Software helps businesses improve efficiencies
Through Jacqueline Hinchcliffe WBe it estimating, inventory management or general lead generation or customer relationship management systems, software tools can go a long way in improving the operations of any flooring company.
With more and more consumers relying on the Internet to start their shopping journey – coupled with more retailers and distributors using technology to connect the dots – the need for proven software solutions has never been greater.
Following are some of the latest solutions software companies are offering to help users throughout the supply chain improve day-to-day efficiency.
US business software
American Business Software (ABS) has developed its own e-commerce platform called COLA (Customer Online Access). Used by retailers and distributors alike, the software is designed to provide 24-hour access to product inventory.
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This platform can show customers available stock, what stock is coming in, what they have ordered and when it will be delivered, among other useful information. According to Joseph Flannick, president, it is usually used specifically for the company’s customer base rather than a public e-commerce site. There are credentials provided by the distributor to the customer, which they use to access the platform and enjoy its benefits.
“The thing with software is that you can use it in a more productive environment,” explains Flannick. “You don’t have to be in the office, you can be anywhere.”
Measure Square has created a web-based floor calculator that retailers can host on their website, allowing online shoppers to accurately estimate their product quantity, using Measure Square’s pro-estimation software, to plan their budget. The calculator can be used for carpet, vinyl, tile, hardwood, laminate and more.
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Once you add the free web tool to a website by copying and pasting a single line of code to their web page, it can be accessed at any time. When opened, users click on a room shape or staircase to add it to the calculator and enter the correct dimensions. Users can then select the product type that allows the tool to calculate how much of the product is needed to complete the room. Users also have the option to send their calculations to themselves, via email, while also sending a copy to the retailer. At the same time, retailers are able to both engage their customers and generate a lead to bring them to their store.
“In this age of the Internet, home users are quite handy with online searches,” said Steven Wang, president. The software, he noted, helps them estimate their product usage to determine an estimated cost before going to the store.
By leveraging its internal reporting and interface with Tableau, Pacific Solutions can help dealers spot trends before deciding where and how to market. The purpose of the software is to map historical sales data so that the dealers can recognize these sales trends. After all, if a company doesn’t know what products to market and when to market them, how can they really successfully market to the target audience?
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Dealers can access Tableau through a web browser or mobile app. After they gain access to their platform of choice, Tableau gives them access to historical data within their company that shows which products are selling the most, how much of each product was sold, and when the most of each product was sold. Users can click on specific product types, such as LVT, hardwood, or carpet, to filter the data. This then isolates the data for that product so that the user can determine if it is a good product to market and when to market it.
“If a dealer has a poorly designed ERP system that doesn’t track or report its historical data, they have to cast too big a net to catch fish,” explains Bob Noe, president. “However, if they have a good ERP solution that can force their employees to keep track of data, then they can cast a much smaller and cost-effective net that delivers a much better return on their marketing investment.”
RFMS offers a suite of apps designed to meet customer needs in and out of the showroom. These apps allow the lead to be managed from the beginning to the end of the sales cycle.
According to Kaitlyn Harris, sales and marketing specialist, RFMS, this innovative ERP system has been adopted by all major purchasing groups and integrates seamlessly with each of their individual marketing needs.
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After starting an order in the RFMS CRM app, adding job details and product selections by room in the app, users can schedule the measurement date and time. This data is automatically added to the estimator’s or salesperson’s calendar in CRM or the user’s preferred calendar platform.
At this stage, the project is automatically generated in Measure Mobile, making added rooms and products visible through the task list. A floor plan can also be drawn with various drawing tools in Measure Mobile. After reviewing the project checklist and confirming the prices, the quote can be shared with the customer via SMS or email.
“If everything looks good, your customer can approve and pay for the quote on the spot by simply clicking the ‘Approve’ button and you will also receive a confirmation in CRM,” explains Harris. With the addition of these tools, the sale can be completed anytime, anywhere from a mobile device or tablet. “Once the quote is approved, you can create the order in CRM to close the sale,” Harris said.