From Humble Beginnings to Nationwide Recognition
Back in 1994, long before the green revolution, Seventh Generation Wholesale branched out from a catalog sales company as a tiny distributor of environmentally sensitive household products to natural foods stores. At that time they worked with Efficiency Partners consultants to implement the Crescendo enterprise software. Thanks to a combination of commitment, patience, good business management and innovative systems, Seventh Generation has today become the premiere environmental brand and will surpass one hundred million in sales revenue in 2008.
Complex Pricing Algorithms No Problem for Crescendo
From the beginning, Seventh Generation took full advantage of Crescendo’s flexible pricing capabilities. With elaborate discounting structures, along with temporary and permanent promotional pricing that applied alternately and often simultaneously to individual customers, customer types, individual products and product categories, Seventh Generation required a system that could keep it all straight while providing a simple order entry experience for the customer service reps.
Crescendo Inventory Management Features Support Efficienct Supply Chain
Serving nationwide as well as international distribution channels, Seventh Generation maintained inventories in several of their own as well as third party and manufacturers’ warehouses. Crescendo facilitated the difficult task of selecting appropriate ship-from warehouses and replenishing warehouse stock to maximize turns, minimize freight costs and keep up extremely high fill rates.
Business Analysis Tools Bolster Sound Marketing Decisions
Managing and growing the business required full visibility to performance within a number of different distribution channels and product categories. EP’s consultants produced sophisticated sales analysis reports and developed a useful and visibly appealing financial reporting package that enabled Seventh Generation’s accounting staff to produce fully detailed and analytical financial statements for presentation to the board on a one-touch basis.
Seventh Generation Takes its own Medicine on the Route to Success
Seventh Generation’s rise to success is due in large part to their own fervent commitment to environmental responsibility. As opposed to merely riding the coat-tails of the green revolution, Seventh Generation led the charge long before it was fashionable, and has corporately and individually preached – and practiced -- its environmental message on a consistent basis. One example of this is their own paperless initiative. They worked closely with EP consultants to programmatically replace physical paper order acknowledgements, purchase orders and customer invoices universally with electronic documents. This change not only saved trees but made their operation significantly more efficient.
Handling Increased Volume with Stable Staffing Levels
As sales volume increased precipitously, Seventh Generation took steps to improve its internal systems by adding an order management center to the Crescendo system for its CSR’s that enabled them to keep up with the increased volume. They also took full advantage of the rise of internet communications and implemented EDI not only with its large retail customers but also with its third party warehouses. EP consultants developed a fully integrated process which allows order, shipping and invoicing information to fly back and forth on an unattended basis between trading partners. Rather than multiplying “paper pushers”, Seventh Generation was able to invest its resources into developing new products, new markets, new channels and most importantly to participate in the furtherance of the environmental movement at large.
Crescendo Flexes for Complete Financial System Restructuring
With some additions to the management team in 2005, Seventh Generation launched a thorough restructuring of its general ledger data, which simplified and shortened a previously lengthy chart of accounts and utilized profit centers by both distribution channel and product category, and cost centers to organize expenses by warehouses and internal departments. EP consultants again answered the challenge, participating in the design process, accurately converting historical and current data, and configuring the system entry journals to automatically select appropriate cost and profit centers where applicable based on warehouse, product and customer data. EP also developed a sophisticated allocation program which permitted precise and detailed income statements to be produced for any product, product category or distribution channel. The net result was a fresh way to look at and manage the changing enterprise with zero change in data entry procedures.
Crescendo Feeds Data Warehouse for Powerful User Reporting
Another objective of the new management team was to put timely ad-hoc reporting power at the fingertips of its workforce. EP developed a powerful data transformation and export tool to deliver normalized data on a nightly basis to a data warehouse for generalized access.