Imperial Tobacco Sees an Immediate Return on Investment with DiSupply
Larger retail chains are already using various inventory and order management systems. However, this was not the case with Imperial Tobacco's Canada-wide network of 16,000 independent retailers, who were frequently running out of stock. These systems are complex and expensive, placing them beyond the reach of independent retailers. As a result of this technological gap, retailers found themselves lagging behind the big chains and losing competitiveness.
For many years, representatives of Imperial Tobacco visited these retailers about once a week, but the time it took to inventory and replenish stock reduced the time reps could spend helping retailers better manage Imperial Tobacco's products. Entering data in the customer relationship management (CRM) system also ate up a lot of time.
The DiSupply solution
Imperial Tobacco wanted to help retailers prevent stock shortages and give representatives more time to focus on business development. Furthermore, the solution would have to be integrated with Imperial Tobacco's corporate data warehouse, as well as fit with the company's business procedures and the technology available to retailers. But no solutions on the market fit the bill!
That's when the company asked DiCentral, a long-standing partner, for help. Danny Slater, manager, marketing business intelligence at Imperial Tobacco, explains, "We have been working with DiCentral for almost 10 years, so this was a natural extension of a business partnership that began when we first started using DiCentral's EDI solution."
DiSupply is a web solution designed for the retail industry. It facilitates inventory and order management, and speeds up processing of orders for retailers. This simple and efficient tool gives users the information they need to make better business decisions.
Dramatically less stock shortages
Since they started using DiSupply for inventory, "many retailers no longer run out of stock. Others still sometimes do, but much less frequently than before," confirms Slater.
An integrated approach for implementation
Imperial Tobacco got its representatives involved in the process from the very beginning and throughout each stage of the project, from the pilot prototype to the technology roll-out with independent retailers. Instead of simply reacting, reps were proactive and quickly learned the importance of the new role they would be playing. Clerical tasks were reduced and the extra time that representatives now had with retailers changed their working relationships.
Faced with quick implementation of DiSupply with retailers and order volumes that were higher than expected, DiCentral had to make adjustments in order to boost processing capacity and ensure a good user experience. "We were victims of our own success," observes Slater. "Growth moved faster than we expected."
Results and benefits
"The return on investment was almost immediate. In fact, we reduced stock shortages more than we thought and the productivity of our team of representatives has risen higher than what we first estimated," concludes Slater.
- Retailers are less frequently out of stock, which boosts sales
- Representatives are more productive
- Immediate return on investment
- Improvement in the quality of stock
- Improvement in the rotation of stock
- Better customer service
- Reduced losses due to expired products
Independent retailers were chronically out of stock. Imperial Tobacco reps needed to make more efficient use of their time.Solution
- Less stock shortages for retailers
- Increased productivity for reps
- Immediate return on investment
- Better inventory management
- Improved quality of inventory
- Improved rotation of stock
- Improved customer service
- Reduced losses for Imperial Tobacco due to expired products
Software and services
- Web interface
- DiSupply increased productivity for reps
- Reducing stock shortages
- Increasing productivity of the business consulting team
Danny Slater, manager, marketing business intelligence Imperial Tobacco Canada, said the following about DiSupply:
"We have been working with DiCentral for almost 10 years, so this was a natural extension of a business partnership that began when we first started using DiCentral's EDI solution."
"Many retailers no longer run out of stock. Others still sometimes do, but much less frequently than before."
"We were victims of our own success. Growth moved faster than we expected."
"The return on investment was almost immediate. In fact, we reduced stock shortages more than we thought and the productivity of our team of representatives has risen higher than what we first estimated."
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