Built For

Logo of Intuit QuickBooks, which works with Acctivate Inventory Software used by Jewish Educational Toys to optimize business operations
Acctivate Customer

Jewish Educational Toys

The biggest thing in Acctivate is the immediacy – the ability to take the order interactively with the person on the phone and by the time they hang up the phone, we’ve already emailed them a confirmation of their order. That process with our old system would be at least a day.”
Hershel Belkin
IT & Sales Manager
Jewish Educational Toys  toy assortment
Acctivate Inventory Software customer - Jewish Educational Toys

“The most unique thing about our company is the market – the flavor – of our products. The products are all created by us and we manufacture just about everything we sell,”

said Hershel Belkin, IT & Sales Manager of Jewish Educational Toys.

Jewish Educational Toys was created in 1984 to serve as a link between Judaic culture and educational toys, which had previously been missing.

“It was a niche market that wasn’t being addressed. When the company was started, there were no games, like board games on the market that had Jewish content for kids.

The principal founders of Jewish Educational Toys started with a couple of games and sold them out of their apartment themselves and the company grew from there to be one of the larger Judaic suppliers in terms of manufacturing suppliers.”

The company offers a wide array of Judaica games, toys, and products – some of which have become cherished staples in Jewish households around the world.

“The first games that came out were eagerly snapped up. Some of those games from the earlier years are still popular and still on the market – one such game is Kosherland,” said Belkin.

Jewish Educational Toys game

Timeless products, outdated system

“My background is in IT – I was an IT manager for over 30 years and I was in charge of software development for a lot of very large companies. When I came to Jewish Educational Toys, they were using a very antiquated, wholesale back-end package that in my mind was about 25 years outdated – it was very awkward to use. The system was a fairly popular package in its day but it didn’t take me too long to realize it was taking sometimes as long as a day just to get somebody a status on an order. Additionally, everything used to be on paper – people had to sit and pour through tons of paperwork to find everything.”

Belkin continued…

Jewish Educational Toys Menorah

“Each person had a copy of the database on their computer and they were never in sync. At the end of the day, each person had to email a copy of the database and somebody had to manually synchronize them every day. As soon as one person even in the same office made a sale, the other person in the office didn’t know about it and didn’t see it because it was only on their copy of the database until the end of the day.”

With his IT knowledge and background, Belkin began searching for an easy-to-use solution that would integrate with Jewish Educational Toys’ accounting software and put the company up to technological speed.

We needed something that would integrate with QuickBooks. The vice president of the company is the one who handles the books. He’s not an accountant but was familiar with QuickBooks and we didn’t want him to have to learn something completely different.
I investigated a lot of different packages that were out there but once I got to see what Acctivate could do, it was pretty much a clear choice. Acctivate seemed to me to be the only one that would handle our needs in terms of a wholesaler.”

Jewish Educational Toys Dreidel jeweled

Jewish Educational Toys has one location in Chicago for sales, marketing, and product development, and Jewish Educational Toys’ Pittsburgh location handles shipping, accounting, and warehousing.

What specifically appealed to me about Acctivate was the immediacy of it – the fact that it was centralized and everybody would be seeing the same thing. Our server is in Pittsburgh and we all connect to it remotely.”

Jewish Educational Toys Wooden Dreidels

Belkin continued on the decision to choose Acctivate…

The flexibility of configuring and making changes in Acctivate gave me a lot of hope that it would be able to be molded to what we needed. We haven’t looked back – it’s a wonderful product.”

Moving forward with Acctivate

Real-time information

My favorite feature in Acctivate is the ability to very quickly find information. We get a lot of phone calls and we get orders in different ways – we get faxes, emails, phone calls, and web orders.
When the phone calls come in, and they can be all over the world, we need to quickly be able to look something up whether it be the order, the price on a product, or the weight on a product because they want to know what the cost is going to be to ship this to the U.K. or something.
With Acctivate, when somebody calls and wants to know what’s happening with their order, we can immediately click and track and update them. It allows us to know what’s available, what’s on hand, what’s on backorder, and what’s on order with our suppliers.”

Jewish Educational Toys - Toy Sefer Torah

Matrix Inventory

Jewish Educational Toys uses Acctivate’s matrix inventory feature for managing products that have different variations.

Let’s say we have six different puzzles and they come in boxes of six and we may offer a discount at say 36 of one puzzle.
For smaller vendors or resellers, we offer an assortment of the puzzles where they can pick and choose which ones they want and they’ll still qualify for the same discount, so we’ll use Acctivate for that and when we’re taking the order, we’ll ask them which ones they want and how many of each.
Acctivate has allowed us to offer quantity discounts with assorted products so we’ve been able to serve some of the smaller customers a lot better. Previously, if we wanted to do that, we would have to put each product on separately and manually adjust the prices for each one to give them a price break because each product by itself wouldn’t reach the quantity required to receive the price break, but with the assortments it does.”

Jewish Educational Toys Wooden Puzzle
Jewish Educational Toys Puzzle

Sales to Order Fulfillment

Flexible pricing options in Acctivate allow for customer specific pricing, discounting abilities, and more.

Acctivate’s ability to have multiple pricing models and pricing per customer is also very important because some of our high volume customers get a discounted deal – we don’t have to figure that out, we can just configure it for the customer.”

Jewish Educational Toys Books

With real-time inventory information available in the same system used to manage sales orders, order fulfillment becomes a streamlined process.

The biggest thing in Acctivate is the immediacy – the ability on the phone to tell people whether it’s in stock or not, what the price is, what the price breaks are, and to take the order interactively with the person on the phone.
By the time they hang up the phone, we’ve already emailed them a confirmation of their order. That process with our old system would be at least a day.”

With the Shipping Workstation Interface, Acctivate integrates directly with shipping providers to further enhance order fulfillment.

Within the first couple of years after we got onto Acctivate, our busy season used to require multiple temporary employees to take, process, and pack orders and it used to be fast and furious. We used to have four phone lines going at once and people waiting.
Once Acctivate was in full swing here, I remember the first busy season we sort of looked to each other and said, ‘Are we having a bad year? What’s happening – the phones aren’t ringing much.’ And it turns out that our sales were the same or higher. Everything took place so quickly that we didn’t require so many temporary workers other than to pack orders but the processing and taking of orders so vastly improved that it never feels that busy anymore.”

Jewish Educational Toys Cookie Kit

Custom Reporting

In addition to over 70 standard reports, Acctivate’s integration with Crystal Reports® allows for fully customizable reports based on the specific criteria or content needed.

I’ve done a lot of customizing of the reports. For instance, our invoice that goes to the customer when we invoice them – it actually includes things such as UPC codes and tracking numbers, so customers can just click in the PDF file and go directly to track it on FedEx or UPS.”

Jewish Educational Toys Bead Set

Decision Support

We also use reports to analyze products and customers – which customers are buying which products, who are the top customers for each product, who are the top customers for the company. We analyze product sales over multiple years to see whether they’re increasing or decreasing and tie it to being in or out of stock of the product. We use that to make decisions of what products to reorder and keep and what products to phase out each year.”

Business Activity Management

Acctivate’s Business Activity Management feature allows for a vast amount of information to be stored and tracked, including all steps of Return Merchandise Authorizations.

“We use Business Activity Management for RMAs. We don’t get a lot of returns but certainly being able to track it with an RMA and being able to put all that information into the activity makes it extremely simple to know how to track it and know what to do with it. If somebody has a problem, we will not only track it that way but we will put a note as to what the problem was, what to do with a product once it comes back in and whether it’s defective or if it should be put back in stock and track.”

Belkin continued…

Jewish Educational Toys Plush toys

Once again we’re in different locations, so a product might come to the other location in the warehouse and the only other way another employee will know anything about it when it shows up will be to pull up the RMA number, which the customer puts on the package or on the return label. They’ll pull that up in Acctivate and know exactly what the situation is, what needs to be done, if they need to issue a credit, if the credit’s already been issued – it’s all tracked in the activity.”

Belkin explained how RMAs had been processed with their previous system…

How were RMAs being handled? It really wasn’t. People would send things back and it would take a week of back-and-forth phone calls, talking, trying to figure out what it was and where it came from and what we’re supposed to do with it. That was completely out of control, as was just tracking information.
Somebody would get an order and something was missing and they would call us. Somebody would have to go through piles of order forms to find it – that would take just an hour or so to thumb through it and find it and we’d have to try to figure out whether we short shipped them or packed it in something else or were out of stock– it took forever.
That’s obviously not the case now with Acctivate. Today, it’s in control and we know exactly what to do with it and it’s just been reduced to a few clicks.”

Jewish Educational Toys Stained Glass Kit

Business Activity Management offers notes, history, pop-up alerts, and more to provide vital information that is accessible to every Jewish Educational Toys user in the system.

We’re also starting to use the activities in Acctivate for planning new product development where we may contact multiple vendors, get quotes from them and keep track of artwork and artists that are working on things and we’ll keep product development using the activity.
Some products go part way down the development chain and then we cancel them and it’s good to track that as well – maybe we can’t develop them because the cost of manufacturing is just too high to be able to sell it at a decent price so we’ll have a note on that so when in four years, somebody decides, ‘Hey, I think this is a good idea!’, we can search and see we’ve already gone down that path and just update whatever may have changed.”

Customer Relationship Management

Emails can be sent and stored directly from Acctivate, and can also be linked to items such as business activities, invoices, and more.

I would say one of the biggest Acctivate features that we find useful is the email template – we’ve created quite a few of them including what I call ‘add-on’ templates. You select one template and if you want to tell customers for instance, that they have an overdue balance, you click on the add-on template and it adds that to their message.
There may also be an add-on template for a couple of our new products that just got in that they might be interested in seeing and so we just click on that one and rather than have to write emails to everyone, that saves us a tremendous amount of time and it gives us consistency that everyone gets the same message.”

Jewish Educational Toys Kippah

Comprehensive customer information can be stored to help manage customer relationships and sales activities.

We’re also using Acctivate to keep track of the larger chain stores we’re approaching. We sell to places such as Bed Bath & Beyond, Urban Outfitters, and TJ Maxx, especially seasonal merchandise. They’ll come to us and buy a selection of things that will go to various stores. The difference is there will be some of those companies that will have centralized billing but 20 or 30 different locations. The ability of Acctivate to also have that many shipping locations on a customer is great.”

Acctivate – a time-saver that’s been a great move

Acctivate has been a tremendous time saver and has given us tremendous ability to look at and analyze information and understand what products are doing what and what customers are doing what – that was something we had very little control over before. So it’s just streamlined the whole process of inventory and customer relations management.
There are a lot of other things we use Acctivate for and a lot of other things we do with it in terms of understanding the business. We check various marketing lists we’ve created so that we know whether somebody is a chain store or synagogue gift shop or whatever they happen to be.
We’re also able to credit and track sales reps for their orders. We process all credit cards through Acctivate, which is great. That used to be a big disconnect for us because they had to be processed through QuickBooks and somehow, relating that back to the old system, it was very difficult and now we process them all in Acctivate directly. So there are a lot of things we are able to do with Acctivate. It’s been a great move for us.”

Jewish Educational Toys Plush Dreidel
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