2013 June - Meet Maped Helix US


Helix USA was a part of Helix International Ltd., founded in 1887 as The Universal Woodworking Company Ltd.  The original product range comprised wood rulers and laboratory measuring devices.  In 1894 the Helix brand became widely known with the invention of the patented Helix drawing compass.  Today in the US, Helix is widely known as the leading brand in drafting and school supplies.

In recent years Helix expanded their line to include a wide range of professional and art papers as well as security products: cash boxes, key safes, and home security and safety products marketed under the Helix and Home Safe brands.

In 2012 Helix was acquired by the French company, Maped Group SAS, a world leader in school and office supplies. Maped, founded in 1947, originally made manufactured brass compasses. In 2005 Maped USA opened in Atlanta and expanded their product line to include a wide range of school, office and drafting supplies. The acquisition of Helix by Maped was a perfect union. Integration issues included different ERP systems and different approaches to fulfillment. Helix was using Infor’s FACTS while Maped USA ran on SysPro Distribution. Maped corporate made the call to migrate all US operations to their own relatively newly implemented SAP ERP.

For fulfillment integration the Maped US inventory was moved from their California warehouse to the Helix 3PL warehouse in Joliet, Illinois.

With an ERP migration and new software in place Maped wanted to streamline business further. They wanted the ability to leverage staff for business development rather than day-to-day handling of usual business transactions. They wanted to replace the capital expenses of EDI/B2B software, hardware, license and maintenance fees with a business variable monthly fee. Even with automated and integrated EDI on their FACTS system, Helix staff spent time resolving inbound order exceptions and preparing outbound shipment details.

To meet these goals Maped Helix USA chose GraceBlood’s Managed Services solution for handling incoming and outbound EDI Transactions. Implementation for both prior entities to GraceBlood’s Managed Services cloud platform took place over 70 days concurrent with the SAP implementation. Given all the staff and business processes involved, across two continents, it was a team-building home run!

Integrated via IDocs, inbound orders now flow seamlessly without manual intervention to SAP concurrent with an easily read email attachment for reference.   Likewise, outbound invoices and ASNs flow, without human intervention, from SAP through GraceBlood Managed Services directly to Maped’s trading partners - the former from SAP as IDocs and the latter from the 3PL’s shipping Flat File.

Processes are automated; accuracy is improved; IT costs are reduced; and, best of all, the human staff is freed to address other projects and develop more business.

Before Managed Services, staff spent much time entering and verifying ship information including 20-digit UCC numbers, box label counts, and confirming the number of items shipped.  With the services of a third-party logistics (3PL) warehouse, Touchpoint Logistics in Chicago, Maped Helix USA staff are no longer bogged down with shipment labeling or preparing advance ship notices.

Shilpa Amin, Financial Accounting Manager, is thrilled with the Managed Services approach.  She says, “Moving in this direction at the same time the new ERP system was implemented was perfect timing and made everyone feel more modern.  Customer relations have improved as the whole supply chain has become more efficient.”  She appreciates having the time that used to be spent on EDI tasks to be able to explore new markets and be more creative in her job.

Maped Helix USA can now add new partner and document relationships for a small fixed fee while confidently saying “Yes” to the demands of trading partners, secure in the knowledge that GraceBlood will quickly make it so.



What GRACEBLOOD Clients are saying...

"They did a good job for us." 

Dave - Jonathan Green - Kearny, NJ