How HIMPACT Started from a Legacy of Innovation in Inventory Management.

When I reflect back on the past decade, the word that comes to mind is…wow! I can’t believe we are already at our ten-year anniversary! I’d like to start off by thanking our clients for trusting us and for all those who have supported us along the way. It is because of our clients and the experience we gain from them that we are able to do great work and create products that truly generate results. I’d also like to thank all of our employees and partners over the years who have helped make this company what it is today.

Of course, none of what we do today would be possible without the work, sacrifice, and dedication of Anders Herlitz, whom I am proud to call my father. Back in 1962, Anders spearheaded the global rollout of a state-of-the-art forecasting and replenishment solution from IBM. He went on to design and/or deploy the first:

  • Turn-key software package using scientific inventory management:
    • IMPACT, for wholesale distributors
    • Retail IMPACT
    • Processors IMPACT
    • MRP, called COGS
  • Supporting forward buying software
    • Buying extra inventory before the costs increase and then selling the products at the current and higher sales prices can dramatically increase profit margins. Anders designed and built features into IBM’s solutions which helped distributors and retailers capitalize on this process.
  • Purchasing system with online screens
    • At this time, inventory status reports were printed on green-bar paper. While you could fit more info on these pages, Anders saw the benefit of going to online screens. The screens had limitations on how much data could be displayed. Therefore, the 7 steps of buying were invented to solve this problem. By only presenting the data needed to make one of these 7 buying decisions at a time, the entire buying process could be covered and organized in a more efficient manner than ever before.

Further, Anders founded the company E3, which was an innovative pioneer and eventual “standard” in this industry. E3 laid the groundwork and foundation for Herlitz Inventory Management, Inc. to be built. I learned invaluable lessons from my father such as programming, implementation, training and consulting in those earlier years. He then kicked me out to Europe to take E3 onto the global scene. When I asked him what I should do after incorporating E3 Germany, he said, “If I knew that, I would have done it myself”. He has always been one to let you bring a plan to him. It made you learn a lot.

After E3 was sold, I decided to carry on the family legacy and take it further. Using knowledge gained from E3, I formed Herlitz Inventory Management in the fall of 2009. We spent a month going over every functional requirement needed by industry for every country we had ever worked in. We then spent 6 weeks on the database design and two calendar years developing version 1 of HIMPACT. That was 20 man-years and the result was the first PO being accepted in a production environment in January 2012. Even after 10 years of further development, we still haven’t made it through all of the features that the database is ready for. Part of that is because of our philosophy that we will never design a feature in an ivory tower. We always co-design with a customer. This has proven very effective over these ten years.

Since our inception, the objective has been to design the best solutions for buyers. So much has changed in ten years, both with technological capabilities and with our solution offerings. However, our goal to remove the guesswork from purchasing and simplify the ordering process for buyers by making consumer demand more predictable has not changed; but our solution has!

Five years ago, we rewrote our entire user interface to make it more responsive and to stay current with what users expect. This year, we will do just that again. Today, HIMPACT not only optimizes inventory and profits, but also provides insight into retailers and distributors businesses, which help improve their competitive positions. Our solution, HIMPACT, allows any wholesale or retail business that stocks a set of items regularly to forecast, optimize, and create POs. Today, HIMPACT:

  • Manages more than $300 million in inventory
  • Purchases $3.5 billion worth of product a year
  • Created 215,000+ POs in the past 12 months alone
  • Manages over 2.5 million SKUs

I have our customer base to thank for many of the enhancements that we add with each release. I am also delighted and surprised at our development team which continuously asks how we can make improvements for buyers. Our shared culture of constant improvement drives a better solution for all. Enough can’t be said about this, except thank you, and keep the suggestions coming.

I am so proud of where we are today as a company. The last decade has been a carefully planned growth trek. From where I’m sitting, this next decade is going to be fantastic. There have been many successes and challenges alike, but one thing is certain: we will continue to create cutting-edge, unique solutions that guarantee results for our clients. Here’s to the next ten years!