Jim: We didn't survive all these years without being a great company. It's like that 99-yard touchdown drive. We moved down the field pretty well over the past 20 years. Once we got into the red zone, every incremental inch that we could get was important. Plex just became sort of that surprise play out of the backfield that drove us right down to the goal line.
FloraCraft is a 70-year-old company based here in northern Michigan primarily in the floral and craft and creative arts industry. We start right at the top with Walmart, the world's largest retailer, but we focus primarily on specialty stores like Joann Fabrics, Michaels, Hobby Lobby, and lots and lots of mom and pop floral shops and the wholesalers who supply them. We want our customers to look at us as a supplier that's easy to do business with, not challenging to do business with, reliable to do business with. When you talk about a customer-centric company, that's what we do. We almost never say no. That's what's allowed us to grow and expand over the past 10 years.
Technology to us is the real backbone of everything that makes us fulfill all those customer needs. We made the decision that to continue to support those customer needs that are so important to us we needed to continue to invest in technology.
Michael: The technology that we had prior to Plex, it was very laborious. Our inventory accuracy wasn't as good as it is now certainly. We needed something more. We needed something more in order to provide our customers with on-time shipments and getting their product to them in a timely manner.
Steve: We have 3500 active SKUs. We really didn't have data coming off the shop floor at all. All we really were entrusted with was just looking at reports that simply said here's what's on order, here's what we have, here's what's short. Forecasts were all done on spreadsheets from customers. We didn't have any customer information into that looking forward into the future. We didn't have an MRP system that would help us forecast purchases out into the future. All of those things were just done with enormous amount of work. We would oftentimes run 700 or 800 pages worth of reports on a given night just to try to sort through the next day's data, and we knew that that was absolutely unsustainable.
Annie: Plex has really brought us one integrated system with real-time information. From the moment that an order is entered into Plex, everybody can visually see what's needed from the cartons required to the labels that are required and then from the size of the foam that's needed. The inventory accuracy is awesome. We used to receive reports every morning. By the time we received the reports, they were inaccurate. Now you can have any information you want just at the fingertips.
Michael: We now have the ability to access manufacturing information virtually anywhere.
Steve: Today we're downloading all of our forecasts from our customers in Plex. We're using an MRP system that can look out at lead times and can look out into the future. We're making our purchases better without having to spend a lot of manual time on it. We're creating jobs out on the floor that are created knowing what inventory's being made ahead or behind it. All of these things have helped us to keep better track of our inventory, to have all of our products in stock at the time that we need them, to be able to fill orders 100% complete and on time, and that's what's important to our customers. Plex is doing a lot of the work that we used to have to guess at, and that just makes our life easier.