Q: How would you describe Summit’s operations prior to its SAP implementation?
A: We were running a 1980s legacy system for our sales entries and purchase orders, and we did all of our back-end reporting on a different system. Integration between the systems was done manually and in batches, which were often still running when we opened for business the next day. Chargebacks also had to be processed manually. Not only were end users tied up with these time-consuming processes, but the legacy system itself hampered our company’s continued growth.
Q: How did the SAP implementation affect the company landscape and the business?
A: Where do I begin? Now that we’ve implemented SAP ERP 6.0, our purchasing functions are centralized and many back-office functions are automated. With real-time integration between business activities and financial results, as well as customizable reporting capabilities, we have greater visibility into the organization, so we can make better business decisions.
We also experienced significant ROI in the areas of chargebacks, which are now fully automated, and sales tax processing. Plus, we have a platform for building a strategic talent management capability to see us through the present economic climate and position us for the future.
Q: How has your ASUG membership added value to this transformation?
A: Here is a great example: We found a solution for a lot order process (a business process unique to wholesale distribution) during a presentation at the ASUG Annual Conference. Summit was in the design stage of a new solution, and the presentation almost exactly demonstrated a design option we were evaluating. Based on the information from the session, we decided on a different option for our lot order solution, avoiding one that the business would not have supported.
Just one, hour-long ASUG session gave us the answer we needed. We attend the conference every year to learn what works, and what doesn’t, from others who have tried wholesale solutions.
Q: How do you give back to the user group?
A: I volunteer as Chair of the ASUG Wholesale Distribution Special Interest Group. Also, for the past three years, Summit has presented at ASUG’s Annual Conference to share its experiences.
On an informal level, I receive many calls from ASUG members who are in the same position Summit was in three years ago. I answer their questions, put them in touch with my technical staff, or take other steps to help them save time and money. Leveraging the experiences of fellow ASUG members in this way is a huge benefit.
To learn more about the value of joining the ASUG community, visit www.asug.com.
Summit Electric Supply