IMCO Carbide Tool and SPS Commerce: A Success Story

As a leader in the tooling industry, IMCO Carbide Tool is constantly driving towards delivering a more efficient and accurate order cycle with their distribution customers. Why? Distributors have many brands of similar tools to pick from for their customer’s order. When given a choice, they’ll pick the tool from suppliers known for easy ordering. IMCO aims to be this top-of-mind provider and is doing so by teaming with SPS Commerce to automate their orders and improve their compliance with shipping instructions. The result is an 87 percent reduction in time spent on each order and an increase in sales.

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  • Headquarters:
    Perrysburg, OH
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  • Customer Since:

Standing Out From Their Competition

IMCO Carbide Tool is a leader in advanced cutting tool technologies with distributors in North America, South America, Europe and the Pacific Rim. Their machining products embrace the latest in new cutting methods, tool geometrics and much more.

The manufacturer sells 8,000 products through a network of distributors and their goal is to make IMCO the easiest company to order through. Bret Osburn, Order Fulfillment Manager at IMCO states, “we know that consumers will often not ask specifically for the IMCO brand, but instead make their request using the generic tool type. If the distributor sees IMCO among the options and knows that we make ordering fast and simple, we are very likely to secure this sale. Being the vendor with the path of least resistance, thanks to EDI, is a competitive advantage in our industry.”

Reducing Order Processing Time by 87 Percent

IMCO started their EDI journey in 2017 with two distributors who represent a quarter of their annual sales. These customers use EDI and wanted IMCO to do so as well. They introduced IMCO to their trusted EDI provider, SPS Commerce, and IMCO decided to deploy the SPS Commerce Fulfillment solution as well, integrating their orders, shipments and invoices with their ERP system, Epicor.

“When one of our larger customers makes a request, like doing EDI, we take it seriously,” said Osburn. “IMCO began doing EDI to delight our customers but shortly learned that the automation was saving us significant amounts of time and improving our shipping accuracy.”

This first distributor they connected to using EDI sends 70 orders every week on average, each containing 50 or more unique part numbers. These orders had previously been sent via email and were manually entered into IMCO’s system, usually taking 30 minutes per order. Today their EDI orders take just a few minutes to process using SPS Fulfillment. This is real-time savings that IMCO now spends on other initiatives.

Adhering to Shipping Details

Distributors include specific shipping details in their orders and attention to these details is important. Whether it is selecting the right service type (ground, overnight, etc.) or carrier account, complying with these directions impacted the distributors experience with IMCO.

“We knew we were sending the right products but found the shipping details could be easily missed,” said Osburn. “Our warehouse team may not know if the order was to be shipped ground or next day, or more often if the freight should be billed to a distributor’s carrier account. With EDI, this data is automatically placed into the order, so it’s easy to find and never missed.”

Taking Back Friday Afternoons

One of IMCO’s larger West Coast distributors would send their restock order every Friday afternoon at 3:00 p.m. local time. These orders would take three to four hours to manually enter into our system and had to be completed before the end of the work week. Since moving this trading relationship to EDI, the orders are processed within 30 minutes – a time savings of more than 3.5 hours of manual entry.

“Our staff appreciates knowing that they can plan their weekends and know that a late Friday order won’t impact them, all thanks to EDI form SPS,” continued Osburn.

Rolling Out to More Customers

Most recently, IMCO has started to connect to its smaller customers. “Our customers are delighted that we are embracing EDI as they see the benefits of improved compliance to special shipping instructions and more,” said Osburn.

IMCO will continue to automate its order and shipping with distributors to gain efficiencies. “Just last week, one of our larger trading partners emailed their bi-weekly order with more than 250-line items. All I could think of was, I can’t wait to move this partner onto EDI,” concluded Osburn.

The Interviewee:

Bret Osburn, Order Fulfillment Manager

The Challenge:

Simplify product ordering to become the first choice of distributors.


The Solution:

Automate using SPS Commerce Fulfillment for Epicor.


The Results:

Reduce order processing by 87 percent and increase shipping accuracy.

“Just last week, one of our larger trading partners emailed their bi-weekly order with more than 250-line items. All I could think of was, I can’t wait to move this partner onto EDI.”

– Bret Osburn