Hillel Zafir represents the smallest organization nominated to our list, EMI Yoshi, a $30 million maker of specialty plastic tableware for caterers, restaurants and schools.

In four years at the company, Zafir has led a migration from QuickBooks to SAP, where he was initially skeptical. “Great system, sure, but I said at that point this was not just something that you buy and implement, it’s a big solution that requires infrastructure.”

A series of RFIs and proposals from different vendors though, eventually brought EMI Yoshi back to the enterprise vendor.  “We went live in July, 2011 with ERP and immediately realized the value of a structured system that takes every process, defines it and gives an audit,” he says.

Though it is a small business, EMI Yoshi has far flung operations with an owned factory in China and an indirect sales force that works with big clients including BJ’s and PF Chang’s. “If a customer has a quote in the system for a large amount of product that has releases in six months, the replenishment team can talk to the factories about raw materials,” says Zafir. “The warehouses can see the shipments and if we’ll need more resources or space.”

The next logical step is CRM, set to deploy this year to give sales visibility into the supply chain to manage orders and advise customers and prospects with fresh information on their new iPads. Dashboards and more reporting will follow; another innovation was a new product line that kicked off with 18,000 fans in three weeks of promotion.

Zafir has helped several small companies advance their success with modernization and was nominated in part for his enthusiasm and passion for the power of small business entrepreneurship.

Quotable: “What you don’t capture can be lost and the iPad is a great tool where the interaction between the user and device is very intimate. Now sales reps don’t have to come back and remember half of what was discussed on a busy day. That, and arming them with fresh information, will make them even better.”

Read about the next 2012 honoree.

To read more about the 25 Top Information Managers, click here.

To view the slide show of all 2012 honorees, click here.

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