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Avatar Partners Helps Crocs Inc.

Improve Efficiency and Prepare for More Growth as Popular Shoe Company Experiences Wild Success
The Situation Crocs Shoes, the wildly popular, brightly colored resin shoes seen on everyone from toddlers to college students to grannies, have become ubiquitous in just a few short years. Originally conceived as an outdoor recreation / boating shoe, they are now an international sensation with a devoted following who praise Crocs comfort and sunny spirit. Such phenomenal growth, and a bright future by all accounts, is certainly an exciting position to be in, but it brings some challenges nonetheless especially as Crocs, Inc.s volume continues to increase and their distribution expands to include Nordstrom, Dillards, JCPenney and other national retailers. One significant area of impact was Crocs EDI (Electronic Data Interchange) capabilities, an integral component in a companys infrastructure that allows electronic communication between companies in order to expedite business and automate processes such as purchasing, shipping and order tracking. Crocs had outsourced much of its EDI functions to a third-party provider, but this failed to provide the cost efficiency and flexibility the company needed as it continued its exponential growth. Many times, when a company experiences rapid growth, outsourcing its EDI functions become prohibitively expensive and makes adequate data integration with existing internal systems more difficult. In addition, growing companies need to be more flexible and responsive to existing trading partners and new customers something that can be hindered by outsourcing. The Need With reducing its EDI costs and improving efficiency, flexibility and integration the priority, Crocs determined that it needed to bring this function in-house. The company purchased an EDI software solution from Inovis, called BizManager, and sought ways to implement the program and integrate it with its new ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) system, JD Edwards (now called PeopleSoft and owned by Oracle). In order to ensure optimal results and long-term success from this investment in its infrastructure, Crocs engaged Avatar Partners to analyze its needs, recommend the best course of action and oversee its implementation. Avatar Partners, an Irvine, Calif.-based software systems integrator specializing in trading partner compliance, integration and supply chain optimization, came very highly recommended by Inovis and is one of the industrys largest implementation providers for Inovis BizManager. Avatar has provided resources experienced in mapping EDI trading partners on Inovis to meet our aggressive timelines, said Steve Wobschall, senior manager of ERP development at Crocs Inc. They were an excellent resource to supplement our internal staff here at Crocs.

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Avatar Partners worked hand in hand with Crocs internal team throughout each phase of the project, including discovery, analysis, development, testing and go live. The biggest challenge, according to Avatar Partners principal Marlo Brooke, was the concurrent implementation of both the EDI and ERP systems. Crocs needs were in a state of flux, and they needed the expertise of a team that knew both EDI and JD Edwards/Peoplesoft, as well as their internal business processes. Fortunately, that is one of our core competencies, and coupled with our deep understanding of the supply chain, we were able to deliver in a way that no other provider could. In order to meet Crocs current needs and accommodate continued growth in the future, Avatar Partners took what Brooke describes as a lean approach, meaning we do not assume what the problem and solution is from the outset. Instead, we go in with an open mind, ask the tough questions and find opportunities for return on investment or competitive advantages that we were previously unaware of. For Crocs, this meant creating an EDI architecture that was tightly integrated with their existing systems and new ERP software, while allowing reusability and inheritance within the new EDI environment. This approach gives Crocs optimal flexibility, especially as they anticipate doubling their volume of trading partners in the near future. It is also an efficient and cost-effective solution that greatly reduces ongoing maintenance needs on the EDI software, Brooke continued. Development, testing and implementation were conducted in such a way as to minimize the disruption to Crocs ongoing operations a critical factor for a company facing high volume demands. Development was initiated in a development partition of JD Edwards/Peoplesoft; once all testing was completed successfully, they switched to the production environment, allowing Crocs to work out developmental and procedural changes without disturbing existing trading partner relationships, and conduct a seamless migration to the new environment. The Results The results for Crocs have been immediate and measurable. The new system has helped streamline internal processes, reducing manual data entry and thus reducing the potential for errors. And flexibility with trading partners a key theme throughout the project gives Crocs the ability to integrate with a broader range of suppliers and customers and grow virtually without limits. Crocs can now use electronic commerce to trade on a global basis by supporting standards such as TRADACOMS, Edifact, X12, XML and other data formats. The new EDI environment was also designed to support Crocs eventual adoption of RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) for asset tracking and visibility, warehouse optimization and other software initiatives tied to optimizing their supply chain. Avatar Partners relationship with Crocs has helped ensure the companys immediate and future ability to respond to marketplace demands and keep the revolution of sunny, comfy, affordable footwear alive and growing for years to come. For more information contact Avatar Partners at (949) 622-5557 or visit www.avatarpartners.com

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