The following article is from the March 2016 issue of OPI Magazine (with permission)
Southwest School & Office Supply went live with BMI on April 13, 2015. Aja Stickler, bid and marketing manager at the Jurupa Valley, California dealership, remembers the exact date as she says it is burned in her memory.
Southwest had been on its previous system for close to 20 years when it received notice that the system was being discontinued. That prompted an intense period of investigation and development to assure that the technology selected would meet the dealership’s business demands as the largest school supply dealer in California.
“BMI had what we needed and they were there for us during the whole conversion,” says Stickler. “Through every step of the process representatives from BMI have been available and they know what they are doing,” she says.
BMI’s employees made the difference when it came to training and working with Southwest employees. “They have some incredible programmers on staff who can walk you through the system and make you feel comfortable,” says Stickler. No matter what request she made, they never failed to come up with a solution, she adds.
The new system is cloud-based, which Stickler says is a good choice as the server they had been using was in need of maintenance. “We went with a provider called Rackspace, which was a recommendation from another BMI customer. Rackspace offers a computing infrastructure that hosts complex applications that run the latest data engines and e-commerce platforms.
“From a business standpoint BMI has enabled us to streamline operations,” explains Stickler. For example, warehouse operations have always been closely monitored but now that’s an automated process instead of paying someone to manually track how many lines a picker picked in a shift.
The system also has an iPhone-based proof of delivery feature that confirms the delivery process so that if there is ever any issue, personnel at Southwest can go in and see the signature and photo that confirms the delivery. “It also links to our ecommerce site so our customers can go online and look up their order history,” Stickler adds.
Another practical feature is the first-in-search offering that BMI offers. Because Southwest buys 90% of its inventory direct it didn’t make sense to utilize the search engine that its wholesaler offered. “We have over 6,000 of our own SKUs, and we wanted them to come up first,” says Stickler.
For more information about BMI Software for Business Product Distributors, click here.