CHF Success Story
CHF Industries is a leading marketer and manufacturer of home fashion products that are sold to key retail stores throughout the United States. The major categories of products are window curtains, fashion bedding and accessories, decorative bathroom products. CHF Industries has been in business for over 75 years and has over 1200 employees.
CHF suppliers are located in many countries and many time zones that prohibit effective business communications and correspondence. Purchase Orders (PO) were sent via mail, fax, and email without knowing that the supplier received the PO.
In the home fashion industry, many Purchase Orders are unique requests for material – there is a need for the supplier to review the order to commit to the terms and conditions specified. When ship dates are missed, and not supplied, CHF has to spend additional time requesting this information. The revised ship dates then have to be entered into the ERP system. Because suppliers are unsure who to communicate with, they oftentimes use the shotgun approach with multiple emails. This does not allow for targeted communication.
“It is critical that we communicate effectively with our vendors in order to maximize service to our customers. We had reviewed several alternative solutions to this business need and found that they all placed unnecessary and complicated demands on our vendors”, said Joseph Porto, Chief Information Officer of CHF. “What is most important to us is to have a vehicle for collaboration that is totally integrated with our ERP system so that internal CHF people can leverage additional information without investing additional effort. For our vendors we want a tool that is simple to implement and operate, using email alerts to bring them into the collaboration process. From the technical perspective we want a solution that utilizes XML to exchange information between our host system and web server. We have ambitions for using this platform to web enable other critical business functions.”
Other Solutions Considered
Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) is a solution to manage purchase orders for large suppliers, but EDI is very complicated and extremely difficult to implement with most global suppliers.
Using American Software’s “Vendor Collaboration & PO Tracking” web-based application, CHF established a Vendor Web-Site with the application called “POCollaborate”.
POCollaborate is a web-based purchase order management system which allows CHF planners and its vendors to stay synchronized with respect to open purchase order commitments. POCollaborate provides a means for vendors to receive, acknowledge and accept PO’s electronically. Registered vendors receive an email notification every time a new PO is written. The email provides a link to CHF’s POCollaborate System. After signing on, the vendor can view and print their new PO’s. The vendor uses POCollaborate to indicate their acceptance of each PO. In the event a PO cannot be shipped on the date requested, POCollaborate provides a means for the vendor to submit an extension request to the planner. It is essential that all extension requests are processed through POCollaborate.
- Visibility of all information & correspondence for a purchase order
- Accurate information and more timely
- Immediate feedback on all delivery changes
- Organizational re-alignment based on better information and visibility
- Right people in the right job
- Reduced manual work
- Automation of many of the buyer and planner processes
CHF opened offices in China and Pakistan using PO Collaborate from day one. This would have been a difficult project without the new collaboration system, which is why CHF recommends this solution to other companies with global suppliers.