Digital Transformation in Manufacturing: Elevating the Customer Experience Using Technology
Let’s face it: For those not involved, the industrial manufacturing industry isn’t one people usually associate with being on the leading edge of technology. Many people conjure up thoughts of bulky machines, pollution and loud facilities rather than nimble teams, clean environments and integrated technology.
But what happens when you combine the power of digital transformation with a deep commitment to customer service? At Zekelman Industries, we’re utilizing the latest technology to streamline operations and the way our customers interact with us.
Automated Inventory Management
With Automated Inventory Management (AIM), Zekelman integrates our customers’ needs with our steel coil supply, current inventory, and production schedules in real time. All our customers need to do is identify their high-priority “A” and “B” items in our system, and then those products will automatically be replenished — cutting costs and saving time.
Auto-replenishing products allow our customers to open up their floor space by carrying up to 75% less inventory without stocking out. It also can help them reduce how much time their teams spend on ordering by up to three hours per week, turn inventory faster and improve order accuracy.
In an age where online shopping has become the norm, we’re laser-focused on e-commerce at Zekelman. Z-Commerce, our e-commerce platform, provides our customers access to all the information they need to plan, purchase and track orders of our steel pipe and tube products online.
The best part? It’s available 24/7 and has real-time information. Like AIM, Z-Commerce uses technology to eliminate the guesswork for our customers, quickly connecting them to real-time information about our products in one convenient portal.
Electronic Data Interchange
Although electronic data interchange (EDI) is an older means to exchange data, Zekelman has a broad range of EDI capabilities available to customers in nearly every market we serve. Distributor partners can manage vast quantities of data and information about their orders more efficiently. EDI allows them to send and receive purchasing information, order confirmation, shipment notification, and more in a standard electronic format that saves time and improves accuracy. Using EDI instead of traditional paper-based systems for transactions, including invoices and purchase orders as well as product activity data, lets teams replace tedious, error-prone business processes that may lead them to order the wrong quantity or item.
“Utilizing new technologies has not only improved our manufacturing and products; it’s improved our processes and allowed us to stock material more effectively and deliver more quickly,” says Jesse Comber, regional sales manager, Wheatland Tube, in Wheatland, Pennsylvania. “That has increased the overall level of service our customers see. From their standpoint, we can be a one-stop shop.”
Our investment in digital initiatives like customer-facing portals doesn’t just make life easier for Zekelman customers. It also enhances transparency by letting them view the real-time pricing of products and check current and future inventory on demand. That level of visibility is key to building long-term customer relationships where success is a mutual goal.
“We don’t want to just take an order and forget about it,” Comber says. “We want to continue to build on and grow that business consistently so that we better serve [customers] and support their growth objectives.”
Zekelman is constantly evolving and optimizing our operations to deliver innovative products for customers. Watch our video to learn more.