DecisivEdge was hired by a wholesale distributor of sign supplies to provide a business management solution tailored to its specific business needs and vision.

Challenge:

There are several ERP solutions available  in the market. However, only a few are tailored to the needs of the Wholesaler-Distributor segment. After assessing all of the options available in the marketplace, a mid-sized distributor of sign supplies in the Mid-Atlantic found that none of the off-the-shelf solutions met their very specific business requirements. They decided instead to engage DecisivEdge to custom-build a solution tailored to their business requirements and vision.

The solution needed to be modular, have powerful e-commerce capabilities,  freight rating and optimized routing capability to support an in-house truck fleet and third-party LTL providers, integrate seamlessly with a third-party cut-optimizer that helped customers decide exactly how much material to buy for a specific project, kitting and other fulfillment options, warehouse management functionality and full financials.

Solution:

The Solution (named FulVantage) is a B2B and B2C portal with order processing, warehouse management and financials.  The solution allows both individuals and distributors to register and manage their own credentials and access limits. This gives them the ability to peruse the products, get real-time pricing and available-to-promise information. An interactive tool enables the buyer to determine the specific mix of products they need for a given project and  quantity of each product they will need based on  the “cut optimizer”.

Orders can be placed on-line or called in.  Customer Service personnel also have the ability to take over an unfinished on-line order and complete it.

Once the order is placed, the products are picked and staged for optimized  cut created by the optimizer.  Orders are typically shipped within 24 hours for most customers within the distributor’s geography. This is enabled by the  optimized routing of the in-house truck fleet.  Order confirmations and invoices are electronic and automated.  The solution also has  Accounts Payable, Accounts Receivable and GL modules and can produce auditable financial reports.

Customer Experience:

FulVantage concentrates squarely on the customer experience. In addition to being a portal that is easy to use and rich with product specific details and real-time inventory levels, FulVantage allows customers to create a buying profile that helps fuel sales and  improve the customer experience. Self-service within the platform means customers can manage their purchases, re-orders, billing, and more, making them less dependent on inside sales reps and expensive contact center resources.  This also reduces the likelihood of shopper frustration, abandoned shopping carts, and lost sales. This cutting-edge customer experience goes beyond making a business relevant; it keeps customers interested in transacting business for the long haul.

Customizing for Multilevel Ordering:

When customers create a profile in FulVantage, the seller can establish tiered pricing, promotions and bundle items together making sales kits.  Simple e-commerce solutions are one-dimensional—they simply provide the ability to sell a particular item to a customer. However with FulVantage, sellers reward customers based on their purchase history and their current inventory levels.

Upsell and Cross-sell:

FulVantage has intuitive technology that allows customers to upsell and cross-sell based on customer profile information. From a simple shopping cart checkout suggestion, such as “others who purchased this item also purchased…”  to providing bundled discounts for items that are purchased together, FulVantage can be much more than just a source for ordering. It can become a robust research tool for customers. This functionality translates directly to higher revenue per order, lower costs per order – in the neighborhood of a $2 to $3 savings with each click – and increased overall sales.

Results

FulVantage was developed for The Harbor Sales Company, a  distributor of supplies and machining services. In the first year of using FulVantage, Harbor Sales grew online sales from 5 percent to 33 percent of total sales, reduced call­-center and back-office staffing by 15 percent and had a 10 percent increase in items per order.  According to Duncan Covington, President and CEO of The Harbor Sales Company, “FulVantage is way beyond any other business solution that’s out there today. It gives us insights into our customer relationships and an incredible array of tools to further develop those relationships and boost sales. Our customers are impressed and our employees are excited about the increased opportunities to make a difference.”

While the solution was originally developed for Harbor Sales, it has been adopted by other distributors to offer special promotions to increase online sales, decrease expenses, improve awareness of products and services they offer, manage inventory, optimize shipping activities, improve workflows and much more.

To learn more about our Custom Applications Development services, contact mike.frayler@decisivedge.com