The future is in the Clouds

Whilst the debate on the pros and cons of CAD systems have been widely debated in the letters page in the Trade press, there is no denying the fact that accurate data has to be a prerequisite for any KBB retailer to run a successful business. The average retailer is time poor and inaccurate data will not only severely impact this precious resource but translate directly to the bottom line. Inaccuracies in suppliers’ product and pricing data can result in inaccurate quotations which can lose a sale or negatively impact the profit

“The relationship between suppliers and retailers has never been more important as the market emerges from a sustained period of change”. Round Table analysis, KBBReview  May 2014.
Our industry still has a predilection for printing hugely expensive catalogues. With the number of suppliers being used by a KBB retailer being between ten and fifteen, this creates a daunting library of data to plough through when putting together customer quotations and subsequent ordering of products.

Whilst there is an argument for continuing to produce glossy brochures featuring images of products which can be used in presentations to consumers, data such as product codes and pricing can be handled far more effectively and nowhere near as costly, by other means

Suppliers need to wake up to the fact that this is the 21st century and embrace the technology that is now available and that will significantly help their retailers run their businesses more efficiently together with improving their own effectiveness.

Unfortunately, the various software vendors, CAD. Quoting, Ordering and Management systems that all use the pricing and product data, have multifarious format requirement which does make life very difficult for suppliers! They are also often faced with the dilemma of having to make a choice of which software vendor to support due to internal resource constraints. Fortunately there are choices in the marketplace with no one software vendor having a monopoly. Unfortunately, being selective will penalize those KB retailers who are not using that particular software!

Smart Systems recognized that with the emergence of Cloud technology, here was potentially the ideal solution. How perfect would it be if there was a centralized database with every supplier in the country able to securely deposit and maintain all of their pricing and product data online in a standardized format? Using the new generation of online quoting, ordering and project management software, supplier authorised KBB retailers could access their data and run their businesses secure in the knowledge that if a new product is launched or old products withdrawn, new pricing introduced and special promotions announced…….the information would be instantly available to them.

The advantages to the supplier should not be underestimated nor understated either. Traditionally, the method of receiving orders from retailers generally has been anything but efficient! At best a fax, at worst a phone call. Transcription errors, verbal misunderstandings and legibility, all conspire to increase the costs of order processing. Technology can now give the retailer the ability to quote from live data which can then be automatically converted to orders on respective suppliers and sent electronically. All that is needed is a PC/Laptop with access to broadband……….no software or expensive hardware.

Smart Systems is in the forefront of developing online solutions for the KBB Industry.  Their online service KBBConnect addresses all the aforementioned. Since 1999, Smart Systems has been advocating the concept of  “Bringing the industry together”
        ….we’re getting there!

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