Allied-Eagle’s ERP is enhanced by the use of a separate software application that allows company personnel to track orders on trucks, giving it the ability to pinpoint exactly where orders are located and exactly when they will be delivered.
“It’s a pretty common call. Probably a couple of times a day somebody calls and asks when their stuff is going to be there,” Scappaticci says.
When it comes to invoicing, Scappaticci says it’s as easy as pressing a button. Each day, the system creates the invoices, which are then sent out by an employee through fax, e-mail or snail mail, depending upon the customer’s wishes. 
A customer-centric element of the ERP system is the self-service feature, which allows Allied-Eagle’s clients to log into the system and view their orders and billing information online.
In addition to providing efficiencies in customer service, the company’s ERP system is valuable for a wide range of business applications, including a purchasing module, which gives the distributor instantaneous information about its inventory.
“It assures that we always have the right product,” says Scappaticci. “So, we have very few back orders.”
Scappaticci strongly recommends distributors utilize all of the modules in an ERP system to take full advantage of its power, and fully realize their investment.
“There are a lot of companies that have a system, but they don’t use it…and then they don’t understand why there is no pay back,” he says, adding that the company has had an ERP system in place since 1996.
Scappaticci says distributors who operate without an ERP system are lagging greatly behind their competition. 
“It part of doing business. It’s the cost of doing business now,” he says. “It’s just like you have to have trucks to deliver product and sales reps to make sales, you have to have the software to run the business.”
Scappaticci is a beta tester for his ERP software developer, allowing him to have some input on improvements to the system. When possible, distributors should take advantage of similar opportunities. It’s a good way to strengthen relationships with the software developer, he says.
“The most important thing is to find a vendor that is committed to constantly making their software better,” says Scappaticci. “You don’t want to buy a package and expect it to be the same one, two, three years later because things change constantly.” 

Brendan O’Brien is a freelance writer based in Greenfield, Wis. He is a frequent contributor to Sanitary Maintenance.

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