Lumber Buying at 100 mph

Jeff Dill questions why dealers spend so much time buying lumber. At lots of yards, it can take hours going back and forth between mills, submitting requests and getting quotes. But with Woodbrowser software, it’s possible to tell as many as 300 mills of your needs simultaneously and then sit back and see what they offer. Dill, Woodbrowser’s president, says a purchase that might have occupied much of your morning now can be accomplished in 15 minutes, with results that match or beat the old way of doing things.

Meanwhile, an operation named plans to go live on Jan 1. It aims to give LBM software the look, feel, and functionality of software used in financial marketplaces.

Image courtesy of DMSi

Agile Deliveries

DMSi released Agility Mobile P.O.D., a mobile app that helps drivers in particular and dealers in general handle delivery and paperwork issues. The app lets customers, drivers, and staff track deliveries in real time; send notifications a delivery is en route; get Google Maps directions; view names and numbers of contacts at the delivery site; capture recipients’ signatures confirming delivery; take photos of the delivered load; and send invoices when deliveries are confirmed.

Ponderosa’s Sales Portal

Selling doors and windows became easier for Ponderosa customers when it unveiled a sales portal that enables dealer reps to configure products, generate a quote, and place an order via any web-connected computers or tablet. It’s integrated with most major door and window makers’ online configurators, Ponderosa says.

Providing a Stepping Stone into CRM

Installations of customer relationship management (CRM) software systems often fail because of those systems’ size and complexity. Spruce Computer says it has just completed an integration of its ERP system with Microsoft Dynamics’ Online CRM software. By doing so, Spruce users can go the CRM capabilities that Spruce already offers and “put a toe into the water” of a much more robust CRM system without having to spend lots of dollars and hours on an entirely new product. In other developments, Spruce says its next interface update will include a touchscreen user interface for its point of sale retail system.

Epicor Gets Set to Unveil Updates

If your operation uses Epicor software, you can expect to hear about several developments this summer revolving around the release of BisTrack 5.0. Among the features:

  • BisTrack AP Automation will streamline handling and processing of supplier invoices by using optical character recognition technology to extract pertinent information from scanned invoices and convert it into data. The system automatically enters data into Epicor BisTrack so invoices and the values within them are tracked and processed in accounts payable. The scanned image also can be attached to the BisTrack supplier invoice.
  • Epicor Tax Connect “automates the complex, burdensome process of managing of sales and use tax across multiple states and tax jurisdictions,” the company says. Its tax decision engine integrates with Epicor BisTrack to automatically validate addresses, calculate sales taxes, and generate necessary transaction reports.
  • Dealers and distributors that use Epicor BisTrack will be able accept account payments from their customers via the popular Automated Clearinghouse (ACH) electronic payment delivery system, in which funds can be deducted directly from a checking or savings account to pay the account balance. ACH payments are fast, convenient, and cost “considerably” less per transaction than credit card payments.

2020 Thinking

Imagine giving customers easy-to-use tools tied to your operation that would enable them to play with designs, products, layouts, and costs—all before and while they deal with you. That’s one benefit of 2020’s Ideal Spaces software, which has been used in Europe for several years now and is about to make its debut in the United States.

With 2020 Ideal Spaces, dealers will be able to offer sample showrooms in which consumers can pick from among the products sold at that LBM facility. Consumers can take these ideas and play with styles, colors, and materials via software that operates wherever they can access the internet. Then, with those ideas in hand, an LBM firm’s designers can refine the design by adjusting it to the exact room shape and by making expert suggestions.