What does good customer service look like in 2019? Well, it means that the status quo is changing and customer expectations are evolving, whether...
Modernizing Lawn & Garden Hardgoods Distribution
The Lawn & Garden Hardgoods Distributor's role is changing as customers and wholesalers expect better services, evolving to meet those expectations will transform the lawn and garden industry.
The effects of consumer market trends ripple all the way from the retailer to the manufacturer and, by nature, the distributor is directly impacted as well. The market shift is all about better service and shorter time to market on new products and retailers are feeling the pressure. The need to have new items in their store quickly to stay competitive is felt in most industries, including lawn and garden. This strain on retailers creates an opportunities for distributors to become heroes in their customers’ eyes.
Fostering Better Partnerships with Wholesalers
A distributor’s role is to provide a seamless connection between wholesalers and retailers through inventory and order management. It makes sense then that a distributor’s priority should be establishing and maintaining a successful partnership with all of their wholesalers.
A successful partnership should include:
- Accurate inventory management
- Retailer demand forecasting
- Strategic logistical management
- Open communication on products information
A successful partnership is all about open transactions of information from new products in production to available inventory. Nothing and no one should be left in the dark. Fortunately, inventory integration opens communication between wholesaler to distributors. Additionally, inventory management technology can streamline the supply chain and provide a higher level of service.
Bringing New Products to Retailers Faster
Gone are the days of four seasons. A retailer has to keep up with increasing demands from consumers who expect new products at all times. This translates to ordering smaller quantities, more frequently.
To maintain and improve order efficiency retailers require:
- Convenient access new available products
- A self-service ordering process
- Fast order fulfillment
- Reliable freighting
Every bottleneck and delay in the supply chain directly affects a retailer's ability to sell and turn over inventory. There is very little room for error, so distributors need to work with retailers to eliminate any issues within the existing ordering process. Opening up a dialogue with a group of customers will help you as a distribution business to understand their specific needs and allow you to make an informed decision when implementing new systems.
Becoming an Industry Leader
Establishing a more efficient inventory and ordering process will help distributors meet increasing service demands. Becoming an industry leader requires consistent evaluation and adaptation but can quickly position a company as being intentionally service-oriented.
By continually responding to the needs of their stakeholders, Westland Ltd is a great example of industry leadership. Recently, they have begun the process of adopting OrderEase’s online inventory management technology to improve their inventory and order management process. Reducing inefficiencies through technology adoption has benefited their internal system but most importantly has improved service for their stakeholders. Listening to the needs of their customers and fulfilling those needs will continue to help their distribution business thrive and grow.