Schmidt's Wholesale, a single-location PHCP distributor in Monticello, N.Y., has been using a distribution management software system for the past three years that has automated its processes and increased both inventory turns and fill ratios. “It picks out items that fall underneath the radar screen,” said Chris Schmidt, owner. “These are potential lost sales because if you don't have it, nobody's going to buy it.”

Schmidt said he originally chose the DDi System Distribution Management Software because of the personal relationship the vendor gave his business. When he discovers a missing function or problem in the program, he simply calls the software programmer and discusses a solution to be implemented into an upgraded product.

The software's newest version 16 includes a customer relationship management (CRM) module. These are functions that allow the user to store detailed history, contact notes and scheduling tools for customers and vendors.

“We plan on further utilizing the CRM and extensive showroom management features as we complete plans to revitalize our decorative bath showroom,” Schmidt said. He can use the program to find information on what a customer bought five years ago, how much the customer spent, and if that customer bought any ancillary products.

The wholesaler recently started using the automated special order management function, which allows it to build, accumulate and stage special orders with a series of screens providing all of the information for special orders onto a single screen. This information includes dates and times orders are procured and delivered, purchase order numbers, and detailed expediting notes. On-screen text messaging with task and reminder notifications is integrated into the system to automatically direct alerts to users on changes in the status of a special order.

Schmidt's is also currently working on implementing bar coding technology in its warehouse.