News

Ark Trading

"I was impressed with the dedication and knowledge portrayed by the Kerridge Commercial Systems team."

- Paul Koster, Managing Director of Ark Trading

Kerridge Commercial Systems (KCS) is pleased to announce that Ark Trading Namibia is live on K8. Ark Trading was established in 1980 and is one of the oldest suppliers to the building trade in Windhoek, Namibia.

Read the full story here.

BPX

"Our new website, with Web Builder, is a milestone initiative for BPX."

- Managing Director, Guy Collins

As a OneOffice user, BPX decided that Web Builder, with integrated e-commerce and back-office capabilities, was the most effective platform for the project. Given the size of the company’s product range, it was clear that this would be a complex project for BPX.

Read the full story here.

Tileflair

K8 enhances our efficiency so that we can provide an even better customer experience

“Our focus is on service, as reflected in our ‘Create something beautiful’ slogan. K8 has enabled us to enhance this, giving us access to a wealth of information at a single click.”

- Matthew Johnson, Managing Director, Tileflair

Tileflair’s initial need was for a system to handle inter-branch trading, to replace a previous system where processes were cumbersome. It was also looking for an IT partner that really understood the tile business.

It opted for a distribution system, rather than an EPOS product, and Kerridge Commercial Systems was chosen from five short-listed suppliers. The system went live in December 1998 and, in 2007, Tileflair upgraded to K8. Then, in May 2015, it upgraded to the system’s latest version.

Read the full story here.

Business Insight open day 2016

This week’s Kerridge Commercial Systems (KCS) Tile & KBB Business Insight event proved a big hit with guests, who gained valuable insight into how to prosper in today’s digital age. Speakers included Phil Crowshaw from The Geeky Group; Tileflair’s Matthew Johnson and Kay Porter, from The Tile Association (TTA). Mike Beech and Paula Hayter from KCS also kicked-off and concluded the agenda, before a lively QA session that continued into lunch.

Phil Crowshaw’s presentation included essential advice on how to be found on the web, with a focus on good content marketing that “cuts through the noise.” Matthew Johnson also shared his own experiences and his plans on how to stay ahead - with help from KCS.

Guests commented that the content was “really valuable and insightful” and that “it allowed me to stop in my tracks and focus on some really important issues which are shaping our industry, right now.”

“We are delighted with the feedback received from those that attended – and thank our guests and speakers for joining us in Leamington Spa. We are hoping to schedule further free Business Insight events later this year and would love to receive feedback on what guests would like to hear – and from those who’d like to share their own digital experiences,” commented Mike Beech, KCS product marketing director.

KCS is a key IT supplier to the tile and KBB industries. For more information, please contact marketing@kerridgecs.com or visit www.kerridgecs.com

Electro Tech

"We currently have to run multiple systems to manage the various aspects of our business. With K8, I will have one version of the truth." - Hardy Spoerer, Managing Director, Electro Tech

Electro Tech has been in operation since 1989 and is a wholesaler of quality electrical products. Their head office is based in Windhoek with branches in Prosperita, and Swakopmund.

Read more to find out why Electro Tech chose Kerridge Commercial Systems.

Dancik International lights up Las Vegas

The week of January 19-22 was a very busy week for Dancik International! Design & Construction Week® (DCW) featured the co-location of International Builders Show (IBS) and the National Kitchen & Bath Association’s Kitchen & Bath Industry Show® (KBIS). This year, DCW also included the International Window Coverings Expo (IWCE) and The International Surface Event (SURFACES). This mega-event, held in Las Vegas, brought together more than 110,000 builders, general contractors, remodelers, designers, flooring professionals, as well as product specifiers from around the globe. Dancik embraced the challenge and came out on top.

The week began with the International Builders’ Show. This was our first opportunity to introduce K8 to a large crowd in the North American market. The IBS team was led by our Senior Pre Sales Consultant and K8 expert. They stayed busy talking to potential customers, demonstrating the robust capabilities of K8.

SURFACES started one day after the start of the IBS show. The SURFACES team diligently presented Navigator demos during the 3 day event. Existing customers and new prospects were impressed with Dancik, our products and how we are moving forward. Dancik was well represented as a professional and progressive software company.

We all share a sense of pride in our accomplishments during Design & Construction Week®. Two Dancik teams, two trade shows, two new booths, new branding, a new product and more connections than we can count would have been a challenge for some but for Dancik it was a success.

Each team will continue to be busy at upcoming events and trade shows as we strengthen our influence in the flooring, tile, home décor and wholesale distribution markets.

Britain's Kerridge Commercial Systems brings K8 to America

By Craig Webb

One of Europe's biggest providers of software for the construction supply industry is using this week's International Builders' Show as the launch pad for selling its systems in the United States.

Britain's Kerridge Commercial Systems (KCS) will market its K8 software through Dancik International, a Cary, N.C.-based maker of software for flooring dealers that KCS acquired last year. COO Alan Cross says K8 is used by more than 700 customers in the European construction and building distribution industry, including the giant French firm Saint-Gobain. Collectively, K8 is in more than 5,000 branches and 70,000 users.

"We serve the majority of the largest suppliers in the United Kingdom," Cross said. "We naturally saw the opportunity when we acquired Dancik to bring K8 to the U.S. market. K8 is hugely successful in Europe, and we are confident it is a great fit for US distributors for their wholesale and retail operations."

KCS is the biggest of several software companies seeking to enter a market dominated to date by Epicor, DMSI, Spruce, and Ponderosa; a number of dealers also have written their own computer programs over the years. Cross said KCS already is used to competing with Epicor, the No. 1 provider to U.S. dealers.

Unlike other would-be competitors that are coming in from sectors like the auto parts industry, KCS is "100% focused on the distributive industries," Cross told ProSales during a Jan. 11 interview. Its integrated programs handle in-store sales, online sales, the processing of customer orders, financials, inventory management, and customer relationship management. Dealers can get K8 as a cloud-based system or install it on their servers. KCS also can manage a dealer's entire network if desired. KCS offers K8 for both rent and on a licensing basis.

U.S. operations for K8 will be run out of Dancik's headquarters in North Carolina, Cross said. A field sales staff is being put together now, and the company has begun looking for American dealers to test the software.

Craig Webb is editor-in-chief of REMODELING and PROSALES. Follow him on Twitter at @craiglwebb or @RemodelingMag. cwebb@hanleywood.com

FloorCoveringNews

Guest Column: Clear strategy, execution led to successful integration
January 18, 2016

Jan 18/25; Volume 30/Number 15

By Alan Cross

Four months after KCS Commercial Systems (KCS) acquired Dancik International, I am reflecting on the events that unfolded after the deal was closed. More than anything else, I am looking forward to a bright future for the business. We had a very clear strategy and plan that had to be executed from the first day post acquisition. In addition, we had a number of key objectives and time frames that we felt had to be achieved to make the integration of the businesses a success.

The first part of the plan included a relocation from the KCS corporate headquarters in Hungerford, United Kingdom, to Cary, N.C., the home of Dancik International. It was vital for us to have an executive presence here in the U.S. through the transition process that saw Mitch Dancik, founder, and owner of Dancik, and his wife, Thuy, slowly exit from the day-to-day business operations. Without a KCS presence, there was huge potential for a vacuum; we had to demonstrate our commitment to the people at Dancik, and that was our absolute first priority.

This focus on the staff included my one-to-one meetings with each of the 53 Dancik employees. It was insightful and important for me personally to meet everyone to give them a personal look at KCS, discuss our business plans and to listen to the feedback that I felt was crucial to create a new team dynamic and build trust.

To parallel the team integration, KCS wanted to ensure that existing Dancik customers had clear and unambiguous communication detailing the strategic vision for the business. The key messaging saw KCS committing to the long-term future of the Dancik Navigator product. The software is functionally rich and designed specifically for the floor covering distribution market. We did not hesitate in stating our clear intention to continue to develop, support and sell the product across North America.

Dancik customers have been supportive of the acquisition. This was underpinned by record attendance at the annual Dancik user conference, Connect 2015, held over two days in October last year. KCS CEO Ian Bendelow opened the event which showcased the new rebranding of Dancik in line with KCS.

Connect 2015 was a huge success, and it was clear the customers were extremely positive about the future prospects of working with the new Dancik. We were able to highlight our product roadmap, have senior level discussions with a number of our customers and also showcase the opportunities to introduce new product modules available today from KCS, which will further support customers in achieving their business objectives.

Looking toward the future, I am excited about the prospects for the Dancik brand in North America. We have invested in the team, adding more resources to support growing customer demand. We have published our product roadmap for Navigator and all ancillary modules and launched its K8 software solution focusing on construction (building supplies, electrical and plumbing wholesalers and lumber) distributive trades that underpin the main customer base in Europe.

We have acquired a great business with a proven product and a bright future. We have inherited an amazing group of software professionals who are committed to supporting our loyal customers.

“The system has improved customer processes, operational efficiency and productivity” - Ryan Cairley, Project Manager, LSK Supplies

LSK chose our K8 system to support future growth, by implementing a cloud based system to minimize IT overheads. This has benefited them by providing:

  • Greater efficiency and productivity
  • Improved customer processes and service levels
  • Significant gains from digital signature capture
  • Real-time management information

Read the full story here.

IAAF

We are pleased to announce that we are now members of the Independent Automotive Aftermarket Federation (IAAF). The IAAF started trading in 1930 as the only trade association for the automotive aftermarket. Their aim is to “promote all aspects of the aftermarket and support every part of a member’s business and provide beneficial services.”

We are looking forward to working with the IAAF and all its members.

Howarth Timber celebrates 175th anniversary

At the flagship event at the Leeds United Conference Centre, Howarth Timber set up a live K8 system linked to their remotely-hosted server. Customers who attended the ‘Trade Day Bonanza,' were able to buy from a specially-created and priced catalog of 1000+ products and either collect them on the day or have them delivered by their local Howarth branch.

Successful planning and execution

The key to the event’s success was the support from Howarth’s suppliers, who not only provided an impressive showcase exhibition for visitors but arranged for stock to be delivered to Elland Road especially for the day, essentially on a sale or return basis. Paul Cornford, Group IS Manager, said, “This was a major project with lots of preparatory work for our branch team to set up the ‘event branch,' but from an IT perspective, everything ran perfectly. Although we had a 4G backup facility, which was thoroughly tested in advance, connections to our hosted server worked very well throughout the event. Our sales counter terminals and the Wi-Fi terminals located around the exhibition area delivered excellent and seamless performance that was easily comparable to our branch operations. In short, we have proved that K8 can be used in pop-up shop environment – a reusable model for the next time.”

Commercial success

The event, held on the 13th November, was attended by more than 1,200 trade and retail customers. Throughout the day, there was a real buzz in the conference center, the supplier stands were kept busy, and clearly, the special offers proved very attractive. There was plenty of advice on hand from the suppliers’ staff and the Howarth team, manning the adjacent Wi-Fi terminals, completed customer orders for collection or delivery. For customers without an account, credit card facilities were provided with PIN machine connections.

Kerridge Commercial Systems CEO, Ian Bendelow, said, “We were delighted to support this landmark event for Howarth Timber - the first time that K8 had been used on such a scale in a ‘pop-up’ shop environment. Our team that attended confirmed that K8 ran very well - all credit to Howarth for setting things so successfully, managing the complex logistics and providing a great opportunity for their customers and suppliers alike.”

Howarth online

In addition to the event’s trading operations, Howarth also used the opportunity to showcase its fully responsive online store which, integrated with K8, is growing in popularity amongst customers. Marketing Manager, Neale Brewster, said, “Our online store, launched in the Spring, is designed to complement branch operations - meeting the needs of customers who might want to shop outside of opening hours or merely to order online for fast collection. It is proving to be a very important facility, and although we continue to maintain personal contact with our customers, there’s a growing need to offer 24/7 access to stock and self-service operations.”

About Howarth

Celebrating 175 years of trading in 2015, the Howarth Timber Group has grown to provide not only the widest range of products but expertise, service, and knowledge that can be relied on. Now the UK's largest privately-owned timber company, its origins can be traced back to 1840 when it commenced trading as Hudson & Co. Over the years the Howarth Timber Group has expanded from a one man company to an employer of more than 1,000 people specialists who know the industry inside out.

Today, the Howarth Timber Group encompasses a network of 29 timber and builders' merchant branches geographically spread across the country, complemented by dedicated manufacturing divisions supplying class-leading windows and doors and highly specialist timber engineering products and services. The group has achieved Chain of Custody certification covering all divisions, proving compliance with government specifications for lumber sourced from legal and well-managed sources. The accreditation also confirms that the company meets the requirements of the construction industry's independent third party audit organizations.

Key Facts

  • 175th Anniversary event required set up of special ‘event’ branch
  • Catalogue of 1,000+ products created
  • Stock delivered, booked in and ready for sale
  • Communications links thoroughly tested in advance
  • Systems “performed perfectly”

Dancik CONNECT 15

Dancik International, a US-based Kerridge Commercial Systems (KCS) company, recently hosted their 2015 CONNECT user conference at The Cary, North Carolina. With more than 100 delegates representing nearly 50 customers, CONNECT 15 was a great success by every measure.

CONNECT 15 was used to introduce KCS to the Dancik customers and to share product strategies. Customers took the opportunity to play an active role in the event by providing crucial feedback both individually and as a group, networking with other Dancik Customers and, most importantly, having some fun along the way!

Mitch Dancik, founder of Dancik International, opened CONNECT 15 with the rationale behind the recent acquisition of Dancik by KCS. This was followed by an introduction to Ian Bendelow (KCS CEO): Ian outlined the history of KCS, their market profile, and their typical customer base.

The two-day event comprised a series of presentations, breakout sessions, and demonstrations. Speakers and topics included; Alan Cross (KCS COO) who presented what Dancik have delivered over the past 12 months and their future plans, including a published and accessible roadmap via the Web and the potential to introduce other KCS Products into the Dancik portfolio, such as Web-Builder, K-Print and an interface to K8 GL financials.

Mark Mashewske shared the Dancik product roadmap and a prototype of the new Customer Relationship Management (CRM) product. David Anderson and John Gulas highlighted ways customers can save money and run a more efficient warehouse, and Marie Sutherland encouraged attendees to consider if they are leaving money on the table by not fully leveraging their existing technology investment.

The highlights of the program were Dancik customers sharing their success stories. LuAnn Doyle from Ohio Valley Flooring advised on implementing Navigator. George Young from TranSouth Logistics talked about their success with Integrated Warehouse Management System (IWMS). DJ Lee from Professional Flooring Supply shared his experience with the benefits of using Sales Portal. Jeff Dudzik from Virginia Tile shared tips for encouraging a culture that embraces change and drives for operational improvements.

An extremely popular event was The Navigator Order Challenge! Delegates could compete against each other to post the fastest time to place an order through Navigator. Congratulations to Tina Boyle from Louisville Tile Distributors who won the challenge, entering her order in less than 30 seconds!

“At Dancik we are continually looking to build our relationships with our customers, developing our solutions and services in line with their needs. Customer conferences, like this one, help us to facilitate that. If our customers are going to take time out of their extremely busy schedules, it was vital that their interests were at the heart of the event. I believe this factor, combined with the desire by our customers to maximize the opportunities and potential of their IT investment, led to the fantastic turnout and all-round success of the event,” said Mitch Dancik.

Dancik CONNECT 15

Elta Automotive Opt for the Cloud

Kerridge Commercial Systems (KCS) is pleased to announce that Elta Automotive have decided to migrate their K8 system to a KCS hosted service.

Elta is a major component distributor based in the West Midlands and holds the UK license for the renowned Lucas Electrical brand. Established in 1993, Elta supplies motor factors and trade customers across the globe, operating from its large, central warehouse in Coleshill. The company’s stock holding includes more than 5.5 million components and a product range of over 15,000 lines.

KCS hosted service offers customers 99.5% availability in centralized data centers, with KCS performing all system administration and management including data backup and restore.

Leading the project management from Elta, Stuart Poole commented “We were keen to move to a hosted solution to improve our disaster recovery capability. It also means that we do not need to worry about maintaining the hardware, leaving us to focus on more strategic IT initiatives.”

Stuart also commented on the affordability of the solution “Once we factored in all of the direct and indirect costs of maintaining a server, we realized that there wasn’t a major increase, yet we would be getting much better service and level of business continuity.”

KCS provides a full-range of hosted and managed services, from hosting a customer’s own hardware, all the way through to providing a full SaaS offering. Many of KCS’s customers are moving to the cloud, and the majority of new customers are now opting for SaaS where their K8 software and all hardware can be paid for monthly by the number of users. See our website for more details.

TBG

We are pleased to announce that Kerridge Commercial Systems are now members of the Timber Buying Group (TBG). Founded in October 2013 it is the industry’s first category focused purchasing initiative. TBG works with a number of partners to provide members with support and advice beyond the purchasing. We are looking forward to developing a strong partnership with TBG and its members.

More about TBG here.

More about K8 here.

Automotive Open Day

Join us for our free Automotive Open Day on May 18, 2016 at Prested Hall in Colchester.

We will be covering a number of topics, including document scanning, mobile working, warehouse control and much more.

EW Awards

Kerridge Commercial Systems (KCS) will be attending the 2016 EW (Electrical Wholesaler) Awards on Thursday, May 12, 2016, at the Park Plaza Roverbank in London.

KCS provides K8, the integrated business management system specifically designed for the electrical distribution industry.

For more information about us or the event, please contact: marketing@kerridgecs.com

TTA Awards

Kerridge Commercial Systems (KCS) will be attending the TTA Awards May 14 at St John’s Hotel and Conference Centre in Solihull.

KCS provides K8, the market-leading trading and business management solution designed for the tile distribution industry.

If you would like any additional information before the event, please contact marketing@kerridgecs.com.

R.L. Wurz

HOUSTON — Mincron is delighted to announce that new customer R.L. Wurz Company has gone live on SmartDistributor 12.1!

R.W. Wurz, a leading construction materials distributor based in Cleveland, spent several years researching distribution software before selecting Mincron as their software solution partner. President Tom Lavelle said, “The two primary reasons we selected Mincron were their system excellence in the distribution industry and the quality of their people.”

R.L. Wurz offers a complete selection of specialty caulk, sealant, waterproofing, concrete and masonry products from top manufacturers. Its primary customers are contractors, architects, engineers and property managers. The company stays on the leading edge with the latest in products, LEED certifications, green building technology and warranties — and now the SmartDistributor fully integrated distribution management solution!

Mincron’s core solution, SmartDistributor, is a full ERP system that gives distributors the tools they need to most effectively manage, monitor and analyze all aspects of their business. Those capabilities maximize distributors’ efficiency, productivity and service — and ultimately, their profitability. Lavelle believes that Mincron’s solution will provide significant opportunities for the company.

R.L. Wurz was founded in 1933 by Ray L. Wurz, who was a pioneer in developing porcelain steel buildings and, despite the business conditions of The Depression, was able to build engineering systems while establishing a network of suppliers and customers. In the late 1950s, General Electric proposed that R.L. Wurz — their largest customer in Ohio — begin distributing its silicone sealants. That was the beginning of the company’s distribution business.

Lavelle, who had built a solid reputation in the construction supply business in Ohio, acquired the company in 2010. Since then, R.L. Wurz has opened locations in Cincinnati and Columbus, Ohio, expanded their sales force and brought on additional product lines. Much of their growth is credited to Lavelle’s commitment to customers.

They also built a large new warehouse that was designed to improve shipping/receiving efficiency and grow their inventory to better serve customers. SmartDistributor’s warehouse management and inventory control solutions will be instrumental in furthering those initiatives.

Mincron’s highly experienced team thrives on developing new, more efficient methods for distributor to perform routine tasks. These innovations give distributors new avenues for economic growth and competitive strategies for their company’s futures.

“Service First” is the philosophy that the Mincron staff has in dealing with customers. It begins in the initial planning stages and consistently continues going forward. Customers are not just a number; each customer has a dedicated support team that knows them and their businesses.

The staff at Mincron also knows how to listen. Much of their new product development is done as the result of customer roundtables or special requests. That’s why they are proud to say that Mincron is Distributor Driven, by Design.

Cloud Computing

When implementing ERP software, one of the most important questions to answer is where you would like your system to be hosted.

So why choose cloud computing? With one report suggesting that investment in SaaS and PaaS portion of cloud hardware and infrastructure software is projected to reach $55 billion by 2026, the cloud is an option that can’t be ignored.

What is cloud computing?

Cloud computing is the delivery of hosted services over the internet, rather than in-house (your own premises). Although cloud hosting is seen by many as a recent phenomenon, its beginnings actually date back to the late 1950s.

What are the advantages of cloud computing?

Cost – Unlike on-premise solutions, there are no large up front capital costs. Instead, users typically pay by month or user and only pay for the resources that you require as a business.

Flexibility – Over time your computing capabilities need to both increase and decrease for a variety of reasons. With cloud, you can scale both up and down depending on your requirements. Ideally, you want a cloud solution that is scalable from 5 to 10,000 users.

Better application delivery and management – According to an Aberdeen Group Study, 71% of businesses that implemented cloud solutions have experienced easier application management, and 45% of them are enjoying faster application deployment. If you are a company that is likely to need to run a large number of applications at once, then cloud is the answer.

Compliance – As a business, there is a great deal of rules and regulations that you must adhere to, (like data protection for example.) When running systems yourself, the responsibility lies with you to comply, but with cloud, service providers are likely to have teams in place to manage this for you.

Concentrate on running your business – Monitoring your IT systems on-site is both time consuming and expensive when you have a business to run. A cloud service provider takes this inconvenience away from you and is on hand to offer practical and useful advice to keep your IT infrastructure working as efficiently as it can.

Whatever the size of your business, you can be sure that an investment in cloud technology is a positive step for your business.

Dancik International, part of the Kerridge Commercial Systems (KCS) Group of companies recently hosted the CONNECT 2016 user conference in Cary, NC. Nearly 100 delegates participated making Connect 2016 an engaging, interactive and a hugely successful event.

Alan Cross, KCS Executive Vice President North America, shared the company’s strategic vision while Dancik experts presented informative product updates. Jeff Dudzik, Senior Business Analyst/Project Manager for Virginia Tile, Michael Sanders, Director of Transportation for TranSouth Logistics and Doug Wilcox, Vice President of Supply Chain, Logistics & IT for SHNIER shared their experiences implementing and using Dancik products. Dancik experts were available throughout the conference to provide answers to specific questions.

CONNECT 2016 provided fun along with the learning opportunities. Attendees competed to reach the top of the leaderboard in the Navigator Order Challenge. Lisa Houston from Ohio Valley Flooring raced to the top of the leaderboard to win a Yeti cooler. Day 1 of the conference was complete with a mind-boggling stage performance by Joshua Lozoff, Mentalist, and Magician.

Attendees commented the best part of CONNECT 2016 was the ability to communicate, interact, and brainstorm with other Dancik users. Everyone went home looking forward to coming back next year. The 2017 conference will take on a slightly different look and feel as Alan Cross announced and new location and format. The 2017 conference will be held in New Orleans, LA and will host all KCS North America customers in a joint conference for Dancik and Mincron customers. Mincron, based in Houston, TX, was recently welcomed to the KCS group of companies.

At KCS, Dancik, and Mincron we are continually looking for opportunities to build stronger relationships with our customers. Our 2017 conference promises to be even more successful than CONNECT 2016!

Connect 2016

Dancik Connect brings together industry thought leaders for two days of interacting with customers providing more opportunities to learn, network and take back new ideas to drive continuous improvement.

Although the Internet and social media have improved communication and collaboration, there is still nothing like face to face participation and interaction. Dancik Connect is the best opportunity to meet with industry leaders, Dancik management team and staff and peers to discuss features, functionality, and best practices.

Dancik Connect will be full of highlights including updates and enhancements, strategic guidance, tips and tricks, networking opportunities and much more, all focused on helping our customers get the most from their Dancik software investment.

CONNECT

Meet fellow Dancik users and experts to discuss best practices for applying the tools you use each day to run your business.

DISCOVER

Hear techniques practiced by some of the most experienced Dancik users and return to the office with ideas for improving productivity.

INTERACT

Again, this year we will include a vendor showcase and a lab where you can get one on one time with system experts.

Connect 2016 sessions will appeal to a variety of attendees such as IT Managers/Directors, Operations Managers/Directors, Business Analysts, Executives and others who have an active role in using or supporting your DES, Navigator or K8 implementation. Attendees last year included representatives from Customer Service, IT, Purchasing, Operations, Warehouse, Inventory and Accounting functions.

4 Ways to Improve Your Warehouse Layout Design

Having an efficient warehouse layout, (alongside a fully integrated warehouse management system) could be the difference between processing your customers’ orders quickly or not.

In this article, we are going to give you four warehouse layout design tips to ensure that you can get the most out of your warehouse space and give your customers the best service possible. Your employees will also thank you for making their jobs easier.

1. Choose the right racking to suit the size of your warehouse

The size of your building and its structure will directly impact what type of racking system you should be utilizing in your warehouse.

According to leading supplier of warehouse commodities, Workplace Products, you will need to identify:

  • The correct pallet size(s) for your operation
  • Decide what storage racking and handling system to use
  • Choose which vehicle is best for each operation
  • Work out the space needed for receipts and dispatch areas, supporting areas & facilities

Getting these questions right is key to you achieving optimum picking efficiency, cross docking and container handling.

2. Design your warehouse to be safe and make life easier for your staff

Ensuring that your warehouse is safe not only means fewer accidents and increased costs to you as a business; it also helps your operation to run more smoothly and efficiently.

In a previous blog post about warehouse safety, we discussed how by designing your warehouse to minimize the amount your staff has to bend, reach and twist can help them work better, without the risk of injury. Ensuring that your inventory does not need to be moved more than once can also help.

3. Ensure that the space in your warehouse is used effectively

With so much to fit into a warehouse, it is not only essential that you use all of the space you have but also use it in the most effective way possible.

The Whole Building Design Guide divides the different areas of a warehouse into these categories:

  • Storage Space: To store goods and materials
  • Office Space: Can include meeting rooms, reception, and mail rooms
  • Loading Docks: For shipping and receiving goods
  • Light Industrial Space: Use for the processing of materials
  • Computer Centers

Only include areas that are absolutely essential to the running of your business. Underused areas could be used for other, more productive parts of your warehouse.

4. Invest in warehouse management software

It cannot be overstated how important warehouse management software is in getting the most out of your new warehouse layout.

If you have five or more warehouse operatives or manage a significant amount of stock, a WMS can have a hugely positive influence on your business. You should choose one that:

  • Optimizes the flow through your warehouse
  • Deploys hand-held technology
  • Automates processes such as goods receipt, putaway, replenishment, stock movement, pick and stock counts
  • Manages the capacity of your warehouse and ensures accurate visibility of all inventory

All these features in conjunction with an effective warehouse layout will ensure that you get the maximum productivity from your staff.

How to update your warehouse and stock efficiently.

Despite its importance to the distributive trades, and its potential to support strategic growth, the warehouse is the part of the business that is most likely to have a legacy manual and paper-based processes. A 2014 study shows that 35% of prospective buyers of Warehouse Management Systems (WMS) are still using manual methods. This can be time-consuming and create inefficiencies, and it may also be risky; human error can lead to mistakes in picking, shipping, or replenishment, which can result in failed deliveries, payment disputes and, ultimately, unhappy customers.

And it is not just manual warehouse systems that need updating. The same study showed that

  • a further 17% of businesses were struggling with existing proprietary systems that were not scalable, or couldn’t be updated
  • and 17% more were using non-specialized software, that was missing the features they needed, or couldn’t be configured to meet business needs.

So it is no surprise that warehousing is changing fast. A report by Motorola predicts increasing automation and mechanization in warehousing in coming years:

  • Warehouses using manual inventory counts will drop from 41% in 2013 to just 13% in 2018
  • Use of WMS on real-time mobile devices will increase from 32% in 2013 to 65% in 2018

How to stock efficiently

Warehousing is complex, and there are many ways things can go wrong. All too often, supplies arrive with poor labeling, products are put away incorrectly, operations are disrupted by manual cycle counts, and carriers wait idly for shipments that aren’t ready. However, the focus for warehouse operations has traditionally been on efficiencies and error reduction in order picking, which overlooks the potential to make improvements throughout the process, from receiving through to shipping. As such, many current systems do not meet the challenges faced by a modern distributive business, which requires:

  • Control of inventory, end-to-end, and across multiple locations or branches. This enables you to manage stock levels and ensure delivery to customers, while also keeping control of margins.
  • Tracking of items from receiving from suppliers, through sales and order processing, picking, delivery, returns, and accounting. This will reduce manual processing, and the associated risk of error and enable you to keep customers accurately informed about their orders.
  • Management of the space of the warehouse, to ensure stock can be put away, found and picked most efficiently, and to maximize operators’ time.
  • Visibility of management information to understand where problems are arising, implement improvement initiatives and track the success of changes. This will enable you to progressively and continually improve your processes and to get more from your existing resources and your investments in warehouse technology.

Efficient stocking solutions

Forward-thinking companies now consider that the warehouse has the potential to be transformed from a cost center to a growth center. The first step in this revolution is to get your warehouse in order with an up-to-date, specialized, trading and business management system, which will ensure that you are competing with the best in the business. The technology that is driving change does not stand still. With 1 in 5 bigger companies already using RFID (radio-frequency identification) and the use of drones in inventory management just around the corner, you need to ensure that you are ready to face the future of warehousing.

If you know how to update your warehouse and stock efficiently, your business will be on a very good footing to have a profitable future.

The Ronald McDonald House of Durham offers a comforting home away from home and a community of support for seriously ill children and their families. Their programs provide families with the comforts of home – private bedrooms, inviting community spaces, home-cooked meals, and a stocked kitchen, a playroom, computer room and laundry facilities – as well as a network of support through interactions with other families, staff, and volunteers.

Dancik International employees were honored to spend Friday, June 17 supporting the families staying at the Ronald McDonald House of Durham. Teams of volunteers prepared meals, cleaned and organized the facility and entertained children with games and activities. There was not a dull moment as volunteers engaged with amazing families.

Special thanks go to the Ronald McDonald House staff for creating a wonderful environment for families and volunteers. Dancik looks forward to more opportunities to become involved in the community.

Genesee Tile is a wholesale distributor and retailer of tile, flooring material and carpet. Genesee Tile is a family owned and operated business for more than 40 years, first opening for business in 1973.

Go Live – Navigator and Selection Sheet Manager

Genesee Tile

Genesee Tile completed installation and go live on Navigator and Selection Sheet Manager. This is the 2nd of two companies in the Genesee Tile umbrella to go live with Dancik. Genesee Tile, the flagship of the two companies previously used Profit21 as their ERP. Genesee Tile operates branches in Burton, Kentwood, Farmington Hills, and Sterling Heights, Michigan.

BJ Cokley stated, “We have been looking forward to this for two years.”

By deploying Navigator and Selection Sheet Manager, Genesee Tile will increase operational efficiency while providing enhanced service to their customer base.

Omni-Channel Customer Service

No matter how you and your customers contact each other, via your website or e-commerce site, through telesales or phone calls to branch stores or head office, via your trade counter or retail store, or on email or social media, your customers want the exchange to be consistent, personal and intelligent.

Omni-Channel Commerce: What Goes Wrong?

This 2016 survey of more than 1700 consumers in the UK and mainland Europe, the US and Australia shows that 98% use more than one channel to engage with suppliers, with the average number of channels being 5.6. A third use more than seven channels. However, only 24% of these consumers had seamless experiences; the rest reported challenges in switching from one channel to another.

While the survey respondents were customers of telecoms, financial services, and insurance providers, these issues are no less real or important for suppliers in the distributive trades.

Key challenges that frustrate customers include:

  • Inconsistent information: for example, product codes on the website do not match those in the printed catalog. Telephone sales staff are not aware of an offer that was made via an email campaign.
  • Information, actions or account history do not transfer between methods; for example, telesales staff offers a discount that doesn’t appear when the order is placed later online. A customer wants to use the e-commerce site to duplicate an order that was originally made in person via the trade counter, but only the online order history shows up.
  • More than one sales person works on the same issue: for example, a customer places a complex sales order including work orders that need to be fulfilled. When the same customer calls back with another instruction, they have to repeat all the original details to a new sales person.

The research revealed the top five omnichannel customer service experiences that customers enjoy are:

  • My issue is resolved immediately (51%). Customers do not want to wait. However they have chosen to approach your company, there is something they need, and it is likely to be preventing them from getting on with their business. Resolving their issue immediately may be as simple as having the right information on your e-commerce site. This means not only ensuring that the site is up to date at all times, but also structured so that the information can be easily found.
  • The rep already knows what I need and provides me with an immediate solution (49%). While your sales staff cannot actually be clairvoyant, they can appear to be if they have access to up-to-date, detailed customer information, such as account profile and order history, responses to marketing campaigns, credit information, personalized offers and discount information and targeted upselling and cross-selling suggestions.
  • The rep knows what I already did in a self-service channel (42%). This requires you to take a customer-centric view of all activities, not a product, branch or sales centric view, and it requires customer account information to be updated in real-time.
  • My information/actions are forwarded from department to department (42%). So accounts are aware of a returned order, and don’t invoice for it; marketing are aware when the key decision maker changes role; delivery drivers know when customers have introduced a new goods received procedure.
  • My routine needs are answered proactively (40%). You proactively contact customers when you are aware of a problem before they have a chance to contact you. You remind customers about a quarterly order – and proactively check whether they want a duplicate order for their new branch. You proactively email a quotation before the customer has got off the phone.

Combining these experiences with a reliable and fully integrated ERP system, you will be able to offer your customers the best service possible.

Warehouse Management

Managing your warehouse in a cost effective and efficient way is one of the key components of a successful business.

That is why our most recent version of K8, K8 Babbage, is our most comprehensive and reliable release to date. As with our other modules, our warehouse management software can assist you in achieving effective warehouse management.

What are the key features?

  • Products can be picked on a handheld device. This means that you can react to your customers’ orders without reliance on paperwork. This is much quicker and more efficient and therefore means you give your customers the best service possible.
  • Easy to use and intuitive. The K8 software has been designed to make it as easy as possible for you to manage the stock in your warehouse.
  • Anytime anywhere access - Chrome-based browser access allows you to use tablets and a wide variety of desktops to access vital information. This allows you to look at up to the minute information wherever you are and make informed decisions based on the data. This is a tricky one because browser client does not support WMS apart from the ability to view data.
  • Links with other K8 modules – Like the rest of K8, the WMS module is fully integrated with our other modules meaning that you can keep tight control over your stock, sales, purchases, movements, and replenishments in your warehouse and different branches.
  • Improved warehouse management putaways – To save you time, the system can allocate your products automatically to your storage bins. It uses the physical attributes of your products and your storage bin to calculate this. You can also change the destination bin and number on LPN labels yourself manually if required.

What can it do for your business?

The highly advanced software can assist with your stock and returns; shipping and receiving; putaways, picking and pick-face replenishment.

It can also work cross-dock and across bulk stores and accessed on handheld devices to facilitate efficient management throughout your warehouse space.

Denver Hardwood

Denver Hardwood Company is a wholesale distributor of hardwood flooring and installation products serving the states of Colorado, Kansas, Nebraska, and Wyoming. The company’s focus is on hardwood and laminate flooring. They are partnered with a broad spectrum of best-in-class manufacturers to provide a wide selection, quality, and innovation demanded by flooring contractors, flooring retailers, architects and design professionals.

Go Live - Navigator

​Denver Hardwood Company has just completed installation and go live on Navigator. This is the 2nd of six companies in the Denver Hardwood umbrella to go live. The Denver Hardwood Company is the flagship of the six companies. North Georgia Flooring was the first company in the Denver Hardwood Company umbrella to go live. Additional companies will go live over the coming months.

By deploying Navigator, Denver Hardwood will increase operational efficiency while providing enhanced service to their customer base.

Omni-Channel Commerce

What does Omni-Channel Commerce mean?

Put simply; it means engaging with your customers, for sales, marketing, and customer services, across multiple channels, in such a way that they have a consistent experience of your organization, regardless of channel or device.

However, my customers are tradespeople or other businesses, not consumers.

Please read on. Research by Forrester shows that B2B customers’ expectations have shifted: they expect the same level of omnichannel service from their business suppliers as they get from consumer retailers.

Isn’t this just a new name for multi-channel?

Good question. There is some debate about this. However, we see the difference as being:

Multichannel: Using more than one channel to engage with customers. For example, selling online as well as having a trade counter, or having a social media presence as well as using direct marketing. A multi-channel approach is more tactical and reactive than an omnichannel approach: the channels are discreet, and there is no attempt to give customers a seamless experience.

Omnichannel: Using more than one channel to engage customers, and having an overall strategy that ensures that customers have the same experience, regardless of channel AND regardless of the device they are using to engage. Where a multichannel approach can be seen as supplier-centric, omnichannel puts the customer at the center.

For example, a customer could search your inventory and order online from their mobile device, log in later and amend the order from a PC, receive delivery tracking information via text message, and message your customer service department via Twitter to report a problem with delivery. The customer would expect their account and order information to be updated in real time and to be accessible across each of these platforms.

Sounds complicated. Why do I need this?

Three reasons.

1. Your customers want it: Two-thirds of B2B suppliers surveyed said that their customers are expecting omnichannel capabilities. The study showed that B2B buyers want the same fulfillment capabilities, inventory visibility, convenience and functionality they are used to as consumers.

2. It will increase customer loyalty and drive profit: 72% of B2B companies surveyed said omnichannel customers are worth substantially more to them, and 51% said these customers have a higher lifetime value. 83% agreed that ‘we will drive more sales and profit by becoming an omnichannel company.'

3. Your competitors are doing it: 87% of B2B suppliers surveyed agreed that ‘to serve today’s customers we have to improve our omnichannel capabilities.' 86% agreed that ‘becoming an effective omnichannel company will be critical to our long-term success.’

OK, I am in. Where do I start?

The research concludes that suppliers must leverage technology to serve savvy buyers. The companies surveyed were installing or upgrading e-Commerce systems, investing in order management and using data and analytics to understand how best to provide personalized experiences for their customers. Building an omnichannel strategy requires an integrated approach across all touchpoints in the B2B buyer journey, as well as the right platform to provide that integrated approach.

CARY, NC – May 18, 2016 - Dancik International provider of integrated software solutions focused on servicing the building materials, lumber, floor coverings, home décor, electrical and plumbing distribution, wholesale and retail markets announced today that BR Funsten & Co. have agreed to license K8 and Web Builder for up to 200 users to include professional services and hosting. Dancik is delighted that BR Funsten & Co. selected K8 to support their growing building supplies distribution business across the West Coast of the United States.

BR Funsten & Co. serves as the parent company to both the Tom Duffy Company and Commercial Solutions and provides the most comprehensive group of products and services across all flooring channels. Founded in 1956, BR Funsten & Co. has grown into one of the ten largest flooring wholesalers in the nation. Since acquiring the Tom Duffy Company, the business has evolved from primarily a flooring distribution business to a leading building supplies distributor with 28 branches across California, Arizona, and Nevada.

"K8 will provide us with the capability to continue to expand the business with the confidence that we have the right system and functionality to support our business objectives and enhance our customer service capacity. K8 was a clear choice for us," stated Anne Funsten, President of BR Funsten & Co.

Alan Cross, KCS Executive Vice President of North America, said, "We are a delighted that BR Funsten & Co. has selected K8. We have worked closely together to understand their business model and in turn, demonstrate the strength and depth of the software to meet their business goals."

The project is expected to commence without delay with both BR Funsten & Co. and Dancik eager to move to the implementation phase. The Dancik project management team will be working closely with BR Funsten & Co. in the coming months to ensure a successful go-live.

ERP Software

'Enterprise Resource Planning’ is a term that was coined in the 1960’s but the software that we know today was only developed in the 1990’s. Essentially the concept revolves around the requirement for real-time information and the streamlining of business processes, particularly as enterprises grow.

Initially, when a business has seen some expansion, it is run using disparate systems governing finance, HR, and stock control. This is ok in a small business but can very quickly become overstretched and cumbersome as the business grows.

ERP Software Revolutionizes Business Processes

The way that ERP software revolutionizes business processes can be seen throughout the various departments in any given business. With the business management system software, each of the business units - from HR through procurement, finance to delivery - is integrated, providing distribution information as part of the core business model. This ensures accurate and real-time information on stock, cost, and scheduling; all the way through to the shipping schedules in the route to market. For the majority of enterprises, this streamlines working practices on the floor as much as the information flow to management.

With separate spreadsheets and standalone applications there is a great deal of re-keying required to provide reports on capacity, stock management, and sales data, but with ERP these are all integrated into a system that talks to each business unit and the information can be pulled into reports encompassing many aspects of the business.

The uses of this kind of streamlining process are evident for those at the top of the chain. Providing real-time information makes any inefficiencies glaringly obvious and makes dealing with these issues a more efficient and timely operation. Whether it is a distribution issue or procurement, the information provided by the integrated systems will flag both underutilization and lack of capacity. It will also highlight overspend in any area of the business so that decisions to reallocate budget is more clear cut.

How much will an ERP Solution cost your business?

Historically, the cost of implementing such business software has been a barrier to growth for some businesses. This barrier has now lessened as the variety of options have grown. Modular provisions are ideal for tailoring the software to your individual business model but still provides clear automated core business operation processes.

The bottom line for your business is your customers’ satisfaction, and ERP Software will contribute to ensuring your customers continue to purchase from you. By making your processes smoother, and fulfillment of orders more streamlined, any issue with distribution will be highlighted in advance, giving you time to align expectation or relocate stock to fulfill orders. Good communication with your customers and the end user is imperative to maintaining a positive brand image in these days of social marketing.

In summary, although there is a significant outlay involved in buying into the ERP software solution for your growing business, the returns you will reap will ensure it is of significant value for the future of the business. Management and employees can make better decisions faster and streamline your efficiencies for an advantage in the marketplace.

Stock Control in Wholesale Distribution

Stock control is all about balance: having sufficient goods available that any item can be supplied without delay, without tying up too much money in stock. Sounds simple, but whether you are a wholesaler, distributor, supplier or retailer, carrying hundreds, thousands or millions of products, getting stock control right is both complex and crucial.

Why is stock control important?

Lots can go wrong.

  • Having too much stock: A 2013 report into the finances of 1,000 top US companies found that, between them, they had nearly half a trillion dollars ($459 billion) unnecessarily held in inventory, due to inferior practices. As well as tying up money in stock, having too much stock can result in you paying too much for storage, or risking goods becoming obsolete, or perishing.
  • Having too little stock: As well the risk of letting your customers down, too frequent ordering incurs additional handling costs, and ordering in smaller amounts will not get you the best prices from suppliers.
  • Poor visibility and control: Poor control leads to errors such as selling the same stock twice, duplicating orders, and failing to take supplier lead times into account.

Methods of stock control

Many depend on industry and type of stock. Some of those most relevant in wholesale distribution include:

  • Fixed order quantity or fixed time period: Ordering a fixed quantity, or at a pre-determined time is simple, but not particularly flexible or responsive to the reality of fluctuations in demand.
  • Setting stock control levels: It is more effective to create a set of detailed inventory levels such as maximum, minimum, re-ordering and danger level. This method relies on frequent stock checks to ensure it is accurate.
  • ABC method: This involves allocating items or ‘stock control units’ (SKUs) to categories A to C depending on contribution to sales, and then focusing stock control efforts accordingly. This method relies on understanding how to categorize SKUs as well as being able to react to change. For example, do some items move fast in summer months but more slowly in winter?
  • Perpetual inventory control: Continuous updating of inventory levels based on transactions. This method is superior to conducting periodic stock takes, but can’t be done manually and relies on using stock control software.
  • Cycle counting: Ongoing stock taking of a small sample of SKUs at a time, in order to cycle through the entire inventory. This is less time consuming than full stock checks, and feeds into perpetual inventory control, correcting for lost or broken stock or scanning errors.

Stock control software

Manually keeping track of all of this data can be a massive headache. This is why so many wholesalers, distributors, suppliers, and retailers use stock control software.

Automated stock control systems not only make it easier to keep track of your stock levels, but they also enable you to analyze inventory data to uncover opportunities to improve. A 2011 study found that best in class supply organizations can improve inventory levels by between 20% and 50% by employing analytical tools.

Advantages of stock control systems include:

  • Visibility for informed decisions: you have the data you need to conduct inventory analysis and implement and track improvements.
  • Centralized control over branches: you can coordinate so that each location has the stock it needs, despite differences in demand.
  • Links to other systems: integration with sales order processing and purchasing reduces paperwork, increases efficiency and improves accuracy.
  • Customer service: having the right goods in stock will enable you to offer short lead times and consistently deliver on time, in full.

With a fully integrated system, you can keep yourself updated on how much stock you have and what you might need in future.

Grady to focus on continued growth with Navigator (DNav) and building market share for K8

April 6, 2016- Kerridge Commercial Systems (KCS) provider of specialized software solutions, services and support focused on delivering fully integrated trading and business management solutions to distributive trades customers servicing the building materials, lumber, floor coverings, home décor, electrical and plumbing distribution, wholesale and retail markets announced today that Greg Grady has been appointed Vice President of Sales for North American operations.

Grady has spearheaded the Dancik sales efforts in North Carolina for over five years, helping the business to grow throughout that period. Since KCS acquired Dancik in July 2015, Grady has accelerated sales, both in terms of market share in flooring with the DNav solution but also building a pipeline for K8 in the general construction sector. Grady has developed an effective and highly successful sales team. Because of Grady’s efforts, KCS is already making its mark in a very competitive market. The company fully expects that sales and marketing functions in North America will need to expand as they continue to build a significant presence.

As the business grows further in North America, Grady will lead the sales function, building strategies to win significant market share for K8 in all sectors of the distributive trades and also ensure the existing market strengthens with DNav in flooring.

Grady assumes the role of VP Sales – North America with immediate effect and will report directly to Alan Cross, who assumes the role of Executive Vice President of North America.

“North America offers KCS a tremendous opportunity,” said Ian Bendelow, CEO, Kerridge Commercial Systems. “It is essential that we have the right leadership in place to make sure we maximize that potential. I am sure everyone will give Greg all the support he needs to continue to grow Dancik and build a strong presence for KCS in North America.”

Dancik International is proud to have Spartan Surfaces join our customer base.

CARY, NC – March 28, 2016 - Dancik International provider of integrated software solutions focused on servicing the building materials, lumber, floor coverings, home décor, electrical and plumbing distribution, wholesale and retail markets announced today that Spartan Surfaces have agreed to license Navigator, Sales Portal and DNav-bi (formerly RADAR).

Spartan Surfaces is a leading sales and consulting group specializing in commercial flooring alternatives. Spartan’s geography encompasses the Mid-Atlantic market from Virginia through New York as well as regions in the Midwest. The company strives to be a game changer in every area from product selection to education to customer service. Taking a human-centered approach, Spartan prides itself on great people dedicated to great products, great families, great friendships and great happiness. Every single team member helps pave the way to exceptional flooring interiors so that every project looks extraordinary.

Spartan Surfaces will be replacing their in-house business management system with Dancik’s integrated enterprise management solution (DNav). The competition was heavy on industry specific solutions and saw Dancik win out over Gartman among others.

The project commenced immediately with both Spartan and Dancik eager to move to the implementation phase. The Dancik project management team will be working closely with Spartan Surfaces in the coming months to ensure a successful go-live.

For more information on Spartan Surfaces visit: spartansurfaces.com.

Dancik International is proud to have Van Art Furniture join our customer base.

CARY, NC – March 21, 2016 - Dancik International, provider of integrated software solutions focused on servicing the building materials, lumber, floor coverings, home décor, electrical and plumbing distribution, wholesale and retail markets, announced today that Art Van Furniture have agreed to license Navigator, DNav-bi (formerly RADAR) and DNav-edi (formerly CMS).

Art Van Furniture, the number one furniture and mattress retailer in the Midwest, operates 47 furniture stores and 54 PureSleep Mattress Stores in Michigan, Illinois, Indiana, and Ohio. Dancik will facilitate their burgeoning flooring business which is a significant part of Art Van’s strategic path forward.

Art Van recognized Dancik’s thought leadership in the flooring retail and wholesale distribution space, and their experienced IT staff determined Dancik to be the best fit now and for the many years ahead. Dancik won out against industry specific solutions as well as generic ERP vendors looking to expand their footprint within the flooring and home décor space.

The Art Van implementation project is expected to launch in August 2016, so the Dancik team will be working closely with Art Van in the coming months to ensure a successful go-live.

For more information on Art Van Furniture visit: www.artvan.com.

Cross to focus on building the Kerridge Commercial Systems and Dancik Brand across USA and Canada

March 18, 2016 - Kerridge Commercial Systems (KCS) announced today that Alan Cross will take permanent responsibility for North American operations. Cross will relinquish responsibility as COO for the group and focus on helping to continue building the KCS and Dancik Brand across USA and Canada as the KCS Senior Vice President North America.

“Our acquisition of Dancik has been a tremendous success,” said Ian Bendelow, CEO, Kerridge Commercial Systems. “I believe our colleagues in North Carolina and customers there feel the same way. It has also proven to us that there is a tremendous opportunity for KCS through our Dancik operation in North America.”

Having guided KCS and Dancik through a very smooth integration program Cross is looking forward to focusing on North America to ensure that a very significant operation with K8 and Navigator (DNav) is built. Clearly, North America is a huge market, and there are huge challenges, opportunities and lots of work to be done. It’s important for a long standing Executive member of the Group to be there to spearhead the efforts. Dancik customers and prospects will appreciate with this appointment, just how serious the company is about North America.

With a strong presence in Europe, Africa, North America, and beyond this will help cement the position as a leading supplier of solutions to the distributive trades and create even better capability, opportunity, security, and future for customers and the company’s own people.

“I’m sure everyone will give Alan all the support he needs to build Kerridge Commercial Systems Group in North America.” Ian Bendelow, CEO, Kerridge Commercial Systems

4 strategic sourcing process challenges

There is growing evidence that companies that focus on improving their supply chain performance achieve much better financial and operational results than their competitors. The companies that top the list for optimizing their supply chain in a 2013 Price Waterhouse Coopers survey perform 70% better, on average, than the companies at the bottom. They:

  • Deliver ‘on time in full’ (OTIF) at 96% compared with 79% for the bottom companies
  • Average 15 inventory turns a year compared with 4
  • Make an average profit margin of 16% compared with 7%

Despite this, only 45% of companies overall said their companies view the supply chain as a strategic asset, and just 9% said the supply chain is helping them outperform their peers. So why are so many companies missing out on this opportunity? Perhaps it’s because managing the supply chain is hard.

Operating in wholesale distribution, you know that sourcing the right product at the right cost is key to achieving margins, sales, and service. Your business depends on product quality, price, differentiation, and availability. However, you also know how challenging it is to get the supply chain right.

The top four strategic sourcing process challenges

1. Accurate forecasting of demand. Critical, because overstocking ties up capital and takes up space, but understocking has the potential to lose customers. There are many ways of forecasting demand, but the most effective depends on having the right data and analytics. If you have visibility of how sales vary by season or geography, by product or category, or by branch or customer type, you can uncover trends and adjust your predictions accordingly. Lacking accurate data, many firms have to rely on educated guesses, or on replicating past orders.

2. Managing margins. Competition is fierce, and margins are tight, so it is vital to negotiating the best pricing and rebates for your business. Again, accurate forecasting is essential if you are to influence suppliers in your favor. If you cannot commit to predicted sales volumes with confidence, you may be leaving money on the table.

3. Managing suppliers. You probably have an instinct for which of your suppliers are the best – but wouldn’t it be great to know, at a glance, how each is performing? Which suppliers give you the best prices and offer the best lead times? And how are they doing against SLAs such as OTIF, or quality metrics? Additionally, if a supplier fails to deliver, where do you go next? Trusting instinct is not enough when it puts your own customer service at risk.

4. Managing the purchasing process. When you are managing the complexity of hundreds of products, multiple branches and numerous suppliers across varying geographies, anything you can do to cut down on administration will save you time and money. Whenever there is a manual process involved in linking sales orders to purchase orders, stock, and the accounting system, risk of error increases as well. This can be costly and damage customer relationships.

Effective sourcing solutions

There is currently a huge opportunity to differentiate by optimizing your supply chain – but as more and more competitors wake up to the possibilities, the advantage will dwindle. It is not easy to overcome any of these challenges, but without investing in effective business processes and technologies, it becomes even harder.

The right trading and business management solution is one that gives managers complete and accurate visibility of business operations and enables them to take control, improve performance and delight customers. And investing in delighted customers will give additional returns; when your customers optimize their supply chains too, it’s the highest performing suppliers that will make the cut.

Texas A and M

Mincron facilitated the opportunity for Col. Mark Johnson (center), Associate Professor of Practice, to bring a group of Industrial Distribution students to tour the Goodman Distribution branch in College Station, Texas. Goodman is a long-time Mincron customer, so students were able to see Mincron SmartWare solutions at work in a real-world distribution operation.

One of the biggest challenges being faced by hard goods distributors is the recruitment of new talent as more Baby Boomers retire every year.

Mincron strongly believes in supporting the future of our customers, which led us to form a partnership in 2015 with Texas A&M University and its prestigious Industrial Distribution Program. We work with Texas A&M for its courses on enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems and supply chain management, which provides students hands-on experience with Mincron solutions. This not only gives graduates a competitive edge when they enter the workplace, but also ensures that distributors have access to recruiting the type of talent necessary to gain a competitive edge in the marketplace.

A comprehensive feature article called “Charting the Future of Distribution,” written by Mincron's Marketing Manager, provides a look inside the University’s Industrial Distribution Program, its offerings and its leaders, as well as Mincron’s involvement with the program. The feature recently ran in several major industry trade magazines. You can access the feature in its entirety as it appeared on the websites of Distribution Center News and Industrial Supply magazines.


Texas A and M

SmartCube

HOUSTON — At the 2016 Mincron User Group Conference, Mincron announced the upcoming launch of SmartCubes, an innovative new method to more frequently get software updates into customers’ hands. The first SmartCube was released this summer!

The SmartCubes concept is a result of Mincron’s desire to further improve the customer experience. These “byte sized” software updates will be released three to four times annually, which will simplify customers’ implementation, ease the learning curve, and lesson the interruption to their businesses. SmartCubes will regularly add value to customers’ software solutions, enhancing their operations, business practices and service levels. They will also augment the agility of Mincron’s product development team.

Features included in the first SmartCube version are:

  • A new Executive Dashboard that gives executives a real-time overview of their company’s business in an easy-to-use graphical format. It was developed based on customer input from a breakout session held during the 2015 User Group Conference. Available to SmartDistributor GUI users, the Dashboard presents Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) that measure sales, inventory and financials. Customers can view this information by company, division, region or branch.
  • A wide screen format for the Stock Status function provides much easier viewing for users. It puts more information at their fingertips, and alleviates the need to frequently toggle between screens. This is available to SmartDistributor GUI users.
  • The workflow alert management system has been enhanced with a summarized view of triggered events and the ability for executives to take action by quickly reviewing and resolving the event notification. They can also filter events by selecting the specific job titles/executives to receive notifications for certain types of events.
  • The rollout of SmartCubes is just one highlight from a very busy and exciting summer at Mincron that promises new opportunities for both the company and its customers. Kerridge Commercial Systems, a UK-based distribution software provider, acquired Mincron in July and quickly but thoughtfully began the transition process.

As Kerridge Commercial Systems (KCS) Executive Vice President for North America Alan Cross described, it was important to everyone at KCS and Mincron that business continued as usual during the transition. “A successful integration of the business is key to ensuring that our existing customers are not distracted by the acquisition,” he remarked. “However, being part of the KCS Group — which serves more than 800 global customers and 70,000 users —will provide the Mincron team with the resources and support they need to channel growth in both products and services, including new offerings such as a cloud-based software model.”


Houston, Texas—Mincron Software Systems, a leading full-service provider of complete ERP software systems for wholesale distribution, today announced the successful implementation by Fence and Deck Connection of Mincron’s SmartDistributor® ERP System and Mincron’s FabSmart™ Complementary Application for Light Manufacturing Services. The multi-company implementation includes Fence and Deck Connection’s sister companies, Fence and Deck Direct and Monument Supply. The Fence and Deck companies are leading distribution businesses for fencing, decking, railing and fabrication in the state of Maryland.

To encourage the synergy between its companies, Fence and Deck selected SmartDistributor for its robust capabilities for multi-company processing and accounting. Fence and Deck companies are now able to easily transfer materials between companies without having to perform inter-company buying transactions. Fence and Deck is also leveraging SmartDistributor enhancements for time-saving automation for enhanced consolidated project invoicing. Taking advantage of Mincron’s robust suite of Complementary Applications, Fence and Deck also implemented Mincron’s FabSmart for Light Manufacturing Services for their railings business. FabSmart streamlines Fence and Deck’s in-house fabrication process with powerful features for tracking raw materials and reporting the accurate cost of finished goods.

“With Mincron’s ERP solutions, we’re automating our multi-company functions for transfers, invoicing and reporting to streamline our business management and operations,” said James Rubush, Co-Owner & President, Fence and Deck Connection. “These new capabilities are crucial to our plans for growth and expansion, and with the system’s integrated tracking and reporting tools, we’re able to maximize our margins while we offer great service and the best pricing to our customers.”

“We’re happy to announce the successful SmartDistributor implementation for Fence and Deck companies, and we’re excited to work closely with them in the years to come,” said Wendy Berger, President, Mincron Software Systems. “Fence and Deck is another example of how Mincron works tirelessly to ensure our customers achieve and exceed their goals—every day, all day—by putting service first and making sure they succeed from day one with our technology.”

SmartDistributor is Mincron’s core solution for Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) with comprehensive mission-critical tools for powerful distribution business management, monitoring, and analysis. Enabling complete, enterprise-wide control of inventory management, sales order processing, purchasing and financials, SmartDistributor offers a flexible Windows-based Graphical User Interface (GUI) with dynamic point-and-click navigation. A workbench-like design gives users an efficient one-screen view of customer details, product information, inventory status, orders, contracts and bids. This intuitive design and powerful capabilities help customers save time and reduce costs so they can focus on serving their own customers.

FabSmart is a SmartDistributor Complementary Application specifically designed for Light Manufacturing enabling make-to-order, assemble-to-order and engineer-to-order services for items such as kits or combinations that can be sold by offering in-warehouse assembly. Products can be fabricated based on regional specification sheets, grade of raw materials can be refined, and metals can be fabricated all while the system tracks the processes and costs associated with the fabricated items.

HOUSTON, Texas—Mincron Software Systems, a leading provider of complete solutions for durable goods distributors, today announced the selection of its SmartDistributor™ Solution by W.A. Bragg & Company, a leading distributor of residential and commercial plumbing, electrical and irrigation supplies, along with major appliances. With corporate offices in Augusta, Georgia, W.A. Bragg maintains six branches in Georgia and South Carolina. W.A. Bragg will use powerful SmartDistributor capabilities to enable advanced order processing and handling, and to streamline their multi-branch inventory replenishment.

“We’ve found the comprehensive ERP solution we’ve been looking for,” said Brian Bragg, President of W.A. Bragg & Company. “Mincron’s SmartDistributor gives us a common platform for our business processes, information, applications and inventory – across all departments and locations. A good example of the benefits of this new platform is our ability to tap into all our existing resources with real-time online order processing with which we can enter an order with a single transaction that will ship from any branch, or vendor.”

SmartDistributor inventory management, replenishment and purchasing utilizes Mincron’s proprietary flexible inventory replenishment methodology that allows wholesalers to:

  • Reduce “lost sales” without increasing inventory levels
  • Minimize the need for surplus inventory
  • Respond quickly to back-order and low stock situations
  • Receive pre-price increase alerts with quantity adjustment recommendations
  • Promote and allow for transferring surplus quantity
  • Increase service levels and inventory turns
  • Utilize “cross-docking”
  • Enable easy access to company-wide inventory
  • Decrease the number of “item touches”

“SmartDistributor benefits multi-branch distributors like W.A. Bragg,” said Wendy Berger, President of Mincron Software Systems. “With an accurate view of their entire business across locations, W.A. Bragg will maximize productivity and efficiency while minimizing surplus inventory and costs. We’re excited to work hand-in-hand with them to implement SmartDistributor.”

SmartDistributor is the Mincron core solution for wholesale distributor Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) with comprehensive mission-critical tools for powerful business management, monitoring, and analysis. Enabling complete, enterprise-wide control of inventory management, sales order processing, purchasing and financials, SmartDistributor offers a flexible Windows-based Graphical User Interface (GUI) with dynamic point-and-click navigation.

SmartDistributor is available today. Email info@mincron.com or call 1-800-299-7010 for details.

HOUSTON, Texas—Mincron Software Systems, a leading provider of complete solutions for durable goods distributors, today announced that Lion Plumbing Supply, Inc., a leading distributor of pipe, valves, fittings, fixtures, tools, supplies and accessories, is implementing Mincron SmartDistributor™ Solution for ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) and will use it to consolidate business-wide operational processes and will also implement Mincron ScanSmart™ Application to enhance their use of RF (Radio Frequency) Technology for barcode scanning. Lion’s use of Mincron solutions will powerfully reinforce business efforts to stabilize cost-effective inventory management, improve employee efficiency, and streamline order processing.

“The time is right for Lion to gain all the advantages of a partnership with Mincron and their comprehensive SmartDistributor ERP system,” said Paul Gentile, President and COO of Lion Plumbing Supply, Inc. “The complete automation of our business will allow us to further enhance the ways we serve our customers which, in turn, positively impacts the way our customers serve their customers. Mincron delivers the platform and tools we need to manage for increased efficiencies, growth and long-term success.”

SmartDistributor provides mission-critical tools for powerful business management, monitoring and analysis and control of inventory management, sales order processing, purchasing and financials. The use of SmartDistributor with ScanSmart allows wholesalers to maximize efficiency with full integration of an ERP System with RF Technology to “go paperless” with barcode scanning and accurately track, manage, and replenish inventory while reducing handling and repackaging.

“Mincron knows our business inside and out,” said Pauline Levesque, Controller/IT. “During our ERP solution evaluation process, Mincron’s “hands on” approach and expertise was clearly evident in their software and distribution business expertise. We’re very confident that Mincron will be there for us every step of the way.”

“We’re looking forward to a long and successful partnership with Lion Plumbing,” said Wendy Berger, President of Mincron Software Systems. “Lion is a company a lot like us: they’ve been around for a long time, they’re experts at what they do, they’re focused on customer service, and they treat their customers and employees like family. These important similarities will make for a strong, productive relationship.”

SmartDistributor enables complete, enterprise-wide control of inventory management, sales order processing, purchasing and financials. Its flexible Windows-based Graphical User Interface (GUI) with dynamic point-and-click navigation makes the system easy-to-use and offers a workbench-like design one screen management of all a wholesalers’ needs. SmartDistributor is available today. Email info@mincron.com or call 1-800-299-7010 for details.

Business Insight open day 2016

Kerridge Commercial Systems (KCS) has confirmed the line-up for its Business Insight Open Day - for the tile and KBB industries – which will be held in the Midlands on Tuesday 23rd February. The ‘free to attend’ event will include presentations from Tileflair’s Matthew Johnson; Phil Crowshaw from The Geeky Group and the Tile Association (TTA).

The program will focus on IT-related issues faced by the tile and KBB industries and will conclude with a QA session and complimentary networking lunch.

Starting at 9.30am, the event will be hosted at the award-winning residential conference venue, Wood Grange in Leamington Spa - set in 16 acres of stunning grounds, close to major road and rail networks.

After registration and coffee, key-note speaker, Phil Crowshaw will explore the technological and cultural changes taking place and will guide attendees on how to survive and prosper in The Digital Media Revolution.

Matthew Johnson – Tileflair’s Managing Director - will then share his own case study, explaining how “moving with the times” has shaped his business.

TTA’s Kay Porter will also discuss the Association’s place in the industry and member benefits – and KSC’s own presentations, by Mike Beech and Paula Hayter, will kick-off and conclude the agenda, with a focus on Online Trading and Customer value vs. discounting.

KCS is a key IT supplier to the tile and KBB industries. Tile clients include Beccles Tile Centre, Ceramic Tile Warehouse, European Heritage and Tileflair.

To register for the free event, please contact marketing@kerridgecs.com. 

Business Insight Day

Join us at our free Business Insight Day for the Tile, Kitchen and Bathroom industries, February 23, 2016. The day will be held at Woodland Grange in Leamington Spa.

We will be covering a number of topics to help you make the most of your business, all presented by industry experts. Gather tips and techniques to make the most of web, social media and your customer data. Hear how TileFlair have developed and grown their business.

We are delighted to announce that we will be attending Automechanika Birmingham June 7-9, 2016 at the NEC Birmingham stand 11C2.

Kerridge Commercial Systems (KCS) provides K8, the market-leading trading and business management solution designed for automotive distributors, part suppliers, and motor factors.

If you would like any information before the event, please contact our Automotive specialist, Mark Darley - Mark.Darley@kerridgecs.com

We are delighted to be attending the annual IAAF Awards Dinner at the ICC, Birmingham on December 17 and are looking forward to an enjoyable evening with colleagues and companies from across the automotive industry.

The Independent Automotive Aftermarket Federation represents the largest number of parts distributors and suppliers within the independent automotive aftermarket. The IAAF Awards Dinner follows on from the IAAF conference – the automotive aftermarket’s largest industry event.

Kerridge Commercial Systems (KCS) supplies the leading trading and business management software, K8, designed for automotive distributors, part suppliers, and motor factors. Attending on the night on behalf of KCS will be Mark Darley and Paula Hayter. If you would like any information on the event, please contact Mark - Mark.Darley@kerridgecs.com

Kerridge Commercial Systems (KCS) are delighted to be sponsoring the Hungerford Victorian Extravaganza for the 2nd year running. On December 11, local dignitaries will turn back the clock to the 1800’s and celebrate the 24th Annual Hungerford Victorian Extravaganza.

The evening will open at 5 pm with music from the Hungerford Town Band and the Scottish Pipe Band. The High Street will be busy with Victorian organs, steam engines, and a variety of themed stalls. Many people will be in Victorian Dress. At 7 pm the Grand Parade starts at Bridge Street followed by fireworks at the Three Swans Hotel.

For more info visit: http://www.hungerfordchamberofcommerce.co.uk/victorian-extravaganza/

This year's TTA Tileman's Lunch will be held at Sartoria in Savile Row and will be taking place on Wednesday 9th December in London. Adrian Cannon will be representing Kerridge Commercial Systems at this event.

If you would like to get in touch before the event you can contact Adrian directly by using the email address below:

Adrian Cannon: Adrian.Cannon@kerridgecs.com

Business Intelligence

What is BI for Wholesale Distribution?

BI stands for Business Intelligence, which is an umbrella term for the tools and systems that enable a company to gather, store, access and analyze corporate data, to make better decisions and improve performance.

BI software is big business, and its growing fast, with the market for BI tools, predicted to be worth $114 billion by 2018. Hardly surprising, when research shows that investment in BI can offer a tenfold return.

Why use BI for Wholesale Distribution?

Wholesalers, distributors, suppliers, and retailers are under particular market pressures that mean that they need high-quality information and analysis in order to survive. Those pressures include:

  • Complexity of operations: Typically, distributors carry massive numbers of products, deal with diverse supply chains and serve many different customers and customer types.
  • Market change: The growth of the internet has disrupted how wholesalers, distributors, suppliers, and retailers do business. To be competitive, it is no longer enough to just offer e-commerce, firms need to operate seamlessly across all channels.
  • Escalating customer expectations: Again, the internet has changed how customers buy. B2B buyers now expect the same high levels of service, fast delivery and keen pricing that they get on the top consumer retail sites.
  • Narrow margins: Profit margins have been squeezed further in recent years. In particular, traditional bricks and mortar operators are finding it hard to compete with ‘online only’ companies, which have much lower overheads. Firms need to adjust the balance by increasing volumes, finding efficiencies or offering new services.

What is BI used for in Wholesale Distribution?

Some of the main applications include:

  • Sales analysis: Enables you to uncover trends and spot gaps and opportunities; sales analysis feeds into forecasting, sourcing, promotions, stock control, and inventory management.
  • Customer analysis: Enables you to identify trends in customer behavior, needs, and satisfaction; customer analysis feeds into strategic marketing, relationship management, retention and acquisition strategies.
  • Supplier analysis: Which are the best and worst performing suppliers across a variety of metrics such as lead times, payment times or quality? Understanding this enables you to streamline your supply chain and ensure you get the best prices and discounts.
  • Marketing analysis: Enables you to track your marketing efforts across all channels to understand which promotions were most successful and to inform marketing strategy.
  • Inventory analysis: Enables you to understand how to control your stock to reduce inefficiency and avoid out of stock situations.

Four Signs Your Business Would Benefit from BI Software:

  • Are you relying on paper based systems? Moving to automated tools would save the time taken filing and retrieving paper documents, reduce the risk of loss or damage to documents, and make it much easier to share and collate information.
  • Do you have lots of data but no information? Your data may be stored electronically, but you find it hard to know what it is telling you as the reports you need are difficult or time-consuming to run.
  • Is it hard to get consistent information? If different departments and individuals within your business have their own spreadsheets, it can be hard to collate the information or get a consistent view.
  • Do you have a sense that you could improve your business processes, or a need to improve your profitability but you are not sure where to start, or how to measure success? BI tools will help you analyze the current situation, uncover opportunities to improve and track the success of improvement initiatives.

Do you have the tools and systems in place that enable you to gather, store, access and analyze corporate data, so as to make better decisions and improve performance? Wholesalers, distributors, suppliers, and retailers need high-quality information and analysis in order to survive. How will you gather, analyze and act on the data within your company?

December 1, 2015: The Cronin Company has been a family owned business for 137 years and now supplies floor covering products throughout the Pacific Northwest region, including Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Montana, and Alaska. Cronin product lines include ceramic tile, luxury vinyl tile, laminate flooring, hardwood, installation supplies, solid surfacing, and quartz.

Heidi Mandell, President of The Cronin Company, said: “We found that Dancik has a superior integrated inventory management system that will allow us to be productive and operate more efficiently. We are excited to implement the tools that Dancik provides into our daily operations.”

Greg Grady, Director of Business Development at Dancik, commented: “Dancik’s solutions are the leading software option for floor covering companies with significant industry-specific functionality requirements such as laminate cuts and real-time wireless warehouse management needs. Deep functionality is key however equally important factors are our service based architecture and dedication to the flooring industry. We are very pleased to have Cronin join our customer base, and I am confident that Dancik will support their current and future business objectives.”

The project will start immediately, and all Cronin locations plan to go live simultaneously.

 

Company Update Video

Alan Cross, KCS Executive Vice President North America, discusses rebranding, growth, and innovation.