distribution software case study


The Company

Hoy Shoe Co. has been in the business of manufacturing and distributing sandals for women and children since 1944. Hoy Shoe operates as a B2B company, distributing across the United States, Canada, Australia, Europe, East Asia, Israel, and South Africa. The company’s no stranger to playing with the big kids, either — it’s been selling shoes to customers such as Nordstrom for more than 40 years. Some of its other big-box customers include Zappos, Dillard’s, and Bloomingdale’s.

Over those years of experience, the team at Hoy Shoe began to notice big changes within their industry. Hoy Shoe’s customer base began to shift from smaller, mom-and-pop-sized customers to big-box retailers — likely a side effect of the rise of online shopping.

Big customers present their challenges, but they haven’t slowed Hoy Shoe’s growth. Over the last 10 years, the company has averaged 30% growth year over year, and the team doesn’t anticipate slowing down anytime soon.

The Challenge

Before making the switch to SalesPad by Cavallo®, Hoy Shoe ran its business from a “green-bar paper” ERP system from the 1990s. While it sought an upgrade, Hoy Shoe also wanted a distribution management software solution that could keep up with the company’s rapid growth, increase its efficiency in interacting with customers, and improve its accuracy in picking orders from the warehouse.

Customer service was particularly important during the shoe company’s search for a better solution. Jeff Downs, CIO, CFO, and global sales director at Hoy Shoe, explained their attitude this way: “Customer service drives everything — if you don’t have it, you’re going to go out of business. So we were looking out for that in particular when we were exploring the different options out there for our company.”

The Solution

Hoy Shoe adopted SalesPad when it migrated to Microsoft Dynamics GP. The company recognized that entering orders through Dynamics GP would be too cumbersome, take too much time, and depress productivity.

SalesPad impressed the Hoy Shoe team with its intuitive interface, powerful CRM feature set, easy order entry, and intuitive workflows. It was a perfect match for a thriving, ambitious company new to Microsoft Dynamics GP.

“SalesPad has allowed us to continue growing without having to add more employees,” Downs said. “It has allowed us to be more efficient with what we do. All of our Cavallo products have played a huge part in helping us handle the increasing volume as we’ve grown.”

Downs said SalesPad has helped keep the bar high when it comes to working with customers. Easy customer lookup and visibility into customer returns and purchase history have done a lot to streamline their CSRs’ processes.

“SalesPad has helped make our company more agile when interacting with customers. From a CSR standpoint, we’re able to better serve both big and small customers. SalesPad helps speed up our customer interactions and helps us give the customer more information than we ever could before.”

SalesPad has allowed us to continue growing without having to add more employees. It has allowed us to be more efficient with what we do. All of our SalesPad products have played a huge part in helping us handle the increasing volume as we’ve grown.

Jeff Downs CEO

Seamless Order Entry Using an Item Matrix

Distributing shoes in a B2B environment presents additional unique challenges, Downs explained. When someone calls in an order, they ask for a “size run,” which is a certain number of a style of shoes, in specific colors and sizes. That translates into a lot of different SKU numbers.

“Imagine typing in an order like that into a system as unintuitive as GP,” Downs said. “So part of what really sold us on SalesPad was the item matrix.”

An item matrix is a grid that simplifies order entries, such as the ones Hoy Shoe deals with. Rather than typing in each SKU and quantity, the item matrix lets the person entering the order quickly indicate the range of what they need (style, colors, and sizes) and the quantities for each variation.

Hoy Shoe was able to take its item-matrix success one step further by presenting Cavallo with some customization requests to make reading the grid a bit easier. Those changes proved so useful that they were adopted into SalesPad’s main design and released to all customers in an updated version of the software.

Beyond streamlining entry for orders with lots of different SKU numbers, SalesPad also pulls its weight for Hoy Shoe by integrating directly with the company’s EDI (electronic data interchange) solution. This common digital language makes it easy for Hoy Shoe to exchange important data and information with its newer, big-box customers such as Nordstrom and Zappos.

“When you work with bigger customers like Nordstrom, they want you to be on EDI,” Downs said. “But if you mis-pick something, that’s a charge-back. If you do anything wrong in the picking and shipping process, you get a charge-back. That can really eat into your profits.”

Charge-backs can include anything from longer payment terms to a dip in order quantities to being dropped altogether as suppliers for the customer. With EDI, charge-backs become far less likely. The distributor and customer can communicate more easily, eliminating the risk of missing or mixing up important product information during order fulfillment. SalesPad has helped Hoy Shoe rise to the challenge of keeping the charge-backs at bay.

Near Perfect (or Actually Perfect) Picking

Before adding SalesPad’s Inventory Manager feature to its business software suite, Hoy Shoe struggled with accuracy when picking orders. Shipping out large orders of shoes in lots of different sizes and styles risks mispicking items on a daily basis. Before adopting Inventory Manager, warehouse workers would walk the aisles with clipboards and pick the items listed—a very manual process with high risk of human error.

Hoy Shoe decided to move to a barcode-based picking approach. With SalesPad’s Inventory Manager, the company pivoted from checking a clipboard into simply scanning an item, and its picking accuracy went through the roof.

“When we got everything set up with Inventory Manager, and we got all our scanners and set up the workflows in SalesPad, we found that it made our employees much, much faster,” Downs said. “We can get more products out today than we’ve ever gotten out. Scanning an item instead of manually checking a pick list saves so much time.”

Scanning an item’s barcode lets warehouse workers know right away if they’ve mis-picked an item. If the item’s barcode does not match an item number on the order the warehouse employee is picking for, that error is noted right away, and the item goes back on the shelf.

Similarly, if a box somehow makes it to the shipping department without being correctly scanned with Inventory Manager, the shipping manager instantly knows the box is not ready to ship and can quickly figure out why—just by scanning the associated order.

“We actually went a full year without a single mis-pick,” Downs said. “And if someone calls in and wonders whether or not they got an item from us, we can tell them exactly which box to check, and then they usually find the item they thought they didn’t have.”

Hoy Shoe has found its rhythm using Cavallo’s solutions. According to Downs, SalesPad is a vital part of the company’s business process, and the shoemaker doesn’t anticipate leaving anytime soon. Much like its beloved sandals for thousands of customers all over the world, Cavallo is Hoy Shoe’s perfect fit.