Month: March 2014
The following is excerpted from the cover story article of the current issue of Contractor Supply Magazine which is titled “At New South Construction Supply, only the best is good enough” and was authored by Tom Hammel.
The piece highlights New South’s implementation of state-of-the-art business intelligence tools to improve margin performance. Jimmy Sobeck, their VP, Finance and Administration discusses the benefits they have received since embracing strategic pricing technology through implementing the SPA add-on to Epicor’s Prophet 21 software.
“I had studied computer science at Georgia Tech and got my degree in business finance,” Jim’s son, Jimmy, says. “New South was looking at putting in Epicor Prophet 21 and I had some experience with ERP, databases, programming and business so I came in and got involved with that implementation. I’ve been here since 2006 when we went live with the system.”
Today, Jimmy is New South’s vice president of finance and administration, but he still loves computers.
“I really enjoy providing information and giving our people the tools they need to make decisions,” Jimmy adds. “If we think we need to add more people or a new truck to a branch, we may do an analysis of how many transactions they run through the day or how many customer pick-ups versus deliveries they make per day or month versus the other branches. I can go into the database and create custom queries at will and provide information that the system might not have as a canned report. For just about any question that comes up, I can have hard data within 20 minutes.”
Jimmy also took the lead in New South’s implementation of strategic pricing.
“We use Strategic Pricing Associates (SPA), which offers an add-on to Epicor’s Prophet 21,” Jimmy explains. “SPA analyses the vendors and types of products you sell to try to identify your core and non-core products. The idea is that you should be able to get a higher margin for your non-core items.”
That product data is put into a matrix that plots a distributor’s customers by market segment, for example, resellers, the government or regular contractors; and by size — small, medium, large or huge. Combined, these three factors create a “cube” of possible pricing combinations.
“They take all that information and build a complex pricing library for you that integrates with Prophet 21. It gives you a custom price for every customer and every item — based on your own historical data.”
“Why give a tiny customer the same price for a particular item that you do to somebody who buys 20 times more? SPA enables you to tighten up these variances and increase your margins. In the products we have added so far to the program, we have seen about a 2.5 percent margin increase year-over-year in our first year with SPA.”
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