A plumbing and heating merchant had historically used a manual branch ordering process which involved faxing purchase orders to suppliers, something that was proving highly time consuming and prone to errors and delays. Its branches had no visibility on the fulfilment of orders from suppliers which meant that they had to continually chase by telephone.
Additionally, unrealistic delivery times were being set on purchase orders due to the lack of accurate information on supplier lead-times, so the business didn’t realistically know when to expect a delivery. The culmination of this lack of visibility and information sharing resulted in a disjointed, manually intensive and costly process and it was clear that the supply chain needed to ‘work smarter’.
Following detailed consultation, the merchant invested in an online system which enabled them to share real-time information across their branch network and with their suppliers, resulting in timely deliveries and significantly reduced manual intervention, and therefore costs. They can now analyse supplier performance as well as detect potential problems such as non-acknowledgement of orders, allowing corrective action to take place to safeguard onward orders and sales.