Summit Electric Supply: Customer Reference Video

Summit Electric Supply is a regional wholesale electrical distributor. Explore how this dynamic company deployed SAP ERP to integrate and automate processes, measurably reduce costs, transform its operations, and position itself for future success.

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    • Summit Electric Supply is a wholesale electrical distributor. We're based out of Albuquerque, New Mexico, with offices in New Mexico, Arizona, Texas, Louisiana, and Florida, where our customer base is predominantly commercial electrical contractors, though we also service the industrial MRO business, marine ship building, and government and institutional work. Summit Electric Supply spent a number of years on a legacy ERP platform that we had simply outgrown. And after a fairly lengthy evaluation process, we settled on SAP as the best-of-breed solution for our business. Summit Electrical ultimately selected SAP for a number or reasons, not the least of which was their familiarity with our vertical industry, with wholesale distribution, and with the flexibility and scalability of the product to meet our growth needs for the future. One good example of a process where we saw a pretty fundamental change before and after SAP is around our charge-backs. As an electrical distributor, we participate in charge-backs to our vendors based on customer sales. In our legacy system, it was a very manual process, so there was a lot of manual paperwork, hunt and peck, find the appropriate documents, compile them, typically in Excel, and provide the information to the vendor on a monthly or some other periodic process. With SAP and the fact that we have been able to automate that process for most of our major that we participate in charge-backs, we actually process that via EDI, so the system processes the claims automatically. It processes it every day, so our cash flow has dramatically increased and our rate of errors goes way down. Documented savings with SAP just around the charge-backs module in particular, we have seen return on investment in the effort that we put in around charge-backs of less than six months for that development work. So not only will the charge-backs effort pay for the charge-backs, which it has at this point several times over, it will ultimately pay for our entire SAP install. With the downturn in the economy, I believe SAP has positioned us to take advantage of the opportunities that do still exist in the markets that we serve. We've seen over the last six to twelve months that our own business has, while it is certainly down year-to-year, based on all that we have been able to determine, it's down less than others in our distribution space and that the visibility that we have into our own business process and our own customer activities, again, has positioned us to be able to take advantage of opportunities as they arise. SAP has brought a number of benefits to us, to Summit Electric Supply, not the least of which is it has really integrated all of our processes, front office to back office. Our legacy system was not integrated between sales and financials, so we have been able to get a lot more visibility into our business in the effectiveness of our business processes as a result of the integration that SAP has brought to our world. For instance, in SAP, the financial postings are real-time. When we create a sales order or a delivery or a billing document, they immediately post into the GL, and so we have immediate visibility into the profitability of the day, profitability of the customer, and the profitability of the order. Our partnership with SAP has been very good. SAP has been very helpful throughout our implementation life cycle, from presales till today. The sales folks and technical staff within SAP are alwa