Superior Fireworks

ArcherPoint Provides Superior Fireworks with a 'Holistic' Solution Using Microsoft Dynamics and LS Retail

The Situation

With Superior Fireworks headquartes just outside Jacksonville, Florida, Superior ships all over the U.S, supplying end consumers putting on back yard shows to professionals gearing up for big events. In recent years, a growth area for the company has been resellers with their own stores and fireworks tents and stands across the country.

The company has been growing rapidly since opening their doors in 2001 due to excellent relationships with suppliers and an in-house logistics team, which has enabled them to create strong brands offering unique, high quality products. That structure also allows Superior to pass cost savings down to customers and provide excellent service.

With this rapid growth and expansion—and no sign of slowing down, Superior added a warehouse in China and also made the move to a 25,000 square foot distribution center with an expanded, 5,000 square foot retail store.

The Challenge

The challenges Superior was facing were around rapid growth and expansion—which is a good problem to have.

  • They were not equipped to support a significantly larger stand-alone retail store.
  • Container imports were increasing, requiring more robust supply chain functionality.
  • QuickBooks could no longer handle financial requirements and was not integrated with the order management system, which integrated with the company’s multiple websites to automatically pull orders in for processing and shipping.
  • The warehouse management system couldn’t accommodate a significantly larger warehouse and a second warehouse overseas; for example, it did not support multiple locations, so inventory had to be manually added to the inventory valuation in QuickBooks.
  • Overall, the company did not have systems with the flexibility to support growth and expansion.

The goal for the new solution was to be as holistic as possible, not only integrating with websites and other systems, but also covering the various business divisions within the company as well as the retail, wholesale, and eCommerce components, which entailed working with different types of customers, pricing, and business rules. This would also require the new system to be customized to simplify and streamline specific workflows and processes. For a company that prides itself on being nimble and efficient, this was particularly important.

An end-to-end solution that met all these needs would also provide visibility across the entire company, which was also very important.
“We wanted to find something we felt was robust enough to really manage growth, something we could feel confident was going to grow with us for a long time,” said Josh Pappas, Communications & Technology Director, “We don't want to have to go through this whole process again.”

The Solution

Josh and team evaluated several ERP solutions, including NetSuite, Dynamics GP, and Dynamics NAV. NetSuite would not allow the company to keep existing websites on the current platform, while GP, despite offering more functionality, did not feel as cohesive as NAV, where everything was built into the core system. That was a big differentiator—the ability to provide that holistic solution the company was looking for.

The next step was to choose a partner. Initially, Superior had engaged with another partner, but as the scope of the project began to include a larger retail component, they realized that partner would no longer work. So, they found ArcherPoint, which had the retail experience as well as expertise in manufacturing, distribution, and financials—and decades of experience working with Dynamics and other Microsoft products. In addition to Dynamics NAV, ArcherPoint recommended the following to round out the holistic solution:

  • LS Retail for Dynamics NAV,
  • Lanham’s E-Ship and bill of lading solutions,
  • ChargeLogic for credit card processing, and
  • Channel Sales Manager for eCommerce integration

All these products are highly integrated with Dynamics NAV and are considered the de facto standard in the community.

“It was clear by the way they thought through the solution that the ArcherPoint team really understood our needs and know what they’re doing,” said Josh. “They worked hard to provide the right balance of integrating with the NAV sales order and item management workflow, but also provided the separation necessary to be able to manage the website listings and website data independently, so it's a really good balance where there's flexibility there but also tied to integration when required.”

Perhaps one of the most ambitious facets of the solution is the integration of multiple websites using ArcherPoint’s Channel Sales Manager (CSM). CSM will help integrate four web stores—Superior Fireworks Retail, which offers online ordering for pickup at the retail store, Superior Fireworks Wholesale, Superior Celebrations, and Celebrations Wholesale.

In addition, the company will be launching three brand product information websites, each dedicated to a specific brand, to be used as a resource by resellers or consumers looking for information. Each site will use CSM to manage product listing information.

But that’s not where it ends, added Josh. “We’re going to be working on an additional integration with a Walmart marketplace for sparklers and confetti cannons, which will also run through CSM.”

The Results

With the opening of the new retail store and additional expansion, Superior grew 100 percent over a two-year period—which would never have been possible without the implementation of Dynamics NAV and the rest of the system. “The reason we went with NAV in the first place is because of that growth,” said Josh. “And we’ve grown 24 percent each year since, which also would not have been possible without it.”

With its functionality, stability, efficiency, and reliability, the new solution also enables Superior to manage the “hyper-seasonality” of the business. The spike around the July 4th season is, by far, the busiest time of the year, when the company is running more than a thousand transactions a day on six POS stations in the retail store alone—not to mention dramatic increases in online sales and supplying product to retailers.

Superior cannot afford to be slow or have any hiccups in the supply chain, inventory, warehouse, or point of sale—in person or online—during that time. In fact, a key metric is transaction time, the goal being to get transactions completed in under two minutes. This is more challenging than it sounds; part of that time includes the time it takes for customers to review and sign a terms of sale agreement, which is integrated into the checkout process to show up on the credit card pin pad. With that process running smoothly, they can move a line that wraps around the store through in less than 10 minutes running six stations non-stop—or nearly 200 transactions per hour.

What is even more impressive is this: By streamlining processes within the new system, the company has been able to handle growth efficiently, without substantially adding to full-time, back-office staff that deals with order processing and distribution staff—and that keeps costs down for customers.

In short, the company, including Josh and his brother, Matt, who is the owner of Superior, both agree that the new solution was well worth the cost and look forward to learning more ways to use it to make incremental improvements to the company’s operations.

For example, they are already building out additional CSM integration, expanding warehouse operations, adjusting order workflows to accommodate multiple locations, and continuing to look for ways to automate and streamline processes and workflows, like more efficiently managing pre-orders from wholesale customers, which begin rolling in around February for the July 4th holiday.

With their new, holistic system with Dynamics NAV at the center, Superior Fireworks is positioned to continue growing, expanding, and delighting customers.

Learn More

Learn more about Superior Fireworks.

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