iSales 100 Resources for Mobile Distributor Sales Automation

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Advanced Mobile Sales Apps for Distribution – Resource Guide

This resource page is designed to provide you a one-stop location to learn how to use iSales 100 (advanced mobile sales automation for distributor needs) to not only improve customer service and establish your distribution business as the most modern in your industry, but also to grow your business and your profits.

A great mobile sales solution starts when you and your team are confident that your solution will 1) meet and exceed your business objectives 2) create a great user and customer experience and 3) provide a high level of reliability and supportability.

Need additional resources or looking for more information on how iSales 100 can help your business?  Contact us at info@xkzero.com, call 847-416-2009 or visit www.xkzero.com.

Useful iSales 100 (Advanced Mobile Sales for Sage 100) Resources:

Need additional resources or looking for more information on how iSales 100 can help your business?  Contact us at info@xkzero.com, call 847-416-2009 or visit www.xkzero.com.

iSales 100

6 Cool Ideas for Distribution Companies

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Distributor sales rep
These days, with increasing frequency, your sales reps spend less time in the office tied to a desktop PC, and more time out and about—building relationships, and hopefully closing new deals for your distribution business. Have you given much thought to how well equipped your sales reps are—or are not—with mobile resources? Do they have access to the information they need? Are they prepared to anticipate and attend to the needs of customers and prospects? And can they do these things with the confidence and accuracy needed to win their trust, and ultimately—loyalty to your brand?

The key to more sales and happier customers could be sitting right in your sales person’s pocket. It can be as simple as taking advantage of the great mobile sales solutions available to distributors and manufacturers today. Think about it. If your sales reps are going to leave the office with just one tool in their pockets, shouldn’t it be one that provides information to make their lives—and your business—better?

Let’s look at 6 cool ideas for distribution companies -  specific things you can do for your sales reps to improve their performance:

  1. Provide downloadable and dynamic access to customer information and contact details. Not only do new sales reps normally have to manually enter all these details themselves—names, addresses, multiple contacts, phone numbers, email addresses and on and on—but they have to maintain them too. Let’s be realistic. Relying on manual updates, how accurate and complete will that data be over time?
    A good mobile sales app will allow you to distribute all the customer and contact info directly to the smart phone with only a login and a password. If you follow best practices, that information will be maintained in your back office ERP/CRM/accounting system. That way, you’ll never have another worry about whether your rep has accurate contact information to always be connected to your customers.
  2. While you’re at it, give them dynamic inventory access, too. This is especially useful if you can provide visibility by warehouse, and differentiate between quantity on hand and quantity available. If your inventory has visual appeal and your mobile app can display images, you’re on the path to eliminating those expensive, never current product catalogs you’re still publishing.
  3. Equip them with historical sales information. Do you want to convey to your customer that you DON’T care for them? Then make sure your sales reps are not able to recite what the customer has purchased from them throughout time—when and at what price. But if it’s informed sales reps you want, mobile access to sales history is vital.
  4. Let them enter their own orders. Does your sales process require making a call, or filling out an order form that’s faxed to the office to be rekeyed by someone else? If so, congratulations because by enabling a mobile sales app that allows for transaction entry will save you boat loads of administrative labor, and will get the orders placed, picked, and delivered faster. This will also eliminate all kinds of errors.
  5. Empower sales reps to accept payments, too. Even if your long-standing distributor relationship leads you to grant 30-day payment terms, perhaps a change is in order. The culture of immediacy of all things consumer apps (especially as millennials flood the workforce) may be reason to rethink payment collection. Let’s face it, no one wants a paper check. No one wants a paper invoice.
    And while you’re not likely to be accepting Bitcoin, swiping a credit card may become the new normal. If your business model includes selling at tradeshows, from a sales counter, or a showroom floor—taking payment directly on your smart phone or tablet could both delight your customer, accelerate your cash flow—and provides yet another opportunity to save on administrative costs.
  6. Have sales reps collect new intelligence. I see a lot of businesses scrambling to find the latest, greatest business intelligence tools. They seek the latest dashboard, the most meaningful pivot table, the easiest-to-use query. What I don’t often see is companies evaluating the nature of the information they collect.
    Mobile apps and smart phones are naturals for gathering survey information of any kind. That could be customer, competitor, sales rep, or vehicle data. You name it. Mobile apps also leverage a wide range of tools your smart phone or tablet affords, allowing you to collect photos, other images, videos, audio notes, electronic signatures, and even location-centric (GPS) data.

There are a number of important considerations before investing in a mobile sales app. However, as you can see—there is opportunity-a-plenty to stand out in your industry as the most informed, up-to-date, confident, efficient and modern distribution/manufacturing business. How cool is that?

Other resources distributors may be interested in:

Ready to build your own mobile sales strategy?  We’d love to hear from you. Email us at info@xkzero.com, visit www.xkzero.com, or call 847-416-2009.

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Webinar: Mastering Direct Store Delivery for Food & Bev with Sage ERP X3

Deliver sales and profits

Deliver sales and profits

Mastering Direct Store Delivery for Food & Bev with Sage ERP X3

Join us for a free Webinar
Friday, March 20, 2015 at 11:00 am CDT.


Register now!
https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/7851484255973751298

The Direct Store Delivery (DSD) segment of the food and beverage market is full of great companies who are limited by unnecessarily inefficient processes. Potentially unseen bottlenecks like truck loading, driver scheduling, customer routing, and the inability to perform transactions on location–like deliveries, returns, returns, credits, exchanges and payments–can limit the growth of these otherwise innovative companies.

Learn how to win new food and beverage manufacturing and distribution deals with Sage ERP X3 and xkzero Mobile Commerce–a combination that turns these operational limitations into great competitive advantages.

Find out how to supercharge your food and beverage marketing campaign by integrating a market-defining solution to automate route sales, deliveries, inventory controls, mobile payment acceptance and more into your processes.

In this Webinar, you will learn about these key points:

  • How grocers value direct store delivery
  • How comprehensive in-store automation works
  • Benefits of DSD
  • Best-fit industries for DSD
  • Back-office ERP benefits

The event will also include a high-level overview of the ways xkzero Mobile Commerce would be used by both an administrator and a driver/sales rep, and include use-case examples of the unique intelligence gathering features of geo-coding, photo-enablement, and more.

Space is limited so we encourage you to register now.  ​https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/7851484255973751298

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.

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About xkzero

xkzero is a Chicago-based software company dedicated to revolutionizing the way people work.   We believe that people perform best when they are confident, informed, and have a high level of trust in the tools they use. xkzero builds solutions designed for the best possible user experience, engineered in a flexible way to accommodate the needs of each individual and we adapt to the precise business rules that can vary industry by industry, company by company.

xkzero can help you discover a whole new dimension of selling, operations and business intelligence. We focus on the way your people interact with customers and suppliers, and interact with each other. We can help you change the way your business processes and reports business activity as it happens.

For more information about xkzero please contact us at info@xkzero.com or call 847-416-2009.

Re-imagine Your Selling Processes for Mobile ERP

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Your Sales Process Can Be Re-imagined

Your Sales Process Can Be Re-imagined

 

In a recent post we talked about how you can initiate a cultural shift in your organization by empowering the sales team with off-the-shelf apps that integrate with your ERP system.

By doing so, you improve your sales team’s ability to respond and react to situations that build customer confidence. However, it’s likely that this won’t help you create any substantial competitive differentiation since many of your competitors have easy access to the same or similar apps.

To truly disrupt the competition and win more marketshare, you need to make an honest evaluation of your current processes, systems and opportunities. This is a creative effort that can be accomplished through good old fashioned business process re-engineering.

Re-imagine a Common Sales Process

Let’s consider the challenge of a fictitious company called Seeson’s Greetings. Seeson’s Greetings sells Christmas and other holiday ornaments through wholesale distribution. Their industry is considered to be very competitive.

A major part of Seeson’s Greetings sales come from active participation at industry trade shows. From the trade show floor, Seeson’s team of sales reps need to provide quotes, orders and invoices, and in some cases, accept payment on the spot from their B2B clientele.

The current sales process for Seeson’s Greetings is manual, and looks something like this:

  • Confirm pricing for the customer in a printed catalog.
  • Prepare handwritten invoice/order form, and obtain a signature from the customer.
  • Call the office to provide credit card information.
  • Fax or physically deliver the handwritten invoice/order form to the office.
  • Enter sales activity into the ERP.
  • Send email order confirmation to the customer.
  • Document the transaction; either file the signed customer invoice in a cabinet, or manually scan and attach it to the invoice record in the ERP.

INEFFICIENCY MANIFESTED

This process is wrought with inefficiencies, and potential for mistakes, information delays, and effort duplication. In short, it is ripe for an overhaul. Here are some of the problem areas:

  • Trade show activity is not available to management in real-time.
  • Salespeople have no access to a customer’s prior sales history while interacting at a trade show.
  • Revenue and credit card receipt postings to accounting are delayed.
  • Warehouse inquiries are inaccurate because inventory quantities in the ERP don’t reflect trade show sales until later.
  • Excess labor costs are incurred by having additional staff enter the transactions.
  • Risk of error increases when entering after-the-fact data based on a hand-written form.

Seeson’s has some real opportunities to re-engineer the trade show selling process in a way that provides measurable benefits. These improvements include increased salesperson and customer confidence, reduced order processing labor costs, and greatly accelerated visibility of trade show activities at any moment in time.

BETTER PROCESSES ENABLE MORE SALES.

When engaging in process re-design, imagine all the benefits of making trade show sales with a smart phone or a tablet app designed for your ERP:

  • A salesperson can now review the customer’s history—on the spot.
  • Customer specific pricing is available, current and accurate.
  • Product bar code scanning speeds up customer checkout.
  • Swiping credit card data speeds up checkout, too.
  • Electronic signature capture improves accountability.
  • Photographic proof of delivery is captured.
  • Invoice receipt is automatically printed or emailed, saving time.
  • Geo-coded, time- and date-stamped transactions improve visibility.
  • Sales data, including the signature, the photo, the geo-code info, etc. is fed into the ERP immediately, increasing confidence.
  • Show activity is completely backed up. Re-keying of data is no longer necessary.

You’ve just re-imagined a process that, when acted upon, will likely increase the satisfaction of your customers, salespeople, customer service reps and most likely, management and ownership. Best of all, with this imagined process, you created documentation suitable to help evaluate software developers and determine who has the best technology and experience to satisfy your needs.

To learn more about how xkzero can help you develop a mobile ERP strategy to fit your business, please contact us at info@xkzero.com or 847-416-2009.

 

Infinite Peripherals: Streamlining Warehouse Operations with Mobile Devices

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xkzero Technical Services featured client solution:
Infinite Peripherals

Infinite Peripherals provides mobile point of sale (POS) devices to 30% of the top 20 U.S. retailers. As the premier manufacturer of mobile scanning, printing and payment swipe devices for Apple, Infinite Peripherals once had slow, paper-based manual warehouse processes that didn’t integrate with their Sage 100 ERP. As the products began to proliferate in the marketplace, the management team knew that to keep up with the continued demand, they needed better solutions.

Here is the story of why the company decided to hire xkzero to create customized software to meet the challenge, and also add some of its existing iOS apps into the mix. In the article below, “Streamlining Warehouse Operations with Mobile Devices,” originally published in July 2014 on the web site The BarCode News, Infinite Peripherals President Andy Graham writes about the partnership’s positive impact on operations.

Please note the bold, italicized text interspersed throughout the story below, and the introductory paragraph above was not included in the original article. It represents commentary by xkzero team members, and does not necessarily reflect the opinions of Infinite Peripherals.

In 2009, as Infinite Peripherals, Inc. (IPC) entered the mobile POS industry with its Linea Pro® (the first-to-market iOS peripheral), the company began experiencing significant growth and business opportunities. With increasing adoption of mPOS over the years, IPC rapidly expanded, outgrowing its warehouse and internal data systems to manage increasing inventory and order flow.

After six years in its former offices in Arlington Heights, Ill., IPC moved in December 2013 to a new corporate headquarters in Elk Grove Village, Ill. At 25,000 square feet, the new office and warehouse are triple the company’s former space, and are located in an industrial park minutes from O’Hare International Airport, through which most of the company’s products are shipped, as well as easily accessible from downtown Chicago.

Infinite Peripherals runs Sage 100 ERP to manage the wholesale distribution part of its business from end-to-end.

Built from raw space and designed by NELSON Chicago, the new offices feature a sleek, forward-thinking look that recently earned a RED Award from the Illinois Chapter of the International Interior Design Association (IIDA) for exemplary design.

Opportunity to Mobilize
The larger warehouse and corresponding surge in market demand presented an ideal opportunity for IPC to put its own devices, including the Linea Pro and Infinea Tab M™, to work to manage the business and streamline operations. The Linea Pro and Infinea Tab M, which both include a barcode scanner and magnetic stripe reader, attach to an iPod touch® and iPad® mini, respectively, and run on custom software to perform a variety of tasks.

infinite-peripherals2

Previously, the warehouse used a manual, paper-based system, which not only was time-consuming but also subject to occasional human error. Knowing the power and capabilities of its own products, IPC chose to eliminate this system entirely in favor of electronically gathering and recording data via the iPod touch and Linea Pro or the iPad mini and Infinea Tab M.

To make this happen, IPC partnered with xkzero, a software developer who already was using IPC devices with ERP business management software for data collection for its own customers. The software group shadowed IPC warehouse employees to experience firsthand and understand the typical work process, business needs and potential snags. xkzero then built a software framework that included the Apple® devices and IPC peripherals, incorporating a step-by-step replacement of what IPC warehouse staff formerly was doing manually.

With the paper-based system, employees facing special cases communicated via written notes, which were shared back and forth to keep operations moving. xkzero had to determine a way to incorporate this communications tool within the software to facilitate efficient workflow. Now, the notes are electronic and stay with the product throughout the entire process so that they are easily and quickly found, read and managed.

Due to the intuitive, user-friendly nature of the iPod touch and the iPad, along with the step-by-step software, training on the new system was remarkably rapid, only taking about two hours to familiarize the six-person IPC team with the automated, electronic process.

 xkzero fully automates the Pick, Pack and Ship processes for Infinite Peripherals, and also completes small parcel shipping by passing along the shipment information, including dimensions and weights, to Starship by V-Technologies. 

From start to deployment, it took xkzero approximately seven months to build the software infrastructure to communicate with the iOS device; and once the framework was set, the implementation process only lasted about two months.

Win-Win
Today, IPC handles inventory receipt, organization and picking; labeling (using the company’s DPP-450 mobile printer) and shipping; serial number tracking; and quality control with its new mobile platform. Currently, five IPC devices are used in the warehouse, including a new IPC product that is undergoing testing prior to launch.

Upon eliminating paper in the warehouse, the company had to determine a new way to identify boxes and shipping containers before they were labeled. In the past, staff would attach a picking list to boxes so that they knew their location. The team now uses its own mobile printer to create labels with a barcode; these labels are affixed to the boxes and can be easily scanned to identify contents and order details.

Infinite Peripherals Sage 100 ERP system users don’t waste unnecessary time navigating menus or failing to find what they are looking for fast enough because they use GetX-Universal Search for Sage 100 ERP by xkzero.

The mobile solution in the IPC warehouse enables the company to ship between 2,000 to 5,000 devices each week. Currently, there are approximately 400,000 IPC devices on the market, primarily in the retail, restaurant and hospitality sectors.

Infinite-peripherals3Using its own devices, IPC has benefitted from a 25 percent increase in productivity in the warehouse, along with reduced employee errors and significant time and cost savings.

With the advancement in technology and the rapid pace of business, opportunities for mobility have never been greater. It’s important to prioritize projects like this and develop a smart system now to be best prepared to be competitive in the future.

Infinite Peripherals equips their sales reps with iSales 100, the native sales app xkzero built exclusively for Sage 100 ERP. When IPC’s sales team members meet with major retailer customers, they now have easy access to the answers to all the important questions about information housed in their ERP. And they are ready to take an order or leave a quote any time, anywhere.

Article written by Andrew Graham, President & Co-Founder, Infinite Peripherals, Inc.

Original Article:
Graham, Andrew. “Streamlining Warehouse Operations with Mobile Devices.” BarCode.com The BarCode News, Web. July 2014.

About Infinite Peripherals, Inc.
Since 1993, Infinite Peripherals, Inc. (IPC) has been fueling mobility with cutting-edge mobile peripheral devices, receipt printers, mechanisms and receipt printer-related components. Numerous major retailers in the United States are moving to mobile POS with IPC’s Linea Pro® and Infinea Tab®, helping to transform shopping, drive traffic and increase customer conversion rates. Anticipating trends and pre-empting solutions for a constantly evolving business landscape, IPC enhances operations in retail and other industries, including healthcare, hospitality, transportation, warehouse and logistics, entertainment and security. For more information, please visit www.ipcprint.com.

 

 

Four Reasons to Visit xkzero at Sage Summit 2014

We are particularly excited about Sage Summit this year. We have a few new things to show you, so come on by booth #414. A lot of hard work goes into developing amazing apps and integrations for Sage ERP systems, so it’s great when we are able to get them in front of ERP users and Sage Software VARs. So, with that in mind, I’d like point out four reasons you should visit xkzero at Sage Summit (booth #414) this year:

Max-Large

Still frame from our xkzero Mobile Commerce video

One:

You may have heard this, but we launched xkzero Mobile Commerce last month at Interbev 2014. It’s an incredible new iPhone app that makes DSD, distribution and information gathering (competitive, operational, or otherwise strategic) super easy. While it was designed for Sage ERP X3, its flexible framework allows it to work with other ERP systems just as seamlessly. It’ll be great for you to see it first hand at Summit, and I encourage you to watch the 90 second video beforehand.

Two:
Pick up a cool new bottle koozie and enter to win an iPad Air (booth #414)!

Love_Customer_Giveawayipad_air

Three:
So, there’s this popular mobile sales and service app called iSales 100. We’ll have an exciting “3″ announcement about it and have many things to show you. If you are interested in mobilizing your sales and service teams (and getting mobile business intelligence), stop on by!

Four:
Did I mention stopping by booth #414 to grab a bottle koozie and a chance to win an iPad Air!?

Also, Paul will be speaking at one of the Thought Leadership Theaters at 1 p.m. on Wednesday. The session is called “Why mobile, why now? A decision maker’s guide to business success.” Didn’t sign up yet? You’ll have to settle for standing room only.

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