The 2020 Mid-Year Economic Update_long

Rocket Industrial Invests in Manual Process Automation

The B2B distribution business is dealing with plant shutdowns, supply chain disruptions and a whole new way of doing business. Rocket Industrial navigated both an ERP upgrade and automation of its AR/AP with a clear plan: Take cost out while improving service levels.
system of address storage of products, materials and goods in a warehouse. Rolls of polyethylene film in stock. Modern warehouse and storage systems.

When business slows, the tendency for distributors and manufacturers is to go into a “bunker mentality” — eliminating expenses like travel and training, and even reducing the size of their team. The bunker mentality is all about cutting investments, working harder and asking your team to keep doing things the way they always have. Forget investing in an upgraded ERP or other process improvements to deliver better automated services.

However, I recently spoke with a unique distributor/manufacturer that chose to avoid the bunker mentality and instead invest in automation.

Rocket Industrial is an industrial packaging provider based in Wisconsin that has grown from a single location to become a coast-to-coast leader in the U.S. and Canada. They provide a unique set of value-added service and product solutions and chose to upgrade their ERP to better automate both the order entry and accounts receivable and payable processes.

The goal was to reduce the amount of time it took for their associates to enter orders and lower their days sales outstanding and improve cash flow. They invested in the following areas:

Upgrade Bolt-Ons to the Existing ERP

Rocket Industrial added modules to their existing ERP to be more cloud based (which came in very handy went everyone went home), improve system speed and product searchability. These upgrades also made their e-commerce platform faster and easier to place orders.

“We decided to be smart and add the right modules to our existing ERP to remove as many manual processes as possible. We put a plan together of how to stage each of these bolt-ons to manage the change successfully,” says Traci Leffel, director of finance.

Add Automation to Account Payables and Account Receivables

Getting paid on time is always a challenge and the disruptions from COVID-19 have made getting paid in the best possible time frame difficult. Bringing automated solutions to both accounts payable and receivable can help to free up your team to work with your customers and suppliers more effectively.

“We chose to automate our AR and AP to cut down on paper checks and manual processes. Every time you write or receive a manual payment, you are losing productivity. We wanted to have our teams working with our customers and suppliers to grow together versus spending time entering and processing payments,” says Leffel.

Making the right strategic choices for your business is critical in the current climate. For Rocket Industrial, the investment delivered a rather profitable equation: Less time spent on manual orders + improved cash flow = $$$ and a happy CFO.

My first distribution mentor once gave me this golden rule to follow: If the CFO is happy, it improves the chances of happiness for all of us. I’ve found this rule is always accurate.

Gunderson is vice president of analytics and e-business at MDM. He has held senior distribution leadership roles in analytics, marketing, e-business, category management, pricing and sales over a 20-year career across multiple distribution product sectors. Reach him at john@mdm.com.

Related Posts

About the Author
Leave a Reply

Leave a Comment

Sign Up for the MDM Update Newsletter

The MDM update newsletter is your best source for news and trends in the wholesale distribution industry.

By subscribing, you are agreeing to MDM’s Privacy Policy.

2

articles left

Want more Premium content from MDM?

Subscribe today and get:

  • New issues twice each month
  • Unlimited access to mdm.com, including 10+ years of archived data
  • Current trends analysis, market data and economic updates
  • Discounts on select store products and events

0

articles left

This is your last free article

Subscribe to MDM Premium today and get:

  • Unlimited access to MDM.com
  • 1 year digital subscription, with new issues twice a month
  • Trends analysis, market data and quarterly economic updates
  • Deals on select store products and events

1

article
left

You have one free article remaining

Subscribe to MDM Premium to get unlimited access. Your subscription includes:

  • Two new issues a month
  • Access to 10+ years of archived data on mdm.com
  • Quarterly economic updates, trends analysis and market data
  • Store and event discounts

To continue reading, you must be an MDM Premium subscriber.