really well. Once the mapping is set up, it dramatically reduces the amount of time spent doing repetitive tasks,” shared Olson. “We’re a heavy user and the team is excited about it. They just love Conexiom.” 

“We didn’t want our customers to know that we’re processing their orders differently. With Conexiom we’ve achieved that,” said Olson. Delivering unparalleled business value, the system has paid for itself many times over. “It’s one of the best projects we’ve implemented from a cost perspective. For its accuracy and time savings, I highly recommend Conexiom. It’s easy to use and the ROI makes it one of the strongest offerings available,” shared Dave Gustafson, Desktop Support at Field Fastener.

 

For more information about Conexiom, visit www.conexiom.com

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