Woodstream Gains Better Customer Visibility Using EXTOL
May 20, 2008 Alex Woodie
Woodstream, a manufacturer of lawn-care and pet products sold at more than 100,000 retail outlets, is using EXTOL‘s integration software to feed customer orders into its IBM iSeries ERP system, and to more closely monitor its customers’ inventory levels, the software company announced recently.
From its headquarters in Lititz, Pennsylvania, Woodstream oversees manufacturing operations at subsidiaries that include Perky-Pet, SaferBrand, Victor, Havahart, and Dr. T’s Nature Products, which it recently acquired. These products are sold to more than a thousand customers, including retail giants like Wal-Mart, Home Depot, and Lowe’s, as well as smaller chains like Ace, TruValue, and other hardware stores.
Woodstream needed a better way of feeding orders into PRMS, the i (formerly i5/OS)-based ERP system from Infor that it uses to manage its customer orders. Woodstream’s customers have several ways of submitting orders, including a front-end e-commerce Web site, straight EDI, and even spreadsheets attached to e-mail. The company chose EXTOL and its EXTOL Business Integrator (EBI) integration product to translate orders from EDI, the Web, and spreadsheets into a format that PRMS can understand.
At the same time, Woodstream was able to use EBI to create a system to validate and aggregate point-of-sale (POS) data that its customers send back to Woodstream, which gives the company a low-level view of real-time customer buying trends at thousands of stores. As a result, Woodstream’s sales team can now spot consumer buying trends by product and by region, identify proper order levels for retailers, and better manage their customers’ product selections and store-level promotions, EXTOL says.
EBI has afforded Woodstream a high degree of back-office automation, according to Barry Mowrer, Woodstream’s IT director. “Our orders aren’t touched by human hands until it’s time for pick and pack in the distribution centers,” he says. “Its flexibility and any-to-any mapping makes it a tool for any number of important IT projects.”