Swift Electrical, one of the largest distributors of domestic appliances in the UK, has selected B2B e-commerce vendor, On Demand Solutions, to provide it with ODSNET E-commerce to support its existing ODSNET Financials system. Enabling the business to create a single, fully integrated system which supports the creation of complex pricing/ discounting structures for distributors and wholesalers, while allowing them to fully automate their business processes from the web front-end through to the back office accounting and supply chain functions.
Founded in 1978, Swift Electrical has become one of the largest distributors of domestic appliances in the UK. The family run company has a distribution centre in Stoke on Trent and provides white goods – from kitchen appliances to sinks and taps - to smaller electrical wholesalers, retailers, as well as independent kitchen retailers.
Realising that in today’s market, customer interaction must include an online channel, Swift initially started to explore the development of an e-commerce platform for its distribution business over three years ago. Like many other organisations, the company initially looked to work with a local web development company using standard website development software. However, under closer inspection, the solutions on the market simply could not provide the specific and complex requirements of a B2B distribution business.
Adrian Eyres, Technical Director, Swift Electrical, comments, “Most of the competition run web systems that produce a sales order which is then manually uploaded into the back office system. Swift wanted a fully automated solution that runs straight through from customer to back office to enable the web to become just one more sales channel.”
Critically, the new system would need to integrate effectively with the existing ODSNET Financials system, from On Demand Solutions, that Swift has used for over a decade. The integrated warehouse, sales, finance and stock management system provides complete visibility of stock at any time, as well as real-time reporting on sales and therefore is fundamental to the operation of the business.
Most website development solutions create a typical retail style e-commerce site, offering one price for each product. The wholesale market, by contrast, includes multiple manufacturer led promotions as well as different prices to reflect the discounts negotiated by each retailer, as Swift sells to retailers and integrators who are themselves selling on the goods and appliances. Swift needed to be able to support this complex pricing matrix as part of its standard pricing.
Eyres continues, “Whilst Swift operates Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm, growing numbers of customers are open six, even seven days a week. It is therefore important to offer not only the ability to research products, check product availability and place orders but also undertake other administrative tasks, such as tracking order history, out of standard business hours. The whole aim is to offer our retailers a choice of interaction and a service that is available 24 x 7.”
Following extensive consultation with On Demand Solutions, Swift now has a fully integrated web e-commerce platform. Running ODS E-commerce with ODSNET Financials ensures online customers are presented with up-to-date stock information, and are able to create the complex pricing/ discounting structures necessary.
Eyres concludes, “Swift has been in business for 40 years but it is important to continually evolve. The expansion into online sales for our B2B retailers and direct to end consumers is exciting and will drive new revenue streams for our business. However, it has to be an integrated business model. Working with On Demand Solutions has enabled Swift to achieve a low-cost, yet robust, enterprise-scale system which deals with all of the complex issues of supply chain delivery through a single integrated e-commerce system at minimal cost.”
To read a full case study outlining the work which On Demand Solutions has undertaken with Swift Electrical click here.