Mayflex is a successful, privately-owned distributor with a respected name and a proven track record in partnering installers and integrators. The company has come to represent the fast, efficient supply of networking products, cabling infrastructure and IP physical security solutions both in Britain and abroad. “Mayflex’s reputation is founded on its dedication to providing a quality service in every aspect of the business,” says finance manager Lyn Dolphin.
She continues, “This includes the standard of available products, the caliber of employees, commitment to customer service and compliance with ISO 90012000 accreditation. These are all criteria against which we continually measure ourselves. Our commitment is to offer the most attractive combination of product availability, customer service and value for money within the sector and to provide every customer with the tools they need in order to prosper. The decision to implement IBS SCM software was made to back up this commitment.”
Need for SCM software
Mayflex needed to find supply chain software for its complex distribution network and systems. Historically the company had run its business using a number of different systems specific to certain operational areas. The business grew at such a rapid rate that it became necessary to consolidate all the old software into one new integrated solution.
Credit control was a key problem area, as Mayflex lacked the correct information to facilitate prompt debt collection. The company also found it very difficult to trace financial transactions that originated from sales orders. Other problems included the lack of an integrated warehouse management system with links to radio-frequency bar code readers and the ability to cope with the company’s complex pricing and discount structures.
The old software was unable to handle customer queries and supplier claims. This was a major requirement for Mayflex, which needed to track, resolve and measure any queries logged by customers before and after the installation of the networks.
Mayflex evaluated six different software solutions before selecting the integrated supply chain software solution, IBS Enterprise. “We chose IBS software because it has the ability to handle our complex pricing structures and would provide and support the best practices to be found in the electronic components distribution industry,” explains Dolphin.
Since the initial implementation, state-of-the-art automated storage devices have been installed with interfaces to IBS Enterprise, providing a 100 percent automated pick and pack process. Sales orders are picked quickly, correctly and efficiently. Once picking is confirmed, invoices are generated without any manual intervention. Consignment stock warehouses are easier to maintain, and reconciliation of customer returns is streamlined.
Credit control information such as customer status, transactions and payment details make the process of resolving customer debt more visible and easier to control. Financial postings derived from transactions within distribution can be traced back through to the original transaction, resulting in ease of reconciliation and/or investigation.
The new IBS Enterprise software went live in 2007, and the joint project teams from Mayflex and IBS worked well together to resolve some early issues and ensure the system was working effectively.
“We are getting on well with the new system,” Dolphins says. “In particular, we now have several new applications that are delivering real business benefits. The stand-out application for us is the EAI software, IBS Integrator, which is single-handedly transforming our business. It allows us to import and export data from any system in any format and is being used for no end of key operational processes, including Web catalogue creation, easy report writing and e-commerce applications.”
The upgrade also included a Parcel Carrier Integration (PCI) system, “PCI replaced a manual system for managing carriers and has significantly streamlined the distribution process,” Dolphin says. “We can introduce new carriers more easily and manage the whole delivery process from a single PC with a single point of entry.
Modules for supplier marketing and planning were also implemented. “We are getting real benefits from the supplier marketing system, which manages and controls the rebates offered by suppliers for marketing support.” The system generates claims at the point of invoice, having a major impact on cash flow and providing real-time visibility of the value of each supplier relationship.
“IBS Supply Planning has improved our overall communications with suppliers,” Dolphin says. “By integrating this with our MRP software, we are able to plan our purchasing more effectively by looking forward as well as into our history to establish more accurate demand forecasting.”
Mayflex now has supply chain visibility of all its processes, from goods inwards, through storage to sale and dispatch while management information can be retrieved much more quickly. Stock levels have been reduced and Mayflex now handles more sales with less stock. Fewer people are needed to process orders and with fewer errors. customer queries are quickly logged and resolved, which results in improved customer satisfaction.
Overall, IBS Enterprise has given Mayflex better capabilities to effectively manage, control and grow the business. “The new system has definitely given the business a boost,” Dolphin says. “It allows us to trace transactions a lot better, from receipt of orders all the way through to delivery, invoicing and collection. It has also improved our relationships with suppliers. For a distributor like us, which relies on these relationships for marketing and product support, this has had a dramatic and positive effect on profitability.”