Back in late 2017, Dayton, Ohio-based national distributor Winsupply rolled out its Stock360 managed inventory system. The system’s end game is to make life as simple as possible for the distributor’s contractor customers who do business with its nearly 600 local companies throughout the U.S., further cementing its mission of forming strong partner-to-partner relationships.
Stock360 is a web-based platform that manages everything a contractor stocks, including non-Winsupply-purchased products, thus reducing a contractor’s time spent managing inventory and inventory investment, which frees up capital for other revenue-generating items and investments such as trucks, marketing, new employees and training.
So how has the Stock360 platform been received in the PHCP contractor arena in just about a year’s time?
Winsupply Vice President of Sales Michael Souders reports the Stock360 program currently is in 1,000 stocking locations.
“Based on data we’ve received we are seeing a 20% reduction in contractor inventory and a 20% improvement in productivity,” he says. “That means a contractor is getting back almost an extra day of the week and turning that into billable hours because of Stock360.”
Use it for everything
Winsupply Director of Sales Ed Bishop calls Stock360 a “huge assistance piece” for contractors. Bishop stresses Stock360 is there to manage everything — and he means everything — in a contractor’s inventory.
“This is not a selfish tool to manage Winsupply-only products,” he says. “You can manage dog biscuits if you want. You can laugh, but every service truck should have dog biscuits on the truck. You give one out every time you see a dog at a job. But what happens if you run out?
“What about shoe covers?” Bishop continues. “Best practices are to wear shoe covers. But maybe a tech puts on a shoe cover, gets mud on it and goes back into the house with mud on it because he doesn’t have any left. With Stock360, you can also see how many issues per job there are and use it as a management tool for policies and procedures.”
Bishop stresses the major benefit of successfully implementing Stock360 is getting more billable hours into the contractor’s hands. Bishop adds that Winsupply data show 83% of the contractors it talks to do not know what inventory they have on their truck. “And the average van carries $7,500 of product on it,” he points out.
“Our job as a good partner is to find more ways and efficiencies for the contractor to get more billable hours back,” Bishop says. “Our average numbers show a contractor is spending between 8 and 8.5 hours a week in downtime getting parts. When the right parts are on the truck before they get to a job, you eliminate that. That time could be one extra service call per stocking call or an extra van per week on the road.”
Bishop says being able to tell a five-truck company, for example, that it will get an extra guy, “that leans into the production problem,” he says. “In today’s world, you can’t get enough employees. It’s about thinking less and doing what they want to do more — serve customers and install equipment. We built this platform at the tech level to make sure it’s extremely quick and easy to use, almost to a fault. It helps the owner push one button to put a product in and push another one and go do the job.”
See for yourself
Jeremy Fisher, who works in outside sales for West Omaha, Nebraska, Winsupply, notes his local company installed Stock360 in two Omaha contracting businesses, Big Birge Plumbing and an American Rooter.
“Birge did two trucks and Rooter did its warehouse with Stock360 and was so thrilled it added three trucks and went up to five trucks, and they are adding more trucks as we speak,” he says. “Rooter wanted this technology before it was even out. He asked me about something like this years ago.”
Fisher calls the platform “e-commerce on steroids.”
“Stock360 knows what you need even before you know what you need,” he says. “Bradd [Conn] at American Rooter wants to know where every penny is. He holds his guys accountable. If inventory isn’t on a truck and Stock360 shows it’s supposed to be, the employee pays for it out of his own pocket.”
Bishop says Winsupply goes to great lengths to train their contractor customers on the platform.
“We help them install it hand-in-hand,” he says. “We’ll pull product out of the truck and clean it. We don’t want customers handling a daunting task like this on their own. With Birge, we went through the stock and counted everything in the warehouse and made labels. There were late nights and early mornings. They like it so much they are working on implementing it in their commercial division.”
Fisher says Stock360 helps on the sales end, too.
“If a call comes in for a 50-gallon water heater, you can see that Tim the technician might upsell based on data that is generated from Stock360,” he explains. “When that call comes in the next time, maybe you don’t send Joe, who is going to just sell the 50, but you are going to send Tim who you can see has that history of upselling. Stock360 generates a lot of data-driven information.” RJ 2.0
"This article was originally posted on ww.reevesjournal.com."