When you think of digital transformation, locksmithing may not come to mind. But for the 90-year-old company, LSC (Locksmiths’ Supply Company), the journey to modernise and jump into the digital age is all encompassing, both in terms of updating internal operations and in educating locksmith customers.
Certainly, things have come a long way since its founder, Aubrey Findon Johnson, established the company in 1926 and imported the first code cutting machine for cylinder keys to Australia.
“Despite being a 90-year-old business we are a fast changing and evolving business around understanding the digital transformation of security,” LCS project team leader, Paul Newton, who’s spearheading technology management, implementation and leadership, told CIO Australia.
With strong associations and partnerships with the locksmithing, security, building and hardware industries, Newton said the company represents 160 manufacturers (30,000 hardware, software and service products), locally and overseas, and has operations in each state and a head office in North Melbourne with over 130 employees nationwide.
Eyeing internal operations, LCS selected Epicor - the cloud deployed ERP solution - in a bid to manage growth, diversification and a complex supply chain and distribution requirements, a move that Newton said is a big part of its efforts to modernise technology operations for the wholesale distribution business.
“You can imagine as a 90-year-old company we have been very much about shelving and racking, paper-based, 'pick and pack and dispatch' and all of that sort of stuff. We have recognised it was time to move on from our legacy software because the R&D wasn’t being invested into it.”
Newton said the company’s growth, diversification and complexity led it to seek a contemporary ERP solution, one that could manage all supply chain and distribution efforts as well as provide top-line visibility into critical business information.
“Security is a growth industry and technological advancements are being made all the time. Our staff are used to seeing smart technology built into the products we sell, from the humble car key right up to home automation, commercial and automotive security,” he said. “In order to remain competitive and retain staff, the onus was on us as managers to provide modern software which is flexible, intuitive and instinctive rather than proprietary, complex and unwieldy.”
Overall, he said the company has invested in a more centralised distribution centre, whereby LCS is able to distribute product far more efficiently using contemporary tools, including scanning, bar coding, and electronically pick pack, operated still with staff management, but in a far more sophisticated way.
“We were looking to reduce the times in which we handle stock. Historically, the more you handle stock, the more expensive it becomes and the greater probability that you are going to lose control of stock. Factors like accuracy, with questions like, ‘where is it?’ and ‘has the package been handled too frequently?’ arise,” he said.
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