Piggly Wiggly Alabama Selects HIMPACT by Herlitz Inventory Management to Improve Buyer Efficiencies and Boost Profitability

In February 2020, Piggly Wiggly Alabama signed with Herlitz Inventory Management with the goal of having all purchase orders generated by Herlitz on or before July 4. Even after downtime due to COVID-19, Piggly Wiggly will still meet its goal of planning nearly all July 4 orders through HIMPACT.

Herlitz Inventory Management, leading innovator in scientific demand forecasting, replenishment and optimization, announced that Piggly Wiggly Alabama (PWA) has selected HIMPACT as its new purchasing system. While E3 Trim was an effective product for its time, there were opportunities for improvement because of new technologies. Piggly Wiggly understood this and wanted to upgrade to HIMPACT. The speed of implementation was paramount for Piggly Wiggly. They wanted their new purchasing system to be up and running before the 4th of July holiday. This is often not possible with other purchasing systems but is a key differentiator for Herlitz Inventory Management. Additionally, the purchase order management features in HIMPACT, which calculates and allocates freight and provides a more accurate landed cost was of interest.

Carl Herlitz, President & CEO of Herlitz Inventory Management, stated, “We’re grateful for our new partnership with Piggly Wiggly Alabama. Its leadership is forward-thinking and sees the financial and productivity value in a purchasing system like HIMPACT. We were especially proud to have helped PWA meet their internal planning goal.”

The Herlitz team began technical planning only a week after Piggly Wiggly Alabama signed. During this week, a VM server was configured. In the following week, timelines, training schedules, and training topics were discussed and planned. In this same week, HIMPACT was up and running using current data from Piggly Wiggly Alabama. Less than a month later, buyer training was started. The COVID-19 crisis unfortunately hit Alabama midway through training, putting a halt on progress.

“The Herlitz team demonstrated their value during the initial phase of the pandemic,” commented Scott O’Brien, Director of Grocery Systems, Piggly Wiggly Alabama Distributing Co., Inc. “Our team of buyers was only about halfway through training when the crisis arose, causing us to put the training on hold while we focused on our customers. The Herlitz team supported us the whole time.” On May 15, 2020, training was resumed. Due to safety restrictions, the training sessions were adapted and conducted virtually. Despite the two-month pause in training, the Piggly Wiggly team of buyers continued to review their vendors and items in HIMPACT during the break.

“Now that the initial training classes have concluded, and more Purchase Orders are written in HIMPACT, we feel confident all of our purchase orders will flow through HIMPACT by June 20, and PWA will still meet its goal of planning nearly all July 4th orders through HIMPACT,” said David Bullard, President and CEO, Piggly Wiggly Alabama Distributing Company, Inc.

Aside from the speed of implementation, Piggly Wiggly was interested in other features offered by HIMPACT, one of which is called Super Item. This feature enables perishable and other department users to source items from one country for a portion of the year, and then switch to a new vendor for the remaining months, and even overlap sales. Super Item is used to combine the demand history for such items, allowing the buyers to easily create a reasonable seasonal profile and have the system manage the forecast. With this feature, customers can source produce from one region in the winter months, and then from another when more local product is available. To the end shopper, there is no difference; but managing this sourcing switch for buyers is easier than ever once using HIMPACT.

Herlitz added, “We are delighted with the enthusiasm of all the buyers at PWA but particularly the perishable buyers.  They were using E3 Trim as an order placing system only, utilizing paper reports and years of experience to derive their order quantities. During the first week of training, we demonstrated that once configured, the suggested orders generated by HIMPACT are within a couple cases of what they were ordering manually. They have realized that HIMPACT can create orders that they would and now are accepting in the system.