Case Study: Advanced eCommerce Site & Odoo ERP for PPE Distributor
Legion Safety is a personal protective equipment distributor based in Wheeling, Illinois, just outside of Chicago. The company, founded in 2009, values efficiency and employs product procurement tactics which allow them to constantly expand their competitive PPE offerings at great prices, all while providing exceptional customer support.
Legion noticed that the variety of disparate solutions that they were using to run their business was leading to inefficiencies, errors that needed to be quickly dealt with, as well as potential loss of revenue. They were using X-cart for their eCommerce solution, Stone Edge Order Manager (Monsoon SEOM) for their order and inventory management, Worldship+Dazzle for shipping, QuickBooks for accounting, and Redcort for time clock management. It was all getting to be unmanageable and they needed an all-in-one product that would streamline their operation.
Steersman’s Odoo ERP and eCommerce package was exactly what the client was looking for and Legion worked closely with the Steersman team to incorporate a number of customizations, optimizing the solution for their business and ensuring that the transition would be a smooth one.
The Steersman team started by building a new custom website for the client, making sure that the brand was accurately represented, and that the site was optimized not just for desktops, but for mobile use as well, which was something that the company didn’t have available in the past.
Steersman worked diligently to create a set of data migration scripts to transfer all of the different tools onto the new platform. The unstructured manner that attributes had been previously stored in the client’s X-Cart data required extra consideration, and the Steersman team had to create sophisticated maps to consolidate and clean up a lot of product attributes as part of the migration into Odoo.
It took time to get everything prepared and to consider all the intricacies of the setup, but once everything was ready, Steersman was able to successfully perform the complete switchover overnight.
The consolidation of all the various tools onto one platform proved to be a huge improvement to the everyday operations of the company and the migration not only ensured that all the data was centralized, but also introduced a set of new tools that the team didn’t have available prior. By ensuring that all the different modules connected to the same data source, the Legion team was confident in knowing that they always had the latest status of a product or order.
They could track trends, generate reports, and create data-based projections to better anticipate the needs of their clients. The intuitive product information management (PIM) tool, created entirely by Steersman, ensured that non-technical staff with product knowledge could easily update and maintain the catalog without assistance.
Finally, with just a bit of training and guidance, they were able to ensure that new team members were able to get up to speed quickly as they only had one system to get familiarized with.
The Challenge of Timing
The day after the migration was completed a national emergency was declared in the United states due to the Covid-19 outbreak. The timing makes it difficult to gauge how much of the sales spikes Legion saw immediately after the migration was due to the pandemic and the migration itself, however the team was much better equipped to deal with the unfolding of events with the new tools in place. The ability to work remotely and not be limited in any way by having access to all the tools became extremely valuable.
“The new setup is very nicely accessible because it’s cloud based,” said Kenneth Adamson, the General Manager at Legion Safety. “We were able to easily work with the system remotely from anywhere. That flexibility alone was a huge improvement.”
As the Illinois state struggled to formulate a plan for how businesses could continue to operate remotely, the demand for protective gear and accessories surged. With the new Steersman’s Odoo implementation, the Legion team was better equipped to handle the increase in inquiries and business, all while most of the staff seamlessly collaborated while working from home, which wasn't ever done before.
“We've been working very closely with the Legion Safety team for a long time now and it has been great to see their team adapt our tools,” said Andrey Kolesnikov, business development manager for Steersman. “They have been able to take advantage of our platform and the many add-on features that we've developed over the years to the fullest.”
The client found that the Steersman PIM module enabled their staff to manage their vast product catalog with ease. They could add entire product lines or filter their views to update existing product attributes quickly and efficiently. With all the enhancements Steersman has made to the eCommerce module, Legion could be assured that their catalog of products will look just as great, and their website will be just as usable, on a smartphone as on a large computer screen.
“The new system has a great mobile solution, which is something we didn’t previously have. Shopping is a lot easier for clients now. They can quickly find exactly what they want.” said Adamson.
For optimal usability, the site needed to be lightning fast and by incorporating Elasticsearch into their ecommerce solution, Steersman was able to make the product searches on Legion Safety’s website much more intuitive and practically instantaneous. A customer could quickly filter down through the vast catalog using a well-structured set of categories until they found exactly what they were looking for, and never end up in the weeds. If a customer happened to open several tabs while choosing the perfect products, the multi-window-shopping feature ensured that their shopping cart would be synced in the background.
Support Through all the Hurdles
“Before we migrated everything was disjointed, everything separate. We were using different tools for different things and we wanted to combine everything” said Adamson. “Now everything is in one place, but of course there is an adjustment. The accounting procedures, for example, are different in the way things are recorded. The learning curve is honestly the only downside, if you could even call it that.”
The team at Steersman ensured that the client had all the support they needed throughout the migration and beyond. Providing ongoing improvements to the platform, providing training documentation and videos, as well as their fast turnaround for support requests all ensured that the staff at Legion could sail through everyday tasks as well as make plans to grow their business into the future.
“We’ve had a few support tickets and the support process has been great,” said Adamson. “We appreciate the confirmations and status updates. The process is different if it’s a small question or a major feature request, but the overall response time has been good and the team has been great to work with. They understand our business really well and frequently anticipate our needs before we even identify the potential issues.”
“The new system takes a little bit of getting used to; it has a lot of depth and a lot of features. I think it’s a great product and the Steersman team did a good job implementing everything for us,” said Adamson. “They made sure to provide us with training on how to make the most of the tools we now had and continue to make a great impact on our company’s growth.”