Mark Steggall, Head of Product Management at Kerridge Commercial Systems (KCS), explains how using a modern computer system can keep your suppliers on their toes and ensure your customer service remains outstanding.
Clear visibility of available stock - at any point in the supply chain - is crucial to enable a merchant to provide fast answers to customers about the availability and delivery of a product. Telling a customer, you’ll call him back about that special after you’ve spoken to your supplier may result in a lost sale when the customer calls someone else to find what they need.
Visibility of supplier stock within your ERP system is nothing new, but if you can only see products from a spreadsheet the supplier sent you last night, then you can’t be certain what the customer wants is still available. If there was only one box of tiles from a particular batch left last night, there’s a chance it won’t be there now, and you’ll still have to keep the customer hanging on while you make that call to check. We’ve addressed this issue for our K8 users with eCommerce technology to provide real-time visibility of what their suppliers hold so they can advise their customers in total confidence that what they want is available.
Of course, some suppliers will be unable to provide stock information in any format and subject to you having space may offer you consignment stock instead. Again this is nothing new, but it’s often a tricky process to manage. It takes time for a member of staff to carry out regular checks and report on what’s been sold, who supplied it, what’s still there, etc. Therefore, I recommend you choose a computer system that:
- Recognizes consignment products and their suppliers
- Tracks and bills usage
- Replenishes stock automatically
- Monitors supplier performance
- Shows the sales team each day's delivery availability
- Enables delivery drivers' devices to communicate with branch staff
Our K8 software is a fully integrated trading and business management solution already used widely in the merchant industry. It combines a suite of modules including sales order processing, forecasting and purchasing, finance, stock control, E-Commerce, business intelligence and delivery management.