North East Connected

Why should distributors make the digital transformation?

With technology advancing at a rapid rate it is no wonder that changes to the industry pose a greater threat to customer demand, internal procedures and service expectancy. The business landscape has witnessed an eye-opening change in recent years, which has impacted operations across countless industries.

As a result of this, corporate bosses must recognise the need for digital transformation across their organisation and make appropriate investments to maintain their success. This message is especially important for both timber and builders merchants, as this article will detail.

Making the Change

Your competitors are already future proofing their business and it’s important that you don’t get left behind. Initially, it will be difficult to adopt changes internally, as staff can be reluctant to new processes which will need to be rolled out to streamline the company. However, understanding the power that digital transformation holds is crucial for achieving the most positive outcome that will help you create better relationships with your customers.

For builders merchants distributors, it’s all about knowing what your customers want and delivering exactly that. Technology will play a significant part in this, with many businesses adopting Big Data, advanced analytics, Internet of Things (IoT) and more.

Distributors that cater to these types of businesses must understand that their requirements from you will change throughout their own development process. For example, digital transformation allows you to optimise the overarching service and ensure a more strategic delivery of materials.

Forecasting Inventory

From the perspective of timber and builder merchants, a project is only successful if the materials needed for the job have been used efficiently and the budget has been well spent on these necessities. This means that as a distributor, you must properly forecast what items they need and the quantity, as well as when they need them.

It’s also your duty to be proactive. If you’ve been informed that there was some left-over product from one project, keep this in mind when distributing the next batch – as previous materials can still be used. This will show to businesses which use your distribution firm that you’re on top of their account and understand their requirements.

Bettering The Customer Experience

In 2019, everything is about the experience that you offer to your customers. This is something that sets you apart from your competitors, as 86% of customers will pay higher for a better experience. As well as this, by 2020, customer service will overtake both price and product as the key brand differentiator.

You need to know how your customers want to communicate with you. Present them with opportunities that will allow them to do business with you both online and offline – including an active customer service telephone line, internet portals and software, or even through an app.

Giving Your Partners What They Want


As a distributor, you’ll understand that the majority of your timber and builder merchant partners run projects that are time sensitive. To ensure that you offer them the most efficient service possible, you need to be reactive and anticipate their needs. This means that you must manage the process from beginning to end and have continuous communication with them past their point of purchase – allowing you to always be on hand to answer any queries that customers might have.

To ensure that you can meet demand, it’s important to have a strong relationship with customers. Develop an agreement that is beneficial to both parties, whereby the introduction of warehouse management systems can allow you to update their business inventory without them having to place an order.

There’s a lot that distributors can benefit from transforming their business to keep up with current industry demand. However, it’s important to understand that the digital landscape is constantly evolving, so it’s vital that you invest internally to ensure you’re offering the best service possible.


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