“The implementation of this specific technology helped us grow sales from 2 million per year to 13.5 million over the last 15 years. Without the process improvement suggested and delivered by RIC Proforce, we would not have been able to achieve that kind of growth.”
- Tom Behling, President, DEB Wholesale Inc.

RIC Proforce Helps DEB Wholesale Better Serve Customers

DEB Wholesale is a distributor of candy, snacks, frozen food, tobacco, cigarettes, and restaurant supplies to bars, golf courses, restaurants, and gas station convenience stores. Their territory includes southeastern Wisconsin and northern Illinois. They have been doing business since 1987 from their warehouse in Watertown, WI.

Business Challenge
The bulk of DEB’s sales are obtained through sales routes. Prior to working with RIC Proforce, the sales staff made stops on their route and took orders manually from the customer. At the end of the day, the sales rep returned to the office, turned in his or her paperwork, and then second shift data entry personnel entered the orders into the system. This manual process was filled with productivity inhibitors, some of which included a lack of time to serve new customers, lost paperwork, geographic limitations, and inaccuracies due to bad handwriting.

Time Savings Solution Benefits DEB and their Customers
RIC Proforce had worked with a number of other distribution companies in the past helping to automate similar processes. So, they met with DEB management and suggested that they implement the use of a handheld data capture device that would allow for scanning of the product needs and transmitting them to DEB via the telephone while en route.

To ensure an optimally cost-effective solution, RIC Proforce brokered a deal between DEB and another RIC Proforce client to buy used equipment and implement a Telxon data capture system. Bar-code capable printers were then purchased to allow DEB to print their own product labels and bar-coded order guides (a book of items the customer normally purchases). Large customers were given their own scanners. Smaller customers were instructed to fill out their weekly order guides and when the salesman stopped by to take the order, they only had to scan the items needed and continue along their route.

Less Time on Paperwork/More on Sales - Serious Business Growth
The new process created widespread benefits for DEB, the sales staff, and DEB’s customers

DEB Wholesale

  • Reaches more customers and fills more orders with the same sales staff
  • Drives more business out of the same geographical area
  • Eliminates wait time by downloading orders throughout the day
  • Reduces second shift workforce
  • Picks orders and stages truck earlier in the day and begin delivery earlier the next day

  • Spends less time ordering
  • Fills out order when convenient and on own schedule

Sales Staff
  • Moves quickly from one customer location to the next
  • Significantly decreases paperwork
  • Services more customers per day
  • Gains time to meet with new customers

“RIC Proforce is not only a very capable and reliable resource for us, they are also experts in the areas of requirements gathering, design, installation, and supporting existing applications. I would not hesitate to engage them at any point in the development cycle.”
- Tom Dilly, Director, iSeries Engineering, Kronos Incorporated

Kronos Client Grateful for Rock-Solid Software Development Partner, RIC Proforce

Kronos helps organizations across a variety of industries manage their most valuable, and expensive, strategic asset - their workforce. RIC Proforce, LLC partners with Kronos to provide custom software application solutions for Kronos timekeeping system clients.

Business Challenge
In 2002, one of the nation’s largest grocery retailers, a client of Kronos, needed to integrate the details of multiple contractual agreements with the Kronos timekeeping system. Integration of the timekeeping system with a variety of unique contractual agreement terms relating to vacation, holiday, overtime, and premium pay for example, were “must have” requirements for the company, so Kronos needed to provide a solution for their client.

A Unique Partnership Solves a Complex Challenge
In the spring of 2002, Kronos pulled together team leaders from the grocery retailer, Kronos, and RIC Proforce to discuss the complex process of integrating the contractual agreements with the Kronos Timekeeping system. Based on the issues addressed in that meeting, RIC Proforce began a process of discovery, design, programming, testing, and implementation that would solve the current contractual agreement terms integration challenge.

Dedication to Client Success
Using Kronos’ Timekeeping Software as a base, RIC Proforce helped develop custom integrated processes to handle Kronos’ client’s intricate needs. At the same time, RIC Proforce helped reinforce the relationship between Kronos and their client by staying true to their mission of setting the standard of excellence for service in the industry, focusing on delivering maximum results, providing 24 x 7 x 365 one-hour response and serving others as they wish to be served.

In the end, both Kronos and their client were extremely satisfied with the dedication RIC Proforce demonstrated in delivering targeted, timely, result-focused solutions.

“RIC Proforce has a proven ability to come up with accurate estimates better than any other consulting firm I’ve been associated with. They are available when needed. Our relationship is more like a “partnership”. RIC Proforce can listen to our issues and help develop a strategy/solution that fits the needs”.
- Paul Knaapen, President, Liturgical Publications, Inc.

Cash Posting Becomes as Simple as One-Two-Three

Liturgical Publications (or LPi) is the national leader in ad-supported church bulletin printing and communications. LPi executive offices are located in New Berlin WI, and they have locations in Edina MN, Denver CO, Cleveland OH, Detroit MI, Rochester NY, and Hartford CT.

Business Challenge
LPi has 100,000 active customers who advertise in their many Church bulletins. These customers have various billing terms and billing schedules. Due to the sheer numbers of payments returned to LPi by this large group of customers, there were challenges in posting these payments to the LPi receivables database in a timely and accurate fashion.

Liturgical Publications was looking for a way to improve on posting speed and accuracy while at the same time creating efficiencies for the data entry team.

Scanning for the Solution
RIC Proforce began by digging into the issues and analyzing the current process. With a complete understanding of LPi’s process, procedures, and the goal at hand, the best solution quickly made itself clear.

The first change implemented was to print two bar codes on the customers’ invoice as it was generated. The first bar code contained the LPi customer account number and the second contained the amount being requested on the bill. But with that step complete, there was still an opportunity for additional improvement.

During the discovery phase, it had become apparent that LPi’s client could have multiple ads running and therefore, more than one outstanding invoice. So it was possible that the customer could have a number of open invoices, or that a single payment being made, might be meant to pay more than one invoice. In the existing process, entry of the invoice number was required to complete the cash posting process - but the invoice number would not be necessary if the program itself could decide how to apply the payment.

In looking carefully at the original goal and at LPi’s existing procedure to post the payment to the oldest customer balance, RIC Proforce modified the application so that the data entry staff could scan both bar codes and the program would then determine where to apply the cash. Finally all the steps of the process had been improved. There was no more need for entering invoice numbers, dollar amounts, or customer numbers!

Simple, Accurate, and Efficient
Now, instead of lots of data entry, LPi can process a stack of payments without even touching the keyboard. One after the next, the data entry team can scan the two bar codes, set the payment aside, and pick up the next one for scanning.

“Since the integration of our web store with our legacy system, Internet orders have increased 493% and sales have increased 765%. Equally impressive to me is the commitment of RIC Proforce to each and every project we instruct them to complete. Projects are discussed, planned, tested, and applied efficiently and on-time with little or no delays or surprises.”
- Eric Olesen, Co-owner, O&H Danish Bakery

Fully Integrated Website Brings Sweet Smell of Success for
O&H Danish Bakery

O&H Danish Bakery, located in Racine, Wisconsin has two charming Danish Bake Shops both featuring a full presentation of fresh-baked Danish pastries. Their business represents a multi-generation family committed to quality. Founded in 1949, this family business has an unwavering pledge to maintain the procedures necessary to produce the finest Danish bakery. O&H Danish Bakery also distributes their signature Kringle items to grocery chains around the United States and Canada.

Business Issue
O&H Danish Bakery’s entry into the world-wide-web started by building a stand-alone web site that featured some of their products. Orders generated by visitors would be manually printed on a daily basis and keyed into their legacy order entry system for processing. The process was time consuming and maintaining the web site with new items, price changes, and available ship dates was difficult and untimely due to third party reliance.

As more customers were driven to order online, it became apparent that integration to legacy systems would both streamline order entry and allow for timely maintenance of the web site.

RIC Proforce Develops Targeted Solution for O&H
O&H Danish Bakery operates their legacy software on the IBM iSeries platform. Their search for iSeries expertise conducted by their long-time programmer, lead them to RIC Proforce, LLC. In working through discovery, RIC Proforce was able to envision a solution and demonstrate that the iSeries platform could support web-based applications integrated completely into the existing legacy software and database.

To begin, RIC Proforce ported the existing web site to the iSeries, replacing what had been fixed product and category pages with dynamic content from legacy category and product files. They used HTML, JavaScript, the CGIDEV2 Toolkit and RPG programming languages to develop the web store. They created a process where order confirmation and order shipment notifications are automatically sent from the iSeries to the customers. Finally, RIC Proforce ensured that pages containing confidential information were secured with HTTPS/SSL encryption using the iSeries Digital Certificate Manager.

By working with RIC Proforce and hosting the O&H Danish Bakery web site on the iSeries, full integration to legacy software and data became a reality.

RIC Proforce Creates Increased Capacity and Efficiency in Time for the Season
O&H Danish Bakery needed the project completed before the start of the fourth quarter as their business has a cyclical increase in October, November and December. RIC Proforce received approval late in May to start development and was able to deliver a solution and “go live” on October 1. O&H Danish Bakery now enjoys a web site with dynamic content that allows for immediate updates to product and category information. Orders have increased significantly, are timely, accurate, and the office staff can concentrate on other customer service tasks.

“RIC Proforce employs high quality, rock solid people that exude integrity. They have the diversity to adapt to any technology needed to solve a problem and always stand behind their work-and, they are a great value!”
-Don Abramson , IT Director, Shemin Nurseries

Helping Support the Environment of Success at Shemin Nurseries

Shemin Nurseries is the nation’s leading Landscape Supply Company. Shemin Nurseries has served the needs of the landscape professional for half a century. Their executive offices are located in Danbury CT, and they have 26 Landscape Supply Centers throughout the east coast, south, and Midwest.

Business Issue
When a Landscape Contractor came to the local Shemin Supply Center, they worked their way through the nursery and warehouse with the Shemin Service Representative, selecting the items that they needed. When they were done building the order, they would take their list of items into the office where the counter personnel would enter their selections from the list, and finally create the contractor’s completed invoice.

This was a time consuming process especially during the busy landscaping season, causing frustration for the customer when upon completion of their product selection with the service rep, they would have to stand in line waiting to complete their order.

Scanning for a Quick Solution
RIC Proforce was called in to implement a solution that would streamline the process for Shemin Nurseries and their customers. The solution identified by Shemin Nurseries involved equipping the service representative with a hand-held RF scanner device that would build the order as the items were selected in the greenhouse and nursery.

RIC Proforce immediately dug in and began developing the new system and application that would allow Shemin to better serve the needs of their customers. Now when the landscaper makes his selections, the wireless handheld scanning process removes the wait time. Instead, the invoice is waiting for the landscaper’s signature at the office.

Changing the Landscape of Business at Shemin
Landscapers are busy people and time equates to money. With RIC Proforce on their side to implement RF capabilities in their Landscaping Centers, Shemin began to move customers in and out smoothly, quickly, and seamlessly. This, of course, is not only a great benefit to the landscaper, but also ensures that Shemin is doing all they can to help their own customers make optimal use of a limited resource - time.

“RIC Proforce is not only a very capable and reliable resource for us, they are also experts in the areas of requirements gathering, design, installation, and supporting existing applications. I would not hesitate to engage them at any point in the development cycle.”
- Tom Dilly, Director, iSeries Engineering, Kronos Incorporated

Partnering with Software Company is a Wynn-Win

Kronos, Inc. takes the complexities involved with recording time and attendance transactions, scheduling diverse workforces, and managing employee absence and simplifies them. Kronos streamlines HR and payroll processes and helps organizations hire the best people and make smarter decisions. And with thousands of installations in organizations of all sizes - including over half the Fortune 1000® - Kronos proves workforce management doesn’t have to be so hard.

Business Issue
The Kronos iSeries Division sold the Wynn Las Vegas on the concept of using their iSeries Timekeeper solution. The Wynn had an existing time and attendance collection device, but knew they would greatly benefit from moving to the Kronos software due the software’s more comprehensive ability to help improve workforce productivity. Before the Wynn would proceed with the deal though, Kronos had to insure that integration to their existing touch screen device was possible - otherwise a significant investment in data collection terminals would be lost. Kronos did not have an existing module that supported the communication interface between the Kronos software and the Wynn data collection device, and there were no “off-the-shelf” solutions available. So a custom interface would have to be developed.

Solution and Capabilities
The communication interface had to be developed and tested in a short development window to coincide with the already established install and go-live schedule required by the Wynn, so Kronos needed an applications development partner they could trust to deliver the solution.

RIC Proforce, having served as a strategic partner to the Kronos iSeries Division and many of its clients for years, was called upon to pioneer the custom interface to the touch screen device. As proven, proficient, professional, IBM AS400 iSeries custom application development experts, RIC Proforce immediately went to work developing a time and attendance module that supported both on-line and off-line data collection using HTML, JavaScript, AJAX, and RPG - a solution that would work with Wynn’s existing data collection terminals.

The Kronos-Wynn Win
Kronos closed the deal and delivered the software solution and custom interface exactly as required by Wynn. The Wynn was able to move forward with the integration of the Kronos iSeries Timekeeper on their existing data collection terminals. This RIC Proforce AS400 iSeries consulting solution provided the Wynn a new ability to more effectively manage their workforce and, at the same time, protected a significant investment in equipment.

“RIC Proforce has helped our business grow and change. The service has been outstanding, watching out for us above and beyond anything we could ask for. When we needed changes and could not afford to do them all at once, they worked out an arrangement that made it possible. We are always grateful for that assistance and care.”
-Susan D´Amour, Owner, Lillian Rose Collections, Inc.

Targeted Solutions Lead to Streamlined Order Fulfillment
at Lillian Rose

Lillian Rose has been a nationally recognized manufacturer of quality wedding and baby accessories for over 25 years. Their operation is located in Mukwonago WI, they ship their products around the world, and they offer a diverse range of products from cake tops and toasting glasses to picture frames and keepsakes.

Business Challenge
Prior to partnering with RIC Proforce, when an order was placed with Lillian Rose, the system would generate a pick ticket immediately without regard for customer demand or inventory levels. The warehouse manager would then prioritize the pick tickets based on when they came in and what was in stock. He would also keep tabs on the production departments as well as the receiving dock in order to manage the order priorities. In addition, the manager would personally verify the items picked before they were packed in boxes for shipping to attempt to alleviate errors in shipping.

This labor-intensive process was managed almost exclusively by one person, had many opportunities for error, and made it very difficult to fulfill late-day, high-priority orders.

Developing a System That Saves Time and Money
RIC Proforce AS400 iSeries consulting staff met with Lillian Rose management, assessed the current situation, and gathered all essential data to begin implementation of the new order fulfillment solution.

Next, RIC Proforce developed a paperless system that tracks the order priority and puts the orders in a queue for on-demand pick ticket printing. As new orders come into the system, they are assigned a priority order that is tied into inventory levels and are then inserted into the queue. If a customer doesn’t accept back orders and an order can’t be shipped complete, it is routed to a customer service rep who contacts the customer to see how they want their order handled.

Finally, RIC Proforce created a barcode scanning process to verify the items on the order before they are packaged. If an item is scanned that isn’t on the order, the system alerts the operator and the item is removed. At the end of the scanning process, if any items are missing, the system won’t release the order for shipping until the missing items are picked and packed OR the manager overrides the short fill.

Since implementing this solution, Lillian Rose has:

  • Improved customer satisfaction
  • Increased the number of orders shipped per day
  • Reduced credit/return processing
  • Decreased paperwork shuffle, pick ticket loss, and the opportunity for human error
  • Improved workforce efficiency

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