Orion Fashions imports costume jewelry from manufacturers around the world and sells it to retailers throughout the United States. People buy Orion Fashions’ jewelry because it makes them look good and because it is affordable.
“Ours is a high-volume, low-margin business,” says Sue Glass, President and CEO of Orion, “so we have a tremendous need to manage data efficiently.”
She adds, “There are literally thousands of different items in our product line as well as different variations on products. For example, one necklace that comes from Seoul Korea may be manufactured in a dozen different styles and packaged differently to meet the needs of several different retail chains. Each one of those styles will have its own stock number, specification and cost that we must keep track of.”
But keeping track of incoming product is just the first half of the inventory and accounting nightmare for Orion Fashions. The other half comes from the customer side as Orion deals with dozens of national retail chains.
Glass says, “A large chain might have 900 retail stores. The national purchasing manager might order thousands of pieces of jewelry from us and ask us to drop ship different amounts and combinations of, say, thirty different items to each store. That can mean generating 900 individual invoices, 900 shipping labels, and packing 900 cartons, to say nothing of sending confirming information to the purchasing manager.”
She adds, “Before we installed EXEControl from Ebeling Associates, everything was done on paper with manual systems. We never knew our true profitability; we had losses, confusion, and the inventory constantly had to be counted. It was an enormous amount of work and tremendously inefficient.”
“EXEControl has been fabulous,” Glass says. “We have been able to expand our business several fold while actually reducing the number of people performing accounting functions. The Ebeling system helps to pull it all together so that everyone – from the warehouse manager to the purchasing clerk to the product people who have to research vendor information – have what they need instantly.”
“Customers are becoming much more demanding,” she adds. “They want information instantly – what was shipped, when it was shipped, estimated arrival dates – and now we can tell them with just the punch of a key. At our end, it allows us to look at profitability by purchase order or by product line, and we have enormously improved control over inventory, over purchases, what we have received, and what we have shipped.”
There are so many components to EXEControl that it took several years for the various departments of Orion Fashions to take advantage of all it has to offer. Now, for example, the Orion system is connected with UPS so the company can easily trace shipments and confirm arrival if necessary.
In another development that promises additional gains in efficiency, Orion has begun exchanging purchase orders and invoices with some customers and suppliers through Electronic Data Interchange.
“We’ve found the system to be very flexible,” Glass says, “and Ebeling has been responsive in reconfiguring the system as our needs have evolved over the years. Our customers and suppliers are rapidly updating their computer technology, and Ebeling makes sure that EXEControl helps us keep up with those changes.”