Technology Continues to Expand Connections Between Dealer and SupplierBy Chad Ogden
Instant Stock Check, the versatile new B2B tool that allows flooring retailers to instantly check a supplier’s inventory, continues to saturate the floor covering industry. What began with a pioneering release from QFloors is now sweeping through mills, distributors and retail users.
Because of its role as the first to release this technology, QFloors currently works with more customers and suppliers using Instant Stock Check than anyone else, but others have and are coming on board quickly. In June of last year Shaw made it available to its customers. Mohawk is looking at a 2nd quarter release. Gartman software recently released their version live with BPI.
Dancik updated its beta software and announced a January 2014 general release to the following distributors: William M Bird, Virginia Tile, Tri West, RA Siegel, Ohio Valley, Louisville Tile, JJ Haines, Jaeckle, Interstate Supply, Galleher, Florstar, BR Funsten/Tom Duffy, All Tile, Adleta, and Buckwold.
Dancik has indicated that "go live dates" for each of these companies will be determined by each organization’s individual implementation timeframe.
Popularity of Instant Stock Check generates from its allowing a sales representative on a showroom floor---with almost any instrument (iPad, tablet, smartphone, laptop, etc.) -- to instantly check a supplier’s stock and see if there is enough inventory to complete a potential job.
Chad Ogden, CEO of QFloors, reports his customers already using Instant Stock Check in their day-to-day operations are very positive about its results. Jennifer Schmidt, Purchasing Manager for Nonns Design Showplace states:
“It allows us to be more customer friendly by providing a one-stop-shop for our sales staff. It makes us look better in the eyes of our customers. To be able to click on a button and have all of that information immediately available puts us at a level above competitors who don’t have it.”
She also reports that her employees love it and wished more suppliers would use it.
In referring to Instant Stock Check Ogden adds:
“Not only can you check the stock, you can determine that particular product’s related items and their availability (i.e., trim pieces, quarter rounds, glue, etc.) The sales staff doesn’t have to depend on memory or guesswork to know everything they need to complete the job. As any retailer will tell you, it’s very costly to have an installer on the job only to realize he doesn’t have the proper glue or the right trim. Instant Stock Check eliminates such costly mistakes.”
In addition, in companies who don’t yet use this industry game-changing software, a salesman will often have to leave a customer standing while he or she walks off the showroom floor to access a computer, then sit on hold on a phone call, or search through a website, trying to determine availability.
Through Instant Stock Check the sales rep can click on the product and instantly (hence the name) check stock from different suppliers without having to go to each of their respective websites. This empowers the salesperson to close the sale and schedule it on the spot. No more “I’ll get back to you,” or, even worse, having to call and tell the customer that there’s not enough stock to complete the order. The order can be finalized on the spot.
Watching clients implement and use the tool for over a year now, Ogden sees a direct impact on users’ bottom line profits. Reduction of overhead costs, elimination of mistakes, instant competitive pricing, and the ability to complete a sale on the spot are all contributing factors.