Stuck in the Middle, a Distributor Aims to Please All Sides

Diamond Paper taps solution to give manufacturers more sales data and customers round-the-clock inventory information

Diamond Paper taps solution to give manufacturers more sales data and customers round-the-clock inventory information

Yardley, PA — November 17, 2003 — Charles Kurzweg admits that competitive pressures might have squeezed his business, Diamond Paper Co., out of the market if he did not have the right technology in place.

As a master distributor, Kurzweg must deal with manufacturers searching to streamline processes and customers insisting on better, faster access to information and lower prices.

To handle these evolving — and escalating — demands, Kurzweg turned to software from solution provider Prophet 21 technology.

Prophet 21's CommerceCenter, a Windows-based solution, has helped Diamond Paper stay profitable by providing the functionality the company needs to meet manufacturers' requirements, and the provider's B2B Seller, a Web-based storefront, gives customers access to account-specific information around the clock.

By using these two integrated solutions, Kurzweg has increased sales and improved customer and supplier satisfaction.

Managing Manufacturers

To cut transaction costs and consolidate their supply chain, many manufacturers turn smaller accounts over to distributors like Diamond Paper. "It's easier to sell me a truckload of paper towels than it is to sell minimum orders to four other distributors," Kurzweg said.

Before taking over the accounts, Kurzweg had to prove that he had the tools to provide manufacturers with comprehensive customer reports. "Even though I'm selling the products, manufacturers still need point-of-sale information for their marketing departments," he said. "They want customer profiles, data on buying trends, almost anything you can think of."

Because Kurzweg could use report-writing tools to pull highly detailed, customized data from CommerceCenter's SQL Server database, he won the right to do business with many of his manufacturers' smaller accounts. "It's increased sales in some of my largest lines by about 20 percent," he said. "It's made a huge difference in our cash flow."

The Power of the Web

In addition, Kurzweg understands that many of his customers simply don't have time to call for price and availability information during regular business hours. "We deal with a lot of small, family-owned businesses where everyone puts in 10-hour workdays," he said.

Kurzweg invested in a Prophet 21 B2B Seller Web site, offering access to the company's complete catalog, to give his customers round-the-clock inventory information. And, since it is integrated with Diamond Paper's CommerceCenter solution, users can access specific pricing information, saving time and eliminating calls to Kurzweg's customer service staff.

Diamond Paper's B2B Seller site also sparked an up-tick in sales simply because customers learn more about the company's offerings. "We've increased sales to existing customers by 5 percent just because they're taking time to browse a little bit," he said. "A few customers who traditionally buy foodservice supplies learned that we also offer cleaning equipment, and they're purchasing that now, too."

"Prophet 21 understands the pressures distributors face on a day-to-day basis," said Chuck Boyle, Prophet 21 president and CEO. "We provide the tools they need to manage the changes and challenges coming from all sides."