Gorlick’s Distribution Centers, a distributor for under car exhaust with seven locations throughout California, Oregon and Washington state, has managed its business-to-business (B2B) ordering system in the last 40 years. During that time, many innovations in technology and system upgrades have been made throughout the business. Contemplating the next evolution of its ordering system, Gorlick’s turned to Vertical Development Inc. for help.
After many years of running a manual, but refined system, the process of automating certain aspects might seem like a big challenge. However, the two companies were able to leverage the power and scalability behind ShowMeTheParts by integrating the database and shopping cart into Gorlick’s existing website and ERP system to create an easy-to-manage retail structure for the company and a simplified buying process for its customers.
“We built a sophisticated toolset for exchanging information with other systems. It allows companies like Gorlick’s to present a unique look and business logic to a B2B or B2C solution without having to worry about accurate and timely catalog information,” says Jay Wright, president of Vertical Development.
The volume and variety of Gorlick’s inventory might be a deterrent to undertaking the upgrade. If it's related to exhausts, Gorlick’s Distribution Centers carries it. The company’s stock includes the usual pipes, mufflers and catalytic converters, as well as supplies for exhaust shops including benders and welding tips.
Dealing with such a large inventory is difficult, but it becomes more complicated due to the wide range of vehicle options and differing emissions standards across the country. There's a national standard, a standard set by CARB in California, and states that adhere to CARB recommendations to a varying degree. Those cars often change owners and states, so it's hard for shops to keep track of what they'll need for jobs. Add in the slight variations within models for different engines and exhaust options, and the range of possibilities can be staggering.
Vertical Development’s ShowMeTheParts database has a large number of parts and interchanges, including Gorlick’s brand of exhaust products and the other product lines it carries. By integrating the database directly into its B2B website and adding the new shopping cart feature, Gorlick’s customers can find what they need for specific jobs with little vehicle information. Customers can also see if the parts are available and place an order without leaving the catalog page. Since ShowMeTheParts’ web and mobile interface was designed and tested to ensure ease of use, customers don't have to work hard to find what they need to order. The improved user interface reduces ordering time for clients and almost eliminates time that Gorlick’s customer service team has spent answering parts questions. Gorlick’s said it takes pride in offering a high level of customer service, and this gives its customers another reason to go to them first for parts.
“ShowMeTheParts has extremely accurate and updated parts information that we felt was vital to our ongoing success," says Luke VanValkenburg, chief of operations for Gorlick’s Distribution Centers. "We decided we needed to upgrade our B2B website to serve our customers and staff better."
The ShowMeTheParts' integration also has helped with Gorlick’s back-end operations. Vormittag Associates helped Gorlick’s create a website built around IBM's Websphere platform and its Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system S2K Enterprise while referring customers to ShowMeTheParts.com for parts information. With the help of Vertical Development, Vormittag was able to integrate these three systems to create a single, unified platform. With the shopping cart and catalog built into the website, all order information is in one place.
On the back end, the order information is then turned over to the ERP system directly, helping Gorlick’s manage distribution, ordering and manufacturing through a single platform instead of porting data manually between the systems. This process saves considerable time and helps Gorlick’s keep on top of customer demands. This new e-commerce system also has increased Gorlick’s online B2B business.
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