Schoenhut Piano Taps Instrumental EDI Platform for Growth

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Schoenhut Piano Taps Instrumental EDI Platform for Growth

EDI mandates from retailers, along with a growing sales volume and the challenges of global shipping drove requirements for an increasingly automated and scalable order fulfillment system.

Founded in 1872, Schoenhut Piano Company is one of the world’s oldest, best-known and most prestigious manufacturers of toy pianos, drums, string instruments and other musical instruments. Its top-quality products are sold online and at major retail stores throughout the United States and the world.
For many years, American craftspeople hand-built Schoenhut products, but to expand its global footprint, Schoenhut began manufacturing some products overseas.

Despite sophisticated in-house processes, order fulfillment required many person-hours of manual effort daily, especially during the busy season (September through December). As soon as major retail customers began mandating EDI, it was clear that Schoenhut needed to implement a robust and flexible EDI solution that could integrate with its existing fulfillment processes. Likewise, as both domestic and international sales volumes grew, shipping efficiency became a business-critical priority.

From “DIY” to EDI
After a brief experience transacting EDI manually, it was clear that EDI software was essential to growing the business and smoothly onboarding and serving trading partners.

After manually transacting EDI with a single trading partner for a short time, and then getting a second EDI mandate, Schoenhut Piano quickly implemented TrueCommerce Transaction Manager in May 2008.

“It was immediately obvious that manually processing more than a handful of orders in one day would become someone’s full-time job,” explains Schoenhut Piano Company, Inc. “It wouldn’t have been worth it to bring on new customers without an automated EDI solution because of the time we’d spend processing those orders.”

Schoenhut is very active within the Toy Industry Association. They contacted HighJump TrueCommerce on the basis of a strong recommendation from a fellow toy manufacturer. “Immediately upon implementing TrueCommerce EDI we saw time savings of hours per day over manual methods,” continues Wright.
Because TrueCommerce EDI integrates with QuickBooks, data from purchase orders can be used to automatically create invoices within QuickBooks, saving considerable time and reducing the likelihood of errors. “As we realized the benefits of integration, we began moving more partners – about 20 in the past 18 months – to TrueCommerce from other platforms. Now instead of having to log into multiple web sites to process orders, and entering data by hand, it’s completely automated,” Wright adds.

Streamlining Shipping
Moving from spreadsheet-based processes to integrated, fully automated shipping saves hours of labor each day.

With its manufacturing facilities, resellers and retail customers distributed around the globe, Schoenhut needs efficient and sophisticated shipping processes to remain competitive -they also drop-ship on behalf of resellers, both in the United States and internationally.

“The main reason we got the TrueCommerce Shipping Module was that it automatically updates advance ship notices (ASNs) within the EDI system. That alone saves us hours per day – in our busy season we used to need two people working four to six hours per day just to manage shipping labels and manually update ASNs.”

With the TrueCommerce Shipping Module, it now takes just fifteen minutes to generate shipping labels – even at maximum volumes of 1,000 orders or more. Updating and managing ASNs has gone from twelve person-hours to a maximum of two person-hours per day.

The TrueCommerce Shipping Module automatically generates and exports shipping data to and from Schoenhut’s shipping Systems (UPS WorldShip and Fedex ShipManager), as well as the ASN data stored in Transaction Manager, such as tracking number, item weight, shipping date and dimensions – even custom, customer-specific fields – all at the click of a button.

One-Stop Packing Lists
Integrating packing list generation with EDI saves time and effort by eliminating the need to interface with multiple networks and portals.

Before using the TrueCommerce Packing Lists module, it was necessary at Schoenhut to log into various external web sites to pull packing slip data for specific customers. Now they create packing slips for all customers automatically from within the EDI system. Packing slips and shipping labels are generated in the same order, making it easy to match them up. “On a busy day, it took several hours to print and match packing slips and shipping labels,” Wright relates. “Now it takes a fraction of the time.”

Schoenhut can now also generate packing slips based on retailers’ format specifications, which TrueCommerce maintains and updates for them free of charge. “As a small family company, we can’t afford costly solutions,” Wright asserts. “TrueCommerce EDI has been extremely cost-effective and easy to use. The add-ons install automatically and ‘just work’ – it’s an ideal solution for us.”

Seamless Support
Free, automatic updates to trading partner maps, shipping and packing formats and more – along with support, second to none – saves significant training and IT costs.

Strong relationships with retailers enable TrueCommerce to update trading partner specific mappings before the changes impact suppliers. “I never have to make any changes to the EDI system,” Wright says. “TrueCommerce takes care of all that upfront, for free; it’s just part of support. For a company without an IT department, that’s a pretty handy benefit.”

“We got great service right off the bat from TrueCommerce. When I call or e-mail, I get consistent and accurate advice from someone who knows our account thoroughly. They often walk me through a problem, or help me test out a new capability. Initially they helped me learn the system and now they help me get the most out of every feature – to the point where serving the world’s largest retailers is as easy for us as working with a small customer. “

“When we were new to EDI, TrueCommerce made sure we succeeded. And as our requirements have expanded, TrueCommerce has been there with the necessary features. It’s great to know that as the years go by and we continue to grow, TrueCommerce will continue to meet our needs,” Wright concludes.