IN DEPTH: Technology Tools

By / 12 months ago

Dealers are becoming more adept with their technology and are looking to create efficiencies that provide better and faster customer service that aids their competiveness.

As building-material dealers become more comfortable with technology and see their business growing again, they are looking to suppliers to help them become more efficient. Vendors, in turn, are providing more options to help meet the array of dealer needs.

Some dealers have found that the time has finally arrived to take a closer look at their existing systems. “During the recession, some companies used the downtime to invest and bring their systems up to date, and they’re glad they did now,” says Graham Rigby, director of LBM product management at Epicor Software Systems. “But many held off until more capital was available. Now with the recovery under way, companies that put off investing are rushing to move forward with the added efficiencies that new technology offers before they get too busy and they can’t handle their new volume with their current staff.”

Epicor-BistrackThe Epicor BisTrack Cloud from Epicor Software Systems consists of an advanced mobile-sales software package that is said to help boost the efficiency, productivity and effectiveness of dealers’ sales people when they are in the field. It offers easy access to customer and product information, dashboards, actionable smart views and customer and product information.

Adds Dennis Sullivan, senior account manager with Ponderosa Software from Computer Associates Inc., “New customers are always running older computer servers and equipment. Right now, many have outdated equipment they held onto through the recession, so they’re way behind the technology curve. At some point, they realize their technology is not performing as well as it could or it’s become too outdated, and they decide they have to do something.” The rule of thumb is that most servers will provide five to seven years of service, he notes.

Creating a new plan has to have a custom design, he stresses. “With new customers, we always start with a complete hardware/network survey to see what needs to be replaced and determine how compatible the old system will be.” That includes a written report the customer can take to a third party to judge its validity.

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Craig A Shutt

Craig A. Shutt, senior contributing editor of LBM Journal, has more than 35 years of experience covering the LBM industry.