Sixth-generation distributor reduces deadstock by 60% by using BI to bolster customer service.

Superior customer service is part of their culture and powered by technology.

Customer Service employee using a a tablet with a customer.

Company Overview

Founded in 1864, Irr Supply Centers is a rare gem—a successful sixth-generation, family-run distributor. What started as a modest plumbing contractor business has grown into the leading distributor of plumbing, heating, cooling, electrical and refrigeration products in Western/Central New York and Pennsylvania.

The company’s motto “Service Starts Here” is ingrained in all aspects of how the team operates, whether they are serving customers, supporting each other or playing an active role in the community.

“We sell the same parts our competitors sell. So, we stand apart by going all out to service our customers what they need when they need it,” said Kevin Saky, IT Support Manager with Irr Supply, who has been with the company for 32 years. “That same commitment to service relates to how the IT team services the company with our technology needs.” Saky joined the company as a buyer, but moved into a more technology-focused role in the 90s and continues as their IT ecosystem has grown and become more complex.

historical black and white photo for IRR supply.

The Technology Evolution of Irr Supply

For years Irr relied on creating sales and other reports from their ERP, which was the early version of Infor Trend and Sx Enterprise along with Oracle’s Hyperion financial management system. Data was extracted from these disparate sources, imported into various Excel spreadsheets, old-school “green bar” reports and some other homegrown reports. “We weren’t looking at something under the same pane of glass,” said Saky. “It wasn’t very easy to use, and the data became outdated quickly.”

In 2015, it had become clear that they needed a better way to create and share reports. With the help of NSA, a leading distribution software consulting firm, they narrowed down the decision to White Cup BI (formerly MITS BI) and Phocas. “What sold us on White Cup BI was that there were so many reports and dashboards that came with the software,” said Saky.

“We didn’t have to sit down and learn the software then create all the reports. There was a lot we could use right out of the box. It was also a cost-effective decision for us, having flexibility with the number of users.”

Kevin Saky
IT Support Manager

Intuitive User Experience Made Adoption Easy

To rollout White Cup BI, the IT team presented a demo of the product to the entire sales team at their monthly meeting. That large group session was followed by a few smaller training classes. The sales team caught on quickly and saw the value of how White Cup BI can make an impact on their individual customers. “We didn’t have a very formal training process. We didn’t really need one,” Saky said. “The product is very intuitive to use. The key for the IT team was to modify the pre-made dashboards to show a clear picture of what customers were doing so it was easy and useful for the sales team to act on.”

Easy Access to Timely Data Retains More Customers

Prior to using White Cup BI, providing timely and accurate reports across teams was a challenge because information came from multiple sources.

Now, Irr Supply has more than 100 users accessing data weekly. Saky estimates that approximately 20% of its users refer to White Cup BI multiple times a day. It has empowered sales reps to do their own investigation into the numbers to their own advantage. “Recently I spent about 20 minutes with a rep, showing him how to sort, filter, slice and dice the data. The rep called me a couple weeks later to say that because of that impromptu training, he discovered that a customer had dropped off significantly. After a little digging into the numbers, the rep reached out to the customer to discover the customer felt the pricing was off. After a few internal conversations, the pricing was adjusted, and we won the customer back.”

Beyond the sales team, White Cup BI is a go-to solution for the purchasing, inventory and store management teams as well. “We have probably 40 to 50 reports that we’ve been using consistently for the last three years. The beauty of the hypercubes is that we can access the most recent data to make confident decisions.”

Knowing data is current allows the team to be more proactive. “We can find and catch mistakes quickly. We can run rolling reports of specific timeframes to compare last year to this year while taking into consideration current sales. The timeliness of White Cup BI is a big winner for us,” said Saky.

Reduce Deadstock Up to 60% for 30k+ SKUs

Irr has 34 stores that are divided into smaller regions. The store and regional managers use White Cup BI to track inventory that isn’t turning as fast as they’d like. By flagging low-performing products, the counter staff are incentivized to move those products, optimizing the inventory and minimizing deadstock. Over the years, Saky estimates they have seen a 50-60% reduction in deadstock. With a SKU count of 30,000+, that is a significant savings.

The Next Generation of Irr Supply’s Technology

Irr Supply has some exciting technology advancements on their roadmap, starting with a move to the White Cup BI Cloud. “We like new technology, but we also like tradition in our industry,” said Saky. “We know there’s more data flexibility with the cubes in the cloud, so we’re excited to make the change.”

Contact White Cup to find out more and learn how you can empower your company with data-driven technology that improves customer service and brings in loyal customers.

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