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Posted: 4/19/2010
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Primo Water Corporation Distribution Company Improves Efficiency, Visibility with Connected Business Solution

Primo Water Corporation is a leading supplier of bottled-water dispensers in the continental United States. The company has grown over the past five years, increasing the gallons of water it delivered by 20 percent in 2009. To continue this growth without adding headcount, Primo Water needed more automated business processes and easier access to accurate business data. The company was already using Microsoft Dynamics GP 10.0 and, after reviewing the enhanced features of Microsoft Dynamics GP 2010, made an easy decision to upgrade. Since the upgrade, Primo Water has identified multiple processes that it will shorten—some by days—and expects overall company efficiency to improve by 15 percent. In addition, employees can now access information stored in Microsoft Dynamics GP 2010 by using a variety of different business tools and can access information that is targeted to their role.

* When we generate a PO request, Microsoft Dynamics GP 2010 will automate the approval process.… With the solution, approvers will be able to use mobile devices to approve purchase orders immediately. The whole process will only take minutes. *

Mick Gunter, Senior Vice President of Operations, Primo Water Corporation
Business Needs

Primo Water Corporation is one of the leading suppliers of bottled-water dispensers in the continental United States. Primo Water customers can purchase water coolers at over 5,500 retailers or participate in a zero-waste, three-gallon or five-gallon water exchange program available at over 7,000 retail outlets.

For a company that focuses on the distribution and wholesale of products, enforcing business workflows that are seamless and streamlined is of the utmost importance to keeping costs low and providing excellent customer service. From its inception, Primo Water knew that its business infrastructure would be a critical component to enabling optimal levels of efficiency and insight.

“From the beginning, we made a conscious decision to be a Microsoft-centric company,” explains Mick Gunter, Senior Vice President of Operations at Primo Water. “When it came time to choose an ERP solution, we felt that supporting our business with Microsoft Dynamics GP would be the best choice.”

In 2005, Primo Water implemented Microsoft Dynamics GP 8.0 and upgraded when new versions became available. In 2009, as the company increased the gallons of water it delivered to customers by 20 percent, the solution continued to support operations. To maintain this growth, however, Primo Water needed to continue to eliminate manual steps that delayed business processes. In addition, the company had multiple databases that did not always synchronize. As a result, there were several versions of data and it was difficult to know if employees were accessing the most up-to-date information.


When Microsoft Dynamics GP 2010 became available, Gunter saw a great opportunity for Primo Water. “The decision to upgrade to Microsoft Dynamics GP 2010 was based on the features and functionality that go beyond what is available in the previous version,” he says. “Features that were most interesting to us included the improved business intelligence and reporting functionality, enhanced workflow capabilities, and closer integration with other Microsoft products.” 

Primo Water deployed Microsoft Dynamics GP 2010 in a test environment. Developers took advantage of built-in Web services to simplify the flow of information from mobile devices to the solution. And, because of the extended and enhanced workflows natively built into the solution, developers spent minimal time writing custom code to achieve the requisite business functionality.

“The entire upgrade process was seamless,” explains Gunter. “After just two weeks of running the solution in our beta test environment, we were live. And, in terms of user acceptance, employees were already proficient because of their experience working with Microsoft Dynamics GP.”


With Microsoft Dynamics GP 2010, Primo Water has identified many processes that will streamline tasks and the company has created a more connected technology infrastructure. In addition, employees enjoy better, more consistent insight into business information.

Anticipated Efficiency Gains of 15 Percent
Streamlining processes so that Primo Water can increase output without adding head count is a primary way for the company to boost revenues. Gunter estimates that, with Microsoft Dynamics GP 2010, the company will see overall efficiency gains of 10 to 15 percent and will shorten many individual processes by days.

For example, the company has more than 50 bottling facilities and 150 distribution and inventory sites across the country, so there are a lot of inventory transfers and raw-material procurements to track. With Microsoft Dynamics GP 2010, the workflow processes that Primo Water uses to manage the procurement, ordering, and approvals processes will be largely automated.

“When we generate a PO request, Microsoft Dynamics GP 2010 will automate the approval process,” explains Gunter. “This process previously took two or three days because we typically placed the request on an approver’s desk. With the solution, approvers will be able to use mobile devices to approve purchase orders immediately. The whole process will only take minutes.”

Automated alerts in Microsoft Dynamics GP 2010 are another tool that Primo Water will use to reduce time in its payables process. “Currently, our month-end close takes 12 days,” explains Gunter. “But by using alerts to remind employees to submit bills, we’re expecting to cut one-third of the time off our month-end-closing time.”

Connected Microsoft Ecosystem
Before Microsoft Dynamics GP 2010, Primo Water stored information in several databases. For example, inventory information from drivers who made deliveries was stored in one database that was not always synchronized with the company’s reporting databases, resulting in multiple versions of data. Now, Primo Water benefits from the improved integration of Microsoft Dynamics GP 2010 with other Microsoft software that the company is already using, such as Microsoft Dynamics CRM, Microsoft Office SharePoint Server, and the Microsoft Office system. “Multiple, different systems can access the data stored in our ERP solution, giving everyone an accurate, current picture of the business,” says Gunter.

For example, when drivers deliver products to stores, they enter this information into a Windows Mobile device. By using the eConnect tool, this transaction flows through Microsoft Dynamics GP 2010 and automatically creates three items: a receivable for the customer, a payable to the delivery group, and an inventory transfer and transaction so that inventory numbers are always correct.

In addition, the improved integration with the Microsoft Office system makes it easier and less time-consuming to exchange data with customers. “An increasing number of customers want their statements sent through e-mail,” explains Gunter. “Now, we can work directly within Microsoft Dynamics GP 2010 to create well-designed customer-facing documents and send them as an e-mail message to customers. This integration will help us reduce material and labor costs and will accelerate the process by 50 to 70 percent.”

Better Business Visibility
With the improvements in Microsoft Dynamics GP 2010, employees at Primo Water have gained more insight into day-to-day business operations. For example, by using the role-based dashboards, general managers at Primo Water have real-time visibility into their financials, such as profit-and-loss reports, at any time of the month. The company is also able to present targeted information for specific audiences with the solution’s extended business intelligence and reporting capabilities.

“We can use the Analysis Cubes to easily look at revenue by customer or create a profit-and-loss statement by customer,” Gunter explains. “Creating these reports was a three-day process, but now we can do it in just a couple of hours.”

Solution Overview

Organization Size: 75 employees

Organization Profile

Primo Water Corporation, a privately held company based in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, is the leading supplier of bottled-water dispensers in the United States.

Software and Services
  • Microsoft Dynamics GP 2010
  • Windows Mobile 6

Vertical Industries
Wholesale Distribution

United States

Business Need
  • Business Productivity
  • Financial Management

IT Issue
  • Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP)
  • Supply Chain Visibility and Collaboration
  • Supply Chain Planning and Execution