Outsourcing Supplier Technology with Sage 100 ERP

 

Becker’s School Supplies

It’s that time of year, again. Leaves are changing colors, children are sporting backpacks filled with fresh school supplies, and school bus flashers beam through the morning fog. These sights along with the soft autumn breeze take each of us back to the time when we were young scholars. Ah, the memories…

George Becker gets to relive those memories almost every day. As president of Becker’s School Supplies, George makes sure that his two distribution centers in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and Deerfield Beach, Florida are stocked to meet the many demands of private and parochial schools. Becker’s School Supplies provides numerous items such as art supplies, furniture, classroom accents, and everything in between.

“I love what I do,” George said with a smile. “Being part of bettering a child’s education is absolutely rewarding.”



“I needed to develop a plan in which I could maximize efficiency and still concentrate on the core mission of providing quality school supplies.”


sad_64pxWhere It Hurt: Outdated Software

Though Becker School Supplies has been in business for 75 years, it was just under a decade ago that the company decided to serve the public by adding retail stores. It was time to make Becker’s dream of opening Parent / Teacher stores a reality.

“We were stepping into a new world,” said George. “Going retail presented many time-consuming challenges. Though I looked forward to serving new customers through a new market segment, I did not want to spread myself thin. I knew from the onset that I needed to develop a plan in which I could maximize efficiency and still concentrate on the core mission of providing quality school supplies.”

George realized that in order to continue to facilitate his company’s growth and maintain his core focus, he needed to upgrade the technology that had up to that point served Becker’s School Supplies well. And so, in 1994 George called upon CompuData to transition the school supplier from a proprietary AS/400 server that powered a host of terminals to a more efficient and user friendly environment. The move enabled its employees to process information thoroughly, efficiently, and rapidly.



How We Made Better: A Comprehensive Solution

As part of the upgrade, CompuData installed Sage 100 ERP to support Becker’s distribution and retail needs, streamlining the accounting activity from each entity. This allowed Becker’s controller to customize and quickly access reports and analyze activity from each of its locations.

Becker’s School Supplies was growing rapidly, and so were its technology needs. “After the initial conversion, we decided that CompuData would become our IT Department,” said George. “It was a good decision. The volume of our business transactions requires a lot of technical support. That, as well as growing into a multi-location entity, would justify establishing an IT Department. However, we find outsourcing our technology needs to be a better investment. Our expertise is in serving customers, not dealing with technology. We wanted to keep it that way. Outsourcing allowed us to do that. In fact, outsourcing has paid for itself—I don’t need to bother with training, staffing, and salaries and benefit issues that having even one IT employee would require.”

To help Becker’s School Supplies keep up with the speed of business, CompuData enhanced the Sage 100 ERP product. Becker’s now has secure point of sale technology (POS) and credit card processing as well as efficient Return Merchandise Authorization (RMA) capabilities. All transactions can be viewed in real time from the Philadelphia headquarters and reports are easily streamlined and accessed.

As business boomed, the ten stores quickly drew down warehouse inventory levels. While inventory was well-managed, some delays and redundant phone calls transpired as a result of rapid sales. But by upgrading Sage 100 ERP, Becker’s is now able to instantly review real time inventory levels. And, with Sage 100 ERP, replenishment is practically automatic. This, in turn, keeps cash from being tied up in inventory. “We know our inventory down to the last pencil,” George said.



connecting systmes

“Our expertise is in serving customers, not dealing with technology. We wanted to keep it that way. Outsourcing allowed us to do that.”

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“Having CompuData as our outsourced technology partner has enabled us to continue to focus on our customers


Further Changes: Increased Security & Performanceribbon_64px

Better Communication

Becker’s School Supplies had asked CompuData to provide solutions for its costly telecommunications needs. In response, CompuData integrated Becker’s voice and data systems and connected each of its locations through Business DSL and fractional T-1 lines. By switching to a CompuData-negotiated telecommunications plan through AT&T, Becker’s first month’s telecommunication savings was $2000.

Increased Security

To ensure absolute safety, each location is secured by Check Point, the premium Internet security firewall that integrates both network and application-level capabilities to deliver comprehensive attack protection and network security. In a world where Internet attacks are growing exponentially, George Becker has piece of mind knowing that his company enjoys the most robust protection available.

To ensure absolute safety, each location is secured by Check Point, the premium Internet security firewall that integrates both network and application-level capabilities to deliver comprehensive attack protection and network security. In a world where Internet attacks are growing exponentially, George Becker has piece of mind knowing that his company enjoys the most robust protection available.



telescope_64pxWhat’s Next: Continued Growth

Becker’s School Supplies continues to grow. As its outsourced technology partner, CompuData provides the school supplier with not only current needs, but helps the company anticipate more growth.
“Presently we are integrating Best’s new Starship module which will allow us to seamlessly integrate picking, packing, and shipping activities while electronically tying that information back to inventory replenishment,” said George. “Furthermore, we will have the capability to track any package, anywhere at anytime.”

“Don’t let our size fool you,” said George. “After 75 years in business, Becker’s Schools Supplies is still a mom-and-pop shop. Thanks to CompuData, we still continue to operate that way, but with full enterprise power. That allows us to do what we do best—take care of our existing and future customers.”


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