Home Resources Case studies

Closing the books faster is a huge payback when it comes to automated financial reports

5 mins to read

Replenex is set up for continued success as they use data efficiencies to streamline financial business operations.  

Replenex is an award-winning fourth-generation industrial distribution business owned by a family based in Eden Prairie, Minnesota. Located at its 15,000 square foot facility with additional brick and mortar locations and assignment warehouses, Replenex employs 50+ workers onsite and in the field. With over 78 years serving the industrial manufacturing industry across America and Canada, Replenex provides materials and services that reduce waste and increase customer profitability to supply chains. The business prides itself in sharing the singular purpose of helping their customers operate more efficiently in reducing total cost of ownership. 

Data management plays a crucial role in transforming a business. Instead of just processing data for financial statements, Replenex could see the benefit in analyzing this information and keeping it up-to-date. By leveraging this financial information plus its operational data, Replenex has improved internal financial management and reporting, ultimately gaining valuable insights to enhance the operation of its business. 

Single source of truth for the whole business 

Replenex distributes industrial supplies that keep their broad range of customer’s facilities fully stocked with the tools, safety items, adhesives, personal protective equipment, etc needed for manufacturing and production in a market where business growth is critical. Replenex Vice President of Operations and Integrator, Tony D’Aquisto, saw the need for a solution to meet the reporting needs requirements of the company without being so vested in their existing bespoke business intelligence system that required a large time commitment to access and update data via manual processes. 

The switch to Phocas in 2023 enabled a seamless integration with the business’ existing Infor CloudSuite Distribution ERP system. Phocas Analytics was first implemented to provide real-time data insights as a single source of truth to the whole business.   

 "Phocas can support cross-functional departments and to integrate with Infor. It’s cloud-based and can easily compare multiple years of data’".

Tony was impressed with how Phocas could streamline all Replenex’s data into one platform; simplifying everything into ‘one source of truth’. 

Unexpected circumstances created urgency and a rethink  

A few months after completing migration from legacy Infor SX.e to CloudSuite Distribution in 2021, the team at Replenex received sudden news that a valued employee and friend was unwell and needed to stop working. His core responsibility was to maintain and manage its homegrown reporting system that he had built in-house for Replenex and there was no back-up plan. Succession planning is an area of focus for many long-term distribution businesses and this sad and unforeseen situation added further urgency for Replenex to identify an alternative reporting and analytics system.  

Tony had first heard about Phocas at a previous TUG Connects annual conference and decided to further evaluate with the help of their trusted technology advisor, Central Data, who has been in partnership to resell Phocas since 2021. Central Data is a privately-held software and services consulting business providing wholesale distributors with a total solution comprised of Infor CloudSuite SaaS software, cloud services, business consulting, training and long-term support. 

Month-end shortened and past due accounts receivable settled faster  

The decision to add Phocas Financial Statements and Phocas Budgets & Forecasts in 2023 was a no-brainer because month-end reporting at Replenex was a drawn out and complex process. Adding Financial Statements allows daily financial activities to be streamlined eliminating manual processes and many people can access the actual figures (without affecting the general ledger). 

Tony reflects on his 9 years at Replenex and how automating these financial processes positively impacts its business performance.

“When I started here, we were at $18 million revenue, and the goal this year is to finish at about $32 million revenue. That's a pretty big goal that you can’t reach with people; you have to continue to look for automation and simplifying processes. You have to look for data accuracy. These were the pain points that we were dealing with.” 

With Phocas Financial Statements, the team drastically reduced their accounts payable (AP) and accounts receivable (AR) month-end reporting from 7-10 business days down to just 3 business days. The extra time gave the executive team opportunity to review the financials before submitting them to the bank, enabling greater data transparency and sharing of information across the business.  

Tony attributes Replenex’s record-low past due accounts receivable (AR) balance of 7.5% (well below the industry average of 10-15%) to the clarity of the automated Phocas reports. He highlights the weekly Monday morning AR report sent to the executive team as a crucial factor in reducing any outstanding debt.  

According to Tony, 'this is the lowest the past due AR balance has been in Replenex's 78-year history, and I can confidently say it's because of the simplicity of the reports from the Phocas tool’. 

Before starting work on Monday mornings, the Replenex executive team gets the full AR report, and the sales team gets an individual version emailed to them out of Phocas, creating transparency on owing customers that could potentially be put on a credit hold. This information is used for proactive communication with the customer so the money owed to the company can be received sooner. 

Automation as a tool to unlock business potential 

Tony believes the decision to adopt Infor CloudSuite in 2019 and integrate it with Phocas marked a significant turning point for the business. The move eliminated time-consuming manual tasks by helping the Replenex team to re-evaluate their entire way of working.  

“I just hate busy work. It forced us to re-evaluate all cross-functional departments to look for efficiency and productivity improvement ideas and it certainly opened our eyes. 

By transitioning to the cloud, Replenex also no longer had to worry about server room limitations or equipment upgrades, freeing them from concerns about storage capacity and IT infrastructure management. 

Higher confidence of data integrity 

With Phocas, gone are the days when Tony had to work with the wider teams to undergo multiple checks due to the risk of human error that could cast doubt over the validity of business data. The Replenex finance team can use the actual P&L (income) statement produced in Phocas and submit it straight to the bank without hesitation or manual input. Phocas has provided a new level of confidence in their data. 

"Using Phocas makes me feel secure about data analytics and confident that the numbers are accurate. It makes me sleep better at night, with all seriousness."

A win-win for all 

Introducing change can be challenging, especially in a business steeped in tradition. However, Tony finds change ‘exhilarating’ and rallying the Replenex teams behind the Phocas platform is effortless - especially when the finance team genuinely enjoy using the ‘simplified daily activities’ to deliver strong return on investment 

We certainly streamlined the AR and AP process and if I was to use this as a tagline, it was the biggest bang for the buck to date. The AP/AR was the biggest bang. Huge, huge payback."

Tony added how the sales team have revolutionized their day to day using Phocas; "Being able to wake up whenever they can to start their day and have all their daily, weekly, monthly reports in their inbox is critical".

Building upon a strong foundation for growth 

The selection of Phocas business planning and analytics platform that integrates with distribution-friendly ERP systems like Infor CSD has worked well for Replenex. No longer tied to manual data entry and siloed data, the team can scale and build for the future with a renewed focus on strategic initiatives and innovation.  

‘Taking a 78-year-old business owned by a family who relied on homegrown reporting and people is a challenge in itself to overcome but Phocas has changed our business and set us up for the future. Having one source of truth and the confidence and the accuracy of the information is key and Phocas has proven to give Replenex that source of truth and confidence."

Key data in one easy to understand view
Get a demo

Find out how our platform gives you the visibility you need to get more done.

Get your demo today

Understand the past, operate better today, and plan well for the future

Whether you want to get your data organized for your team or you’re looking to combine business intelligence capabilities with financial reporting, planning and analytics… We can guide you. Let’s see if we can help.
Get a demo Understand the past, operate better today, and plan well for the future