Manager – Digital Sales Alliance, Wesco
Wesco offers a best-in-class product and services portfolio of Electrical and Electronic Solutions, Communications and Security Solutions, and Utility and Broadband Solutions. The Company employs approximately 20,000 people, partners with the industry's premier suppliers, and serves thousands of customers around the world. With millions of products, end-to-end supply chain services, and leading digital capabilities, Wesco provides innovative solutions to meet customer needs across commercial and industrial businesses, contractors, government agencies, institutions, telecommunications providers, and utilities. Wesco operates approximately 800 branches, warehouses and sales offices in more than 50 countries.
Purchase Orders (PO’s) and reorder requests were cumbersome and manual in physical locations where technology could not be installed impacting customers and Wesco teams. Wesco teams would conduct weekly onsite customer inventory counts to replenish products, calculating min/max reorder needs via pencil/paper. This would be handed to customers for data entry into their ERP system to request from Wesco. A customer PO would then be sent to the Wesco sales team to enter into the Wesco order entry systems on the customers behalf. This process was further complicated as Purchase Orders (on average 250-line items) would often need to be split into multiple orders to meet customer delivery needs.
The customer requested to receive their reorder requests electronically, reducing their work along with speeding up the cycle time from request to delivery. The customer set an aggressive date for requiring digitalization.
Wesco’s Sales and Digital Sales Alliance teamed up and led a larger cross-functional team to make magic happen. Altogether, they analyzed and evaluated options to meet the customers timeline and needs. No existing solutions could satisfy everything and updating existing technology could not be accomplished in the time required (and would require investment). In addition, IT/Digital had not historically deployed tablets supporting these specific Wesco sales needs (devices needed to be rugged and support mobile data entry). In addition, different technology teams collaborated to take unstructured data and digitalize it for easy consumption into Wesco and our customers systems for faster processing.
The cross-functional Wesco team, combined API and BOT capabilities, along with providing new tablets to Wesco sales field teams, delivering an integrated, electronic solution on time to the customer. Wesco sales now completes reorder counts via tablets, on a preconfigured count sheet (cross-functionally designed by the Wesco team). The count sheet auto-calculates all reorder request quantities. Wesco sale simply emails a single count sheet to the BOT, simplifying order entry into the Wesco ordering system. This BOT performs all previously manually supported functions (such as price, unit of measure, etc.) via API feed, mapping data via EDI. It also splits the sheets into multiple orders upon entry, formatting all data for customer consumption. This Purchase Order is then easily sent to the customer for electronic approval, removing additional data entry and touchpoints. This automation is now available to use with other similar customers where manual entry was previously the only option for Wesco sales and customers.
The Wesco IT/Digital and Sales teams were able to calculate the estimated time savings (roughly 10 minutes per order) previously entered manually by both Wesco and our customer. In the past 2 months since digitalizing, Wesco processed 130 orders for the requesting customer through this new API/BOT-enabled process. Resulting in a total of 22 hours saved to date and removing the manual support needed by the customer.
Wesco IT/Digital and Sales have already worked together to setup an additional 9 customers with this digital option. Accounting for additional digitalized revenue and increasing efficiency (saving an identified additional 15 hours of Order Entry time during this 2-month period.)
This solution uses a combination of BOT automation technology, EDI and API. These have been layered over with standard software applications such as Microsoft Outlook, Microsoft Excel, EDI and API software. In addition to software, the sales teams have been fitted with rugged, state-of-the-art devices/tablets to enable quick entry and uploading of information.
Previously, tablets were not standard issue for Wesco Teams as part of their field work. Through this digitalization project we were able to add tablets as a standard IT request. As a result, Wesco sales are now able to upload customer requests while in the field (no longer tethered to desktops). Wesco’s response time to support reorder needs is now faster. Wesco Sales teams have also benefitted as they no longer had to manually adjust multiple PO’s that may have had different delivery date requests tied to them. Lastly, customers no longer need to enter requests within their systems to send to Wesco. Wesco’s API/BOT solution means they simply approve the PO requests coming from Wesco Sales teams.
At the start of this project the team wasn’t confident a BOT would work. A paid 3rd party solution was being used in some parts of the business to automate information. The success of this API/BOT meant that the 3rd party solution is no longer needed.
IT/Digital, Supply Chain, and Sales teams collaborated quickly to meet our customer's deadline to deliver value and efficiency. This required identifying and coordinating multiple teams across the enterprise, synthesizing all the moving parts into one seamless rapid outcome.
Wesco International (NYSE: WCC) builds, connects, powers and protects the world.Headquartered in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Wesco is a FORTUNE 500® company with more than $21 billion in annual sales and a leading provider of business-to-business distribution, logistics services and supply chain solutions.