Waxie gets ahead of the competition to become a leader in e-commerce

Boosting efficiency with help from IBM and Infor technology

Published on 05-Feb-2013

"Better support for RF picking provided by the Infor and IBM solution has improved stock location accuracy at Waxie by approximately 20 percent, to an average of 97 percent. This slashes the number of returns we need to process, resulting in more efficient operations and happier customers." - Aaron Gerraughty, Vice President, MIS at Waxie Sanitary Supply

Customer:
Waxie Sanitary Supply

Industry:
Wholesale Distribution & Services

Deployment country:
United States

Solution:
Enabling Business Flexibility, Enterprise Resource Planning, High Availability , Information Integration

IBM Business Partner:
Infor

Overview

Waxie Sanitary Supply (Waxie) was officially incorporated by Harry and Morris Wax in 1954, and is still owned by the Wax family today. The company provides cleaning supplies and equipment to a range of customers including schools, business service contractors, hospitals and government agencies. Employing 800 people, Waxie operates from 20 locations along the west coast of the United States, and has its headquarters in San Diego, California.

Business need:
With e-commerce set to bring new companies into direct competition with Waxie Sanitary Supply, the company realized that it needed to improve its e-commerce capabilities to compete effectively.

Solution:
Waxie transformed its e-commerce and warehouse management processes. Gaining real-time visibility of product availability has enabled the company to retain its position as a market leader.

Benefits:
The solution enables Waxie to engage with customers in new ways, boosting retention rates and sales. It increases stock location accuracy to 97 percent, enhancing transparency and order fulfillment.

Case Study

Waxie Sanitary Supply (Waxie) was officially incorporated by Harry and Morris Wax in 1954, and is still owned by the Wax family today. The company provides cleaning supplies and equipment to a range of customers including schools, business service contractors, hospitals and government agencies. Employing 800 people, Waxie operates from 20 locations along the west coast of the United States, and has its headquarters in San Diego, California.

Increasing competition
Traditionally, Waxie has competed with other janitorial and sanitation (JanSan) companies. With the advent of e-commerce, however, Waxie has seen a number of other companies diversify to provide similar products, creating increased competition for sales.

Aaron Gerraughty, Vice President, MIS at Waxie Sanitary Supply, explains: “The introduction of e-commerce represented a real turning point in our industry. In the past, we were competing against JanSan companies like ourselves, whereas now we have non-traditional competitors offering a variety of different products moving into our space. Waxie has always been a leader in technology within our industry. Suddenly, we had companies entering the marketplace with better e-commerce functionality. We realized that we had to take the opportunity to raise our game.”

Choosing Infor Distribution A+
Following a careful evaluation of the major distribution management solutions on the market, the company selected Infor Distribution A+ software.

“We wanted to go for a tried-and-tested solution, and discovered that many companies in our industry have seen great results from Infor Distribution A+,” said Gerraughty. “The Infor folks were happy to come into Waxie and let us test the solution and see the benefits for ourselves, which made the decision a very easy one.”

Robust IBM technology
Waxie has successfully relied on IBM solutions to support its business-critical systems since 1973. As a result, the company chose to deploy the Infor Distribution A+ solution on its existing IBM® Power® 550 Express servers, which run the IBM i operating system. One server is installed at Waxie’s primary site in San Diego, and another at its secondary site in Mesa, Arizona.

“We have been an all-IBM shop for over four decades now, and have continued to be impressed by the rock-solid reliability the IBM servers provide,” comments Gerraughty. “Since our customers include 24/7 organizations such as hospitals, we simply cannot afford downtime, and IBM Power Systems™ is the ideal platform to help us achieve maximum availability.

“Since 2003, we have experienced three major emergencies – two of them being wildfires, and the other a serious power outage. Shortly after the wildfires, we implemented a disaster recovery data center at a separate Waxie location, and we were able to switch over to our secondary IBM Power 550 server without employees outside the IT department even noticing! When we send out proposals to prospective customers, we often state that ‘when the lights went out in southern California, Waxie was up’, and it’s our IBM technology that allows us to make this claim. We feel confident that this has won us new business.”

Seeing the difference
Implementing Infor Distribution A+ on IBM Power Systems technology offers Waxie the tools to transform its warehouse management processes and e-commerce offering. The solution has made it possible for the company to make better use of radio frequency (RF) technology in its inventory picking process, eliminating a number of manual steps and significantly improving visibility.

“Better support for RF picking provided by the Infor and IBM solution has improved stock location accuracy at Waxie by approximately 20 percent, to an average of 97 percent,” says Gerraughty. “This slashes the number of returns we need to process, resulting in more efficient operations and happier customers. We have also been able to cut both the number of people required to take inventory and the time required for code scanning by 50 percent. All these efficiency gains make it possible for us to divert resources to areas where they can be more productive, giving us a real competitive edge.

“Deploying the Infor and IBM solution has also enabled us to build a highly successful e-commerce offering, helping us retain our position as a market leader. We can provide a real-time view of product availability to customers, and more closely match supply with demand, letting us keep ahead in a fast-evolving industry.”

Room to grow
Waxie estimates it is still only using 60 percent of the capabilities of the Infor and IBM solution, so there is plenty of headroom to accommodate future innovations. Gerraughty states: “Our needs are growing all the time, but we have found that the Infor software can often provide the new functionalities we need without any customization. Using the Infor help desk, I often find ways that I can tweak the solution to meet new requirements, or discover that the feature I am looking for is included in the latest release. Moreover, the IBM Power Systems platform scales amazingly well, giving us plenty of capacity to play with.”

Gerraughty concludes: “In our view, both Infor and IBM truly understand their customers, and anticipate their needs exceptionally well. Our IBM and Infor solutions are perfectly matched, integrating seamlessly to ensure maximum performance. We feel confident that the close alliance between IBM and Infor will work strongly in Waxie’s favor, providing the ideal platform to support our business into the future.”

Products and services used

IBM products and services that were used in this case study.

Hardware:
Power 550 Express, Power Systems, Power Systems running i

Software:
IBM i

Operating system:
IBM i

Legal Information

© Copyright IBM Corporation 2013 IBM CorporationSystems and Technology GroupRoute 100Somers, NY 10589 Produced in the United States of AmericaFebruary 2013 IBM, the IBM logo, ibm.com, Power and Power Systems are trademarks of International Business Machines Corp., registered in many jurisdictions worldwide. Other product and service names might be trademarks of IBM or other companies. A current list of IBM trademarks is available on the web at: www.ibm.com/legal/copytrade.shtml. This document is current as of the initial date of publication and may be changed by IBM at any time. Not all offerings are available in every country in which IBM operates. The client examples cited are presented for illustrative purposes only. Actual performance results may vary depending on specific configurations and operating conditions. It is the user’s responsibility to evaluate and verify the operation of any other products or programs with IBM products and programs. THE INFORMATION IN THIS DOCUMENT IS PROVIDED “AS IS” WITHOUT ANY WARRANTY, EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, INCLUDING WITHOUT ANY WARRANTIES OF MERCHANTABILITY, FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE AND ANY WARRANTY OR CONDITION OF NON-INFRINGEMENT. IBM products are warranted according to the terms and conditions of the agreements under which they are provided. Infor Distribution A+ is not an IBM product or offering. Infor Distribution A+ is sold or licensed, as the case may be, to users under Infor’s terms and conditions, which are provided with the product or offering. Availability, and any and all warranties, services and support for Infor Distribution A+ is the direct responsibility of, and is provided directly to users by, Infor.