There are several reasons why Enterprise Resource Planning, or ERP, programs have become the must-have software for professionals in the jan/san distribution industry. 
With ERP, distributors are able to get a clear, real-time view of their entire enterprise, from the inventory on the shelves in the warehouse to customer invoices that have yet to be paid. This information allows distributors to adjust and improve processes as needed, as well as react to market trends.
In this article, Sanitary Maintenance profiles two distributors and their software success stories.
Three decades ago, Ronstan Paper & Packaging ran on notes handwritten on index cards.
Now the Eatontown, N.J.-based distributor runs on an ERP system, which creates valuable efficiencies and saves time for personnel throughout the company.
“It pretty much does it all for us,” says Chris LaMorte, a company principal. “Basically it is how we run our company. It’s the computer heart of the company. Everything runs through it.”
LaMorte says one of the greatest values found in utilizing an ERP system is that the software allows the company to scan its proof of delivers into the system at the end of the day. With a few keystrokes, invoicing is complete for every customer that received an order that day.
“Years ago, you could manually go through every ticket and key in everything you want to bill your customer for, so the time-savings there is huge,” he says.
The system also sends both the proof of delivery and invoice together through e-mail, decreasing phone calls from customers and saving the company valuable time. 
For Allied-Eagle Supply Co. in Detroit, enterprise resource planning fortifies its already strong customer relationships by allowing the firm to tap into real-time ordering and invoicing information. 
Allied-Eagle Supply Co. Owner, Nat Scappaticci, says the system shines when a customer calls to inquire about an order or has a billing question. 
“Whatever the customer needs, you can take care of in that one phone call,” says Scappaticci, who adds that the ERP automatically links to a customer’s ordering and billing data.
As a result, the company’s ERP system creates efficiencies throughout the customer service process. Without a fully integrated ERP system, customer service representatives would be required to search through multiple databases, or even the company’s physical facility, to track down order and billing information.
Instead, with a couple of clicks, customer service representatives are able to have an instant and complete view of a customer’s history with Allied-Eagle Supply.
“It lets us do more with a smaller staff,” Scappaticci says. “It’s done and you can go on to what’s next.”

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Tapping into ERP Intelligence