PVC Industries, Inc.
As the premier manufacturer of custom vinyl windows, PVC Industries, a member of the Earthwise Vinyl Windows Group, is a company on the move with an aggressive growth plan. Among their goals were: streamlined operations, increased production capabilities, and continued ability to meet their guaranteed two-week delivery commitment.
The company first implemented Epicor ECM [formerly called DocStar] in June of 2010 to address a time-consuming, inefficient AP process. Kathy Rice, PVC Industries IT Manager highlighted the workflow efficiency issues that needed to be addressed inclusive of reducing paperwork, timely response to customer and vendor inquiries, and integrating a new system into their existing automated platforms.
Paper process cripples orders and fulfillment
Initially, the company’s field sales people would send a fax to the head office where an order entry clerk would enter the information into the system. “From order placement, through manufacturing, shipping, and our accounts payable and receivable processes, each piece of documentation, including any changes to the order, needed to be manually logged in and filed, creating a time consuming, yet necessary paper trail,” noted Kathy. “We needed to find a way to streamline our accounts payable and sales order entry process that could be easily integrated into the Fenevision ERP and Sage MAS 90 systems.”
In a typical week, PVC Industries logs over 250 orders, generating more than 13,000 orders each year. “Each of those orders is comprised of three separate documents, which means we generate more than 40,000 paper documents to print and file annually,” said Kathy. “In the last few years, we’ve spent over $15,000 on paper alone.” A key challenge was managing all of their paperwork in a cost-efficient, clear, concise, and easy-to-locate manner.
Automated AP solution cuts costs and streamlines workflow
“I am so impressed with the return on investment we have so quickly seen with this new automated platform.” —Kathy Rice, IT Manager PVC Industries, Inc.
Working with PVC Industries’ IT department, Epicor was able to create an automated accounts payable platform that has made it easy to scan, store and retrieve documents for each individual order, quickly and effortlessly, as well as the ability to add any notation at any time during the overall process. This has meant increased productivity and ensures that each digital file has all of the necessary documentation for that particular order.
At the point of order entry, Epicor installed an electronic in-box to receive faxed orders, which were then displayed on dual monitors. One monitor displays the order itself, while the other displays the actual entry to begin production. Many of the information fields within the production entry are already populated, based on the information provided within the initial order. The order entry representative is now able to process 50 more entries in the course of a week, a 20% efficiency improvement over the prior order entry system. The labor efficiencies gained equates to approximately 8.5 hours/week, 450 hours/year, and nearly $13,000 annually.
Additionally, any issues, changes, or status of the order can easily be made throughout the time spent from initial order placement, through shipment of the final product, in one single place, thus saving time and decreasing the incidence of human error. All of this information is captured in one place, and at any time can instantly be retrieved by entering a variety of search criteria. Previously, it would take up to 30 minutes to gather all of this information. Assuming a 10% order change rate and a 15-minute median time value, the labor efficiencies gained equates to 6.25 hours/week, 325 hours/year, and nearly $10,000 annually.
These improved efficiencies help us to deliver a superior level of service. Our customers have never been more satisfied.” —Kathy Rice, IT Manager PVC Industries, Inc.
“Working with DocStar [now Epicor] to integrate their document management software into our existing system has created a dramatic improvement to our AP workflow,” noted Kathy. “We often need to review orders and now we can even find orders placed over the phone. These improved efficiencies help us to deliver a superior level of service. Our customers have never been more satisfied.” With the new software in place, accounts payable processes have also been streamlined and simplified.
A processor can create a document package that includes an invoice and supporting documents such as monthly utilities, miscellaneous expenditures, etc. This package is electronically routed to the accounts payable department and then to the general manager for approval. The GM receives an alert, reviews the documents, makes any notes, and approves the invoice. The approved invoice is automatically routed back to accounts payable for payment. Now, an invoice can be processed in as little as four minutes and can be reviewed and approved, or declined from anywhere in the world.
“We’re gaining labor efficiencies after the order is processed,” Kathy said. “Finding a paper document took considerable time. The average labor savings is at least six hours per month or $2,160 annually in our customer service area.”
“I am so impressed with the return on investment we have so quickly seen with this new automated platform, and I’m anxious to promote this system to our Earthwise member associates,” continued Cathy. “What had previously been a very labor-intensive process, and prone to human error, has been streamlined into an easy-to-use format. And, we’re avoiding late payment penalties.”
Epicor delivers $140,000 return on investment (ROI) in five years
- PVC Industries has estimated that it will save over $15,000 in paper expenses alone over five years
- Clear and concise communication between all aspects of the business has resulted in an annual savings of over $25,000 per year
- Five year cost savings = $140,000