Predator Group’s distribution process is a complex one. Cues are made using anywhere from five to up to 30 different parts. These parts include shafts, specially designed joints and screws and weight cartridges. Cues use types of wood like burl, maple and ebony, and many feature carbon fiber reinforcement to improve performance.
The company’s 250 customers, which are wholesalers who sell Predator Group cues to retailers nationwide, place orders via the company’s sales department. Staff must then identify which components are required to make these cues and create the appropriate purchase orders for them. These purchase orders are sent to the various suppliers Predator Group works with, who ship the requested items back to Predator Group to be stored. Staff pull the necessary items for each customer purchase order and ship them to China, where they’re manufactured into the cues themselves. The finished cues are then shipped back to Predator Group to be sent to the customers who ordered them.
All of these steps are complex and time consuming, requiring careful attention to detail. Predator Group’s previous system lacked the automation capabilities needed to execute these processes efficiently. Instead, staff had to track all customer orders, purchase orders, inventory and shipping information manually, via spreadsheet. Since nothing was updated automatically, staff had to spend hours each week painstakingly entering new information into these spreadsheets in order to stay on top of everything. This made reordering cue components particularly challenging.
“We found that we were always running out of components for our products,” says David Morrison, an accounting assistant at Predator Group with extensive knowledge of both the old and new systems. “Suppliers would come back to us and tell us they were out of something, so we’d have to go and order parts from other suppliers, and things would get delayed.”
Predator Group’s previous system was also on-premises, which made it very difficult for their three employees in China to log in and work on the system. The on-premises system also presented a challenge for members of the sales department, who frequently travel and thus were unable to easily log into the system to view essential data and make changes when they needed to.
When it came time to search for new systems, Predator Group knew that their biggest requirements were that the software is hosted in the cloud, enabling remote access and that it has excellent automation, reordering and reporting capabilities so they would be able to track and manage their data more efficiently.