MRO Vending Machines for Distribution Customers’ Locations are Hot
Big distributors such as Avnet, Fastenal, MSC, etc. report rapid installations of internet-connected, vending machines at customer locations. At Apexsupplychain.com read how their machines – installed by distributors – are:
- For “high-use” SKUs (lots of picks) that are “mission-critical” (downtime costs are big)
- Eliminating stock-outs and excess inventory
- Reducing downtime with handy locations and 24/7 availability
- Reducing re-ordering costs, etc.
But, Improving Customers’ Replenishment Systems is Old, Smart News
- Starting in 1952, Sidney Port (check him out on Wikipedia) reinvented Lawson Products by creating storage bins for customers to stock and replenish small-dollar, don’t-be-out items. Lawson went public in 1970. Sid got very rich. See today’s bins at lawsonproducts.com.
- In 1964, Max Hillman solved the problem hardware stores had selling just one washer, bolt, etc. At hillmangroup.com, read about their current solutions. PS: the Hillmans did well, too!
- In 1978, an 18-year-old college kid, Neil Balter, started California Closets to maximize storage space in dorm rooms. He scored.
- Lastly, the book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, about decluttering your home written by a Japanese cleaning consultant, is a current global, best-seller.
These stories prove that many humans – at home and business – are not as organized as they wish they could be. And, they like outside experts to solve their organizational/replenishment inefficiencies.
So, Give all your Big Customers Replenishment Savings!
With Line-Item-Profit Analytics (LIPA), distributors can zero in on the inefficiencies that exist in every big customer’s existing buying patterns.
- Look at each customer’s buying statistics 11 different ways at the SKU level to find their hidden, unnecessary activity-costs or “noise”.
- Share the stats with customers to make their costs shockingly visible.
- Then, suggest that together you can do some rapid prototyping to create a better replenishment system that will improve both parties’ economics.
- Best customers will have some good practices you can borrow, improve and propagate.
- Evolve replenishment solutions for each customer niche.
Your new solutions will:
- Win more loyalty and share of customer-spend.
- Increase average Gross Margin Dollars (GM$s) per: pick, order, invoice, delivery, customer and sales call. All customers’ profitability will soar.
- Reward all stakeholders, if you are the first to find and solve the noise.
- And, LIPA information will tell you if and where vending-machines will deliver win-win returns and how to better stock them.