It’s amazing how many distributors out there are afraid.
They acknowledge that having real-time visibility of inventory and having automatic inventory replenishment saves time, saves money, and prevents errors. But some distributors still tell me that they are afraid to give their customers a mobile inventory app that would replenish supplies from ALL suppliers.
They shouldn’t be.
Having and using a multi-supplier inventory replenishment app like eTurns’ TrackStock Manage is a win for everyone involved, for several reasons.
Distributors win because if all of a customer’s supplies, and where they come from and how often they are purchased, are visible in the app, the distributor can see what materials the customer is using – and what they are buying somewhere else. In many cases, distributors will learn about product needs they didn’t realize the customer had – needs the distributor might be able to compete for. The greatest growth opportunity distributors have is with existing customers. And the more you know about your customer, the greater your opportunity to gain additional business and potentially generate additional same-customer revenue.
Customers win because they now have the ability to replenish all the products in their stockroom or truck with ONE replenishment app. That advantage is a potentially enormous benefit for a contractor or the operator of a service truck. A single distributor cannot provide all material a contractor needs – that contractor has to purchase material from other sources. Which means there is inventory from multiple sources that needs to be tracked and replenished and a customer doesn’t want to have to use multiple apps from multiple suppliers to resupply their parts. In fact, customers have told us they would never use a replenishment app that wasn’t multi-supplier.
Second, the distributor offering TrackStock to the customer becomes a “free” procurement agent for the customer, constantly monitoring the items others supply and, when possible, offering their competing product on better terms.
Third, TrackStock makes the order process 10x faster for the customer than manual methods or e-commerce sites because the customer simply scans a barcode and taps to send the order or track consumption.
Which brings us back to one of the biggest benefits of a multi-supplier mobile replenishment app: When a distributor provides a customer a value-added service that makes the customer’s life easier and enhances productivity, that customer will be a lot more loyal, and a lot less likely to go shopping around for a new distributor.
By Rock Rockwell