Recently, the industrial supply, maintenance and repair equipment company Grainger adopted new data collection software to better manage its products across different channels. This was primarily driven by the company's desire to improve customer satisfaction and make operations more efficient.
Grainger decided that mobile data collection tools could help boost its product information management efforts, make workflows more efficient and provide greater access to data across its supply chain, marketing and sales efforts. Before adopting the new system, the company's data was too scattered for it to be useful to the decision-making process.
Gene Rados, Grainger's Senior Director of Projects and Content Management, told TechTarget that because data wasn't shared with consumers and was inconsistent across the company, confusion in the supply chain as well as in its sales and marketing departments was commonplace. For example, it was sometimes unclear if the unit of measure was used to evaluate what the company was buying or selling.
"People in the warehouse wanted to change the description to support UOM," explained Rados. "The quotes department wanted to change the short description which, in turn, was eventually followed by the e-commerce team, which said they weren't descriptive enough. After a while, they found themselves backtracking to fill data gaps in order to help a specific department with whatever problem they wanted to solve."
The new software has had a positive effect on the company's productivity, as it enables Grainger to add thousands of new items each year, which is many more than its legacy system allowed. The process of adding new products is also much easier with this system than it was with the older software.
By consolidating these efforts using data collection software, Grainger was able to work through its problems and create a greater level of consistency, accuracy and visibility across its operations. This has allowed the company to identify supply chain, production issues and data inconsistencies, explained TechTarget. Rather than waiting for problems to occur, Grainger can forestall issues, transforming its management practices from reactive to proactive.