As a certified Channel Partner of Infor ERP, Expertek’s cloud-based solutions and services cater to the distributor’s needs in order processing, eCommerce, inventory control, warehousing, business intelligence, CRM, automation, and much more. In this interview with CIO Applications, Ken Mostello, Co-founder and CEO of Expertek, explains how they are enabling small and medium-sized distributors to stay ahead of the competition and remain profitable.
Please tell us about the evolution of the distribution industry and how it stands today.
Back in the 1990s, the primary area of concern for distribution companies was reducing the cost of inventory management. When large retailers, including Home Depot, sought to expand their market share, several smaller distributors lost their business, while few others were acquired by giant distribution companies. These dynamics dramatically changed the distribution market. Moreover, the rapid adoption of eCommerce in the last two decades completely disrupted the distribution landscape.
Throughout its journey, Expertek consistently delivered solutions and services which directly addressed these evolving challenges. When we saw the rise of ecommerce, we developed solutions and services which helped distributors sell their products on popular ecommerce marketplaces and increase their overall online presence. It is that focus on consistently identifying ways to transform our customers’ businesses which has helped us become one of the preferred solutions and services providers for distributors.
As a valued partner of Infor, we complement their offerings. Although they bring state-of-the-art business solutions to the market, the rich set of functionalities of these products still needs some customization to address the unique requirements of distributors. This gap is where we find our relevance. While they deliver complete solutions for executing business operations, we fill the gaps through customization of those solutions for greater operational agility and robust workflow.
Tell us about your client engagement strategy.
Currently, distribution is one area of the business world where technology is yet to fully make its mark. And the biggest reason for this is the legacy technology infrastructure. Most distributors are operating outdated ERP systems. As a result, much of our work is replacing their underperforming ERP systems with high performing and flexible ERP systems that are built on modern and innovative platforms. Unlike the older traditional ERP systems which were focused on more accounting functions that demanded frequent updates, the ERP solution offered by Expertek is designed to directly address distributors’ operational needs.
As a valued partner of Infor, we complement their offerings
In addition, Expertek helps distributors grow their business online by selling their products through a cloud-based eCommerce platform. The platform integrates with Infor solutions suite and allows distributors to carry out analytics, advertising, content creation, and commerce, so they can deliver an enhanced customer experience and generate higher revenue.
Share with us a case study that highlights your value delivery.
We have served a plethora of distributors that has made us a go-to partner in the market. A case in point is a local marine supply distributor. This client had built a significant web presence selling marine parts and supplies worldwide through ecommerce marketplaces like Amazon and eBay. Since the nature of the business is highly seasonal, there’s alot of stress on the organization during the boating season to ship orders accurately and on time. When Expertek engaged with them, there were inefficiencies throughout the operations. For instance, there was no automated workflow in place between the ecommerce marketplaces and their ERP. Moreover, they lacked a warehouse system that could locate products and direct activities. Today, orders flow automatically through the system. The intelligent, automated workflow determines which warehouse will ship an order while automation rules are in place to deal with things like substitutions and low stock situations. Exceptions that cannot be handled automatically are identified, flagged and reviewed, but most orders are unseen until they appear on a picker’s handheld scanner in the warehouse. Today they are close to being a totally automated or a ‘lights out’ operation which is quite an achievement.