Distributor's EDGE
In This Issue
DE: Keeping You On the EDGE
Recap: TUG 2008 U2U
A Match Made in Texas
Western Water Works: Where Culture is the Difference
Learn About Your Available Tax Savings
 Featured Article

Recap: SX.e User Group's 2008 User 2 User Conference
Acumen Splash Page
The reviews are in: DE Customers give TUG 2008 U2U two thumbs up!

  Featured Event

Jammin' with Grant

Grant Howard

Register now for our first live call with Grant Howard.

Topic: A Sign of the Times: Being the Distributor of Choice


Date: June 19, 2008

Upcoming Events
June 8-11, 2008:
Progress Exchange '08
Disneyland Resort, France

June 10-12, 2008:
Best Practices Inventory Management with Grant Howard
Detroit, Michigan

June 19, 2008:
Jammin' with Grant

October 14-17, 2008:
Inforum
Sands Expo, Las Vegas, Nevada

November 11-12, 2008:
Building the Bridges to Operational Excellence with Grant Howard
Toronto, Ontario

March 11-13, 2009:
TUG 2009 U2U
The Broadmoor, Colorado Springs, Colorado

TUG 2008 U2U in Pictures

Texas A&M University Logo

Texas A&M University Logo

Texas A&M University Logo

Texas A&M University Logo

Texas A&M University Logo

Texas A&M University Logo

Frequently Asked Questions
Thank you to those of you who provided feedback on your experience at the TUG 2008 U2U Conference. Your opinions are invaluable to us. Below, we have compiled some frequently asked questions for your perusal.

Q: When and where is
TUG 2009 U2U?
A: March 11-13, 2009 at The Broadmoor in Colorado Springs, Colorado

Q: Where can I access the Power Point presentations from different TUG breakout sessions?
A: www.TheUserGroup.org

Q: Do Infor direct customers have access to upgrades before Infor Channel Partner customers?
A: No, all users are granted access to upgrades concurrently.

Attend Infor and Texas A&M's Inventory Excellence Series

May 12-13, 2008:
Inventory Basics

August 19-20, 2008:
Inventory
Intermediate

December 4-5, 2008:
Inventory Advanced

May 12-13, 2009
Inventory Strategy

All sessions will be held at the Rudder Tower Conference Facility, Texas A&M University, College Station, Texas

The series is a four part program including sessions on Best Practices in Inventory Management, including KPIs, forecasting, replenishment, order quantity setting, and more.

For more information, click here.


SX.e Users Play Jeopardy

Each quarter, we will pose an SX.e related jeopardy question. The first respondent to answer correctly will win a prize and be featured in the next issue of our newsletter.

Please e-mail responses to
SXeJeopardy@DistributorsEDGE.com.

Question:
How can profit be distributed to the income statement by product category in SX.e?

Good Luck!

Western Water Works
Western Water Works Company Photo

Western Water Works Truck

Western Water Works

Western Water Works

On the EDGE
Spring 2008, Volume 1, Issue 1
Greetings!

This is our first quarterly issue of the DE newsletter, On the EDGE. We are excited to introduce Distributor's EDGE and the related resources that are now available to you. Please continue reading to learn more.

We hope you are as excited about this new endeavor as we are.

Cheers,
The DE Team

DE: Keeping You On the EDGE

By now, most of you know of us-- Distributor's EDGE, or DE to those who have partied with us-- scroll down to view the incriminating photos. We are an extensive group of distribution professionals who serve Infor's SX.enterprise customer base. Together, we proudly support more than 300 distribution companies with single or multi-branch locations in over 30 states and 5 countries. Initially, we partnered to merge our marketing and sales efforts to drive new SX.enterprise business. Regionally located throughout North America, we are friends, not foes, posing no threat to one another, and as a group, we are exponentially stronger. After all, as the old adage goes, TEAM: Together Everyone Achieves More. And you too will benefit from our new family.

After we evaluated SX.e's promising future and the role we can play in maximizing SX.e's value to your company, we recognized the true significance in joining forces. By body count alone, we offer over 90 SX.e distribution experts. Now that our initial project is well underway, we are more recently focused on providing invaluable resources to our customers. True, we offer more manpower, but even better, we offer collective brainpower. We are most excited about the new Distributor's EDGE website, www.DistributorsEDGE.com, your general store for all things distribution.

At DistributorsEDGE.com, you will have access to a world of distribution resources, including relevant white papers, industry news, and information about upcoming events. We are especially proud to introduce our official distribution expert, Grant Howard, as a member of the Distributor's EDGE team. Grant will be contributing to our distribution centric blog, Grant UnPlugged, and he will host a quarterly live call to discuss your industry related concerns. Visit the website to register for Grant's first call, Jammin' with Grant, which will take place on June 19, 2008.

As Distributor's EDGE will facilitate growth both within each Channel Partner's organization and within your company, you can expect more educational customer days, like the one hosted on March 10, 2008 at TUG 2008 U2U, this quarterly newsletter, more user involvement and networking opportunities, and continued support to keep you On the EDGE.
Recap: TUG 2008 U2U

Airport delays, a Purchasing Workshop, Dashboard's debut, ferry rides at dusk, inter-industry networking- and that's just a recap of Distributor's EDGE Customer Day-- day 1 at The User Group's 2008 U2U Conference.

DE's first Customer Day, held on Monday March 10, 2008 in Palm Desert, CA, was a huge success, due in large part to our valued attendees. After DE's Dave Mullins and Kate Gleckner introduced Distributor's EDGE as your new resource for all things distribution, Paul Desgrenier, DE's product expert, kicked off the educational day with a Purchasing Workshop, and attendees had the opportunity to actively contribute to the presentation, posing questions regarding the content discussed and learning solutions from DE's experts. At the conclusion of the fact filled morning session, attendees, especially our colder climate customers, enjoyed lunch on the terrace overlooking the mountain and palm tree lined landscape.

Resolved to further educate our customers and prevent skin damage caused by overexposure to the sun, DE lured attendees back into the conference room for the afternoon session with the promise of a cocktail party to follow the afternoon's presentations. Equally as tempting as a martini but much more fulfilling, the afternoon's three presentations offered a plethora of information. First, Infor's Terri Maske presented an educational overview of KnowledgeZone, one of Infor's training resources, reviewing the benefits of KnowledgeZone membership. Next, DE's Craig Killam introduced DE's latest offering, the Executive Dashboard for SX.e, an SX.e compatible program that logically presents all data stored in SX.e to SQL. Finally, and fortunately at the end as they proved to be a hard act to follow, Progress' Alex Aversano and Brian Bowman kept the juices flowing on National Napping Day by requiring a group stretching session in the middle of their humor ridden, content packed Progress Update. Both the morning and afternoon sessions were packed with valuable information, and DE's Customer Day served as a balanced introduction to TUG's 2008 U2U Conference.

True to our word, DE hosted a cocktail party for Customer Day attendees after the educational sessions, closing the day's events and welcoming guests to the conference. After regrouping in the hotel's lobby, guests were ferried to the Pointe, a peninsula overlooking the resort's lake, where they could mingle with DE employees, fellow customers, and the session's presenters, sip a tropical cocktail, and feast on appetizers. Numerous TUG attendees, including The Gear Centre's Tammy Sutton, praised DE Customer Day and TUG for the networking opportunities the conference in the desert afforded them, allowing user's to resolve issues their peers previously faced based on proven solutions.

In the days to follow DE's Customer Day, TUG attendees, 20% of whom were DE customers, found great value in numerous sessions. Among the favorites-Cleaner's Supply's Jose Moreira and Winroc Corp's Theo Wall enjoyed Grant Howard's "Building the Bridges to Operational Excellence," National Energy's Wei Qin favored Kris Robertson's "Business Continuity/ Disaster Recovery," and TEAL Electric Company's Mike Kochajda liked Gary Perkins' "SHIMS Modules You Would Like to Know More About."

Asked how TUG can improve the conference for 2009, each DE customer agreed that TUG truly understands how to communicate with the users, and Tenaquip's Chris Oliver reinforced this idea, saying, "No changes are necessary. They know what they are doing." Additionally, an overwhelming number of attendees noted easy access to Infor employees as a benefit to attending TUG. The Electric Connection's Charlie Coles emphasizes, "The one on one access with Infor's people was a huge plus. I enjoyed learning specifically what is going on in development."

With three jam-packed days of breakout sessions and keynote speeches, TUG's 2008 U2U Conference was an overwhelming success, and all polled attendees considered their investment of both time and money a good one. Considering the state of the economy and the outcome of most investments, we think that is pretty impressive.
A Match Made in Texas

Texas A&M University Logo Investment veteran Warren Buffet separates two commonly misused terms, "Price is what you pay. Value is what you get." To pay the price is to invest in the future value. We understand the magnitude of your decision to invest in us, and we are honored you recognized the potential value in a partnership with us. Now, we are pleased to further validate your decision as one of the currently rare good investments. Unlike some select Wall Street institutions, Infor invests heavily in the long-term strength and future of its products, and after their most resent endeavor, your investment in SX.enterprise is increasing in value far beyond the price.

World-renowned research institution Texas A&M University recently selected Infor's SX.enterprise software as their preferred distribution solution. An influence on the functionality of ERP software and an educator of the theories of supply chain management  to both students and businesses, Texas A&M has long provided insight on developing Infor's SX.e into a stronger, more comprehensive solution. As an official partner, Texas A&M will continue to assist Infor in further developing your chosen software package.

Texas A&M is Improving SX.enterprise
Even before officially selecting SX.e as their primary distribution software, Texas A&M researchers have contributed to SX.e's evolution. Dr. Barry Lawrence, professor of industrial distribution and Director of the Supply Chain Systems Laboratory at Texas A&M, has had a significant influence on SX.e since version 3.0 due to his research on developing theories on inventory classification. Most recently, Dr. Lawrence's theory on how to classify inventory items has been fully incorporated into SX.e's latest version, 6.0. By incorporating Dr. Lawrence's method, companies have dramatically reduced the amount of dead stock and low-yield items they carry, therefore increasing their profitability!

What Texas A&M's Involvement with SX.enterprise Means for Your Future
Being the chosen one is a great accomplishment for Infor, but what does Texas A&M's decision really mean to you?

              In conjunction with Infor's team of   
               specialists, Texas A&M's researchers and   
               students will be actively involved in testing
               SX.e's applications, researching future
               developments, and proposing suggestions on
               how to strengthen the Enterprise Resource
               Planning solution you use daily.
              Each year, Texas A&M will graduate 
               numerous SX.e proficient distribution experts
               seeking jobs within your industry,
               strengthening the applicant pool.

Texas A&M's Involvement will Change Your Business
While Texas A&M's students benefit greatly from their affiliation with SX.e, business owners such as yourself will benefit as well. Dr. Lawrence will be co-leading an inventory management program with Infor about implementing best practices and applying information and inventory management principles into a real-world setting using SX.e - providing yet another opportunity for you to maximize your investment in SX.e.

Partnering with the foremost university in the distribution field, Infor has affirmed their commitment to excellence in distribution theory and software, adding great value to your investment. And as Infor's new partner, Texas A&M is using SX.e to lead the next generation of distribution experts your way.

Western Water Works: Where Culture is the Difference

At first glance, Western Water Works, a California-based distributor of pipe valves and fittings for potable water, which includes drinking, waste, sewer, and storm water, is a typical wholesale distributor. Family-owned-and-operated since 1945, Western Water Works has successfully preserved the quintessential Ma-and-Pa culture that many distributors are fighting to maintain. However, Western's familial roots run far deeper than the fact that its current president is third generation owner Bruce Himes. Sure, the business has remained in the family, but more importantly, the business and its employees have become a part of the family.

About a decade ago, Western, California's original waterworks distributor, resolved to add unparalleled growth to its list of accolades. The goal: Create a technology infrastructure that would allow growth in a painless manner. A $5 million company at the time, Western was comfortably afloat with 22 employees, but as any thriving company knows, Western recognized the growth a properly executed plan would stimulate. Promoting a culture based on respect, discipline, and integrity, Western was conscious of the potential their working environment fostered. As the mid to late nineties marked the beginning of a new era, one of technology and network-based communicating, Western quickly realized the added value a well-implemented software solution would provide. Himes views technology as an enabler, saying, "Technology doesn't cause growth. It allows us to grow." Combining their tradition of hard work with technology as the stimulus, Western set out to grow its family a little more, and with the support of Distributor's EDGE and the implementation of SX.enterprise, Western's size and profitability increased.

Western Water Works Aligns with DE
At the time, Western did currently have an ERP software package, but its costs far outweighed its benefits. Unfortunately, that system was Western's third initially impressive but ultimately disappointing solution. After several failed relationships, Western was searching for a partner who would stimulate their growth by providing implementation services and extended team and plan support. At this point, Western had discovered that their purchasing decision should be less about the product itself and more about the support the software provider offered.

In 2000, Western met, and almost immediately, welcomed Distributor's EDGE into their now sure to grow family. Western's team remembers this decision to be quite simple. DE's Craig Killam presented a demo, and simultaneously Western recognized their own philosophy-a true commitment to their customers-- in DE.

When DE joined Western, Western was an $8.8 million company. Now a $50 million company, Western is certain they made the right decision. Immediately, Himes knew he chose well, saying, "Even before we went live, we saw the benefits of partnering with DE and implementing SX.enterprise. Talk is cheap, but from the beginning, DE has always delivered whatever they have committed to." After implementation, Western continued to see the benefits of their new partnership. DE eliminated the need for an IT team, customer service increased, wasting paper was obsolete, and the culture improved even more.

IT Partner
Western has grown exponentially over the last decade. When they first began growing, they were too small to staff an IT team, and more importantly, they were not interested in doing so. Even as they grew, their partnership with DE allowed them to continue without a staffed IT Team. Himes says, "Because of DE, we don't have an IT department. We haven't had to because they help us with technology-focused issues. With our website. Networking our computers. Our printers. And so on."  When Western first partnered with DE, their goal was to implement a sturdy technology-based infrastructure, so DE installed all new hardware, including multiple servers, new desktops, and even laptops, which at the time were still a very new idea. Before DE, Western did not have e-mail, and their internal communication was still largely Post-It-Note-based. The actual sticky pads, not the desktop version.

While Western did grow in size, they are still not one of the largest in their industry. However, their technology and the new abilities they have due to their system allow them to appear larger than they actually are. Even as a midsize company, Western operates as a large one, and they successfully deliver as such. As a technology-based solution provider, DE revolutionized Western's business practices.

Customer Service Levels Improve
Increased technology improved more than just memo circulation; Western's customer service increased dramatically as well, even with the significant decrease in the ratio of employees to production. At $50 million, Western employs 50 people, whereas, at $5 million, there were 22 employees. Noting the streamline effect that SX.e and DE had on Western, Western's team is impressed by how few people are needed to make the company run so smoothly, noting this as one key reason to implement technology. Another reason: Getting more out of fewer people. According to Western's hiring team, it is difficult to find people who meet the demanding requirements for working at Western. He seeks dedicated, hardworking individuals, and he was looking for a way to get more out of his current employees rather than searching for comparable talent.

With the advent of mobile devices and laptops, sales managers are reachable 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and as the devoted service providers they are, they welcome late night calls from customers when a pipe is needed first thing in the morning. Western sells to the customer only what the customer needs, and SX.e helps them determine what that is exactly. SX.e has allowed Western to continuously maintain the appropriate inventory levels and track key performance metrics, including average lead-time and ship time. Therefore, Western can fulfill its promises to the customer.

Company Culture Strengthens
Often times, smaller family-owned distribution companies like the '95 Western Water Works resist a move to a software product like SX.e because they fear losing the culture of a small family-owned business. However, Western has noticed the exact opposite effect. The Western crew believes that culture comes before IT, but in this case, he knows their culture has been strengthen by great IT, believing Western's relationship with DE has only improved Western's culture. Mostly, the culture has improved because SX.e has bettered business, and Western's employees are proud to be a part of that growth. Western's family of employees are more confident because SX.e and other DE implemented technology has enabled them to surpass expectations and impress customers. For example, they are now able to place orders from the job site. Western's employees have more flexibility with their increased mobility, and often times, drivers will just drop in to visit a customer and say hello. Since implementing Paperless Office in 2004, Western was able to pool their many sales and accounting offices, each located at one of their four warehouses, so there is only one sales and accounting office. Paperless Office has decreased paper waste, and it has furthered customer service because all records are easily reachable.

Western Water Works and Distributor's EDGE
About a decade ago, Western set out to implement a technology-based system that would foster growth. Now a $50 million company, Western has achieved their goal, and they plan to continue to grow. When asked where credit is due, Himes quickly transcends the line from president to proud papa, praising his entire team, including his extended team at DE. He credits his staff's dedication and knows his team is doing something better than his competitors, but he is quick to mention DE's dedication and SX.e's usability. Himes says, "DE comes onsite often to help us along," and of one DE employee specifically, he says, "He is one of the best people we have ever dealt with in anything. Lucky for us, he just happens to be in IT." Western appreciates the high level of commitment DE offers, and he comfortably places a great level of trust in DE. He describes his relationship with DE as "very strong." Again, he refers to technology as a mere enabler, but he says it would be hard to have the combination of DE and SX.e on your side and not grow.
Learn About Your Available Tax Savings

Want to lower the true cost of ownership on your business equipment? Here's how:

Business Equipment
Business owners who acquire equipment for their business: machinery, computers, and other tangible goods, usually prefer to deduct the cost in a single tax year, rather than a little at a time over a number of years. This deduction is known by its section in the tax code, a Section 179 deduction.

Under Section 179, businesses that spend less than $800,000 a year on qualified equipment, can write off up to $250,000 in 2008. The rules are designed for small companies, so the $250,000 deduction phases out when a business purchases more than $800,000 in one year. (Companies cannot write off more than their taxable income).

Benefits of a Non-Tax/Capital Lease
The benefit of a Non-Tax/Capital Lease is that it can take advantage of Section 179: expense up to $250,000 if the equipment is put in use in 2008. In addition, you may depreciate any excess on the depreciation schedule for that asset. Examples of Non-Tax/Capital Leases include a $1.00 Buyout Lease, an Equipment Finance Agreement (EFA), and a 10% Purchase Upon Termination (PUT) Lease. Example Calculation: Assume you finance $300,000 worth of business equipment, put it in use in 2008, and take advantage of Section 179. Your tax savings could be significant:

Tax Savings Example - Section 179 Deduction

                    Cost of Equipment:                                            $300,000
                    Section 179 Deduction:                                      $250,000
                    50% Bonus Depreciation:                                   $25,000
                    Regular First Year Depreciation
                        Deduction:                                                    $5,000
                    Total First Year Deduction:                                  $280,000
                    Cash Savings on Your Equipment
                        Purchase, Assuming a 35% Tax
                        Bracket:                                                        $98,000
                    Lowered Cost of Equipment After
                        Tax Savings:                                                 $202,000


Tax Code Section 179 & Election to Expense Detail
The election, which is made on Form 4562, is for the tax year the property was placed in service or an amended return filed within the time prescribed by law. The total cost of property that may be expensed for any tax year cannot exceed the total amount of taxable income during the tax year. Section 179 property is property that you acquire by purchase for use in the active conduct of your business. To ensure property qualifies, reference Publication 946.

This expense deduction is provided for taxpayers (other than estates, trusts or certain non-corporate lessors) who elect to treat the cost of qualifying property as an expense rather than a capital expenditure. Under Section 179, equipment purchases, up to the amount approved for a given year, can be expensed (deducted from taxable income) if installed by December 31st. Non-Tax leases qualify for this deduction in their year of inception. Any excess above the expensed amount can be depreciated depending on the equipment type. Not all states follow federal law. Contact your tax advisor for further detail or visit www.irs.gov for specific detail.

Further Detail
Reminder: To take advantage of the 2008 tax incentives, your business equipment must be put in use by year-end. Each company should contact their tax advisor to learn about the specific impact to your business.

Act now!
This is only good through the end of 2008.  Unless Congress extends this, the Tax Code 179 depreciation will go back to $125,000 with the limit of $500,000.

Interested in learning more? Contact the author of this article:
Keith Walker
National Accounts Manager
Pacifica Capital
31726 Rancho Viejo Road, Suite 205
San Juan Capistrano, CA 92675
800-800-8081, ext. 236