Friday, January 14, 2011

Wired for Success Electrical Parts Supplier Waytek, Inc

If you're in the market for an electrical part, chances are Waytek, Inc. has it and can ship it out to you... today.

Throughout North America, Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) rely on Waytek, Inc. to supply them with everything from circuit breakers and battery connectors to fuses, switches, terminals, wire, cable and more. The products may be decidedly low-tech, some haven't changed in 25 years, but high tech plays a big role in business.

“We’re selling a commodity here, and our customers are sensitive to price and delivery times," says Bob Lamoreaux, Controller, Waytek. "The way we differentiate ourselves is by providing value-added service. “That comes in the form of speed, convenient ordering, and easy access to information. Put that with the fact that Waytek's IT operations must run on a shoestring, and you can see why easy-to-use, reliable technology is a powerful business driver.

“We’ve been an IBM ® shop for about 20 years," says Mr. Lamoreaux, "and our iSeries™ server simply runs itself. It requires little or no maintenance. I've looked at Windows servers, but you'd need a full-time IT person to run them.

We've been satisfied with IBM and that's why we've stayed with IBM.  "Therefore it was only natural that when Waytek needed better systems to run its business, it turned to IBM Premier Business Partner Vormittag Associates Inc. (VAI) for a double-barreled solution.  First, Waytek was sold on VAI's S2K Enterprise for Distribution, enterprise management software that provides state-of-the art order processing and inventory control functions.  Then, Waytek went with S2K Commerce Express, which took its applications to the next level: Business-to-Business (B2B) e-commerce.  The result has been better efficiency and faster service, more revenue opportunities, a clearer understanding of the business - all in all, an enviable return on investment. 

Solution short-circuits ordering process, charges up profitability.
With more than 3,000 SKUs and an increasingly demanding clientele, Waytek began looking for a more sophisticated system to run its business prior to Year 2000. Unconvinced it could make the leap to the new millennium and seeking enhancements, Waytek hit upon VAI's S2K Enterprise which runs solely on the IBM iSeries™ and predecessor AS/400 platform. 

IBM’s platform of choice.
We selected the platform and we've stuck with it because we know it’s terrific and IBM invests in it," says Vincent Taravella, National Sales Manager at VAI. "When everyone else was going cross-platform, we never saw a need to; we simply took advantages of the IBM platform and our software into new markets. 

"Fast forward a couple of years and Waytek, well-satisfied with S2K Enterprise began itching to expand into e-business.  A homemade Web page needed a fresh look. The sales department wanted to take orders over the Web. All well and good, but Mr. Lamoreaux was adamant about one thing: "Our Web-based system had to integrate with our back-office; it just didn't make sense to me to run separate systems.  "Waytek sought bids, and was pleasantly surprised when VAI came in at a fraction of the cost of other proposals. Best of all, S2K Commerce Express would fully interface with Waytek's back-office system. Make a change, and it will immediately show up on the Web. "It's all real-time data," says Mr. Taravella. "When you enter an order, it's taken out of inventory and recorded in the back office right away."  A single database, easy enough for a single IT person to handle. 

Waytek found S2K Commerce Express very quick and easy to install. "I'm no programmer, but I did it myself. - the setup menu was that simple," says Mr. Lamoreaux. “And I had a VAI specialist on standby to help at a moment's notice. From start to finish, VAI helped us accomplish this project in just six weeks, which was fantastic." 

Powering service improvements. 
The tight integration of S2K Commerce Express has resulted in speedier response and service to customers. For example, Waytek features different promotional items on its web site weekly; these take all of one minute to change. And now, when a customer places an order over the Web, it immediately shows up in the next print batch run in the warehouse, bypassing the Customer Service desk entirely, saving up to 10 minutes per order. As a result, these resources have been redirected to other customer service activities.  More to the point, customers can easily browse the complete product catalogue, place orders, view sales histories and invoices - and will soon be able to track shipping status. 

Revenue booster. 
All that information just a mouse click away has translated into customer loyalty and new revenue opportunities. Mr. Lamoreaux estimates the company has picked up 1,000 new customers since the system was installed - a significant swell in its customer base. "We've secured a number of very good, large customers out of this," he says.  He attributes at least a 10 percent increase in revenues to S2K Commerce Express and a 30 percent increase in inventory turns with S2K Enterprise.  All of which eases cash flow and boosts the bottom line. In ROI terms, "we've paid for S2K Commerce Express within a year,"  he adds.

Lighting up the business. 
The biggest benefit for the management team at Waytek has been the data mining and analytical capabilities of the system. "If sales in one area drop off, you know it right away and you can take action," Mr. Lamoreaux says. "If we haven't heard from a customer in 60 or 90 days, the system flags it for the sales reps.  From a management point of view, the reports you can generate are excellent."  He also praises VAI's help desk which is always "extremely helpful" and appreciates the fact that VAI listens to its customers and continues to invest, as IBM does, in product enhancements that will serve Waytek well into the future.  For a company that wants to continually improve its B2B capabilities as a value-added service to demanding customers, that’s a good thing.

VAI Business partner Dolvin Consulting works with Manufacturers, Distributors and Retailers to help them streamline their operations, reduce costs, and become more profitable.  That is and has a the goal of Dolvin, VAI, and IBM.

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