BPX Electro Mechanical Co
BPX goes online with Web Builder
Established in 1965, Leicester-based BPX is a major distributor of electrical and electronic control and machinery products. The family-owned company has nine branches across the UK and employs over 120 staff. BPX selected and went live with Web Builder, the integrated online trading application, to drive their business growth.
BPX is particularly proud of providing first class service to its customers - the company offers 60,000+ products from 50 manufacturers and makes use of IT to increase efficiency and improve its customers’ experience. Managing Director, Guy Collins, explained the rationale to offer online trading, “Our starting point, was not only about meeting existing customer expectations, but also focussing on using web technology to attract new customers, in the UK and internationally.”
As a OneOffice user, BPX decided that Web Builder, with integrated e-commerce and back-office capabilities, was the most effective platform for the project. Given the size of the company’s product range, it was clear that this would be a complex project for BPX. “The first priority was to understand Web Builder and the fine tuning required for our processes. Essential for us was the need to replicate online the quality of our offline customer relationships and, unlike some distributors who use central warehousing, our e-commerce system had to integrate with local branch operations.”
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System infrastructure was a key aspect of the project – a new server investment was required to ensure that the new website, carrying the online store, performed quickly and efficiently. However, the biggest challenge was the creation of the catalogue itself - it amounted to an eight person-year project. “We had to ensure that, insofar as possible, customers could access a consistent level of information across our product range - making their selections without having to phone to check stock, pricing or specification detail. The new website went live with 35,000 products, ready for our customers to buy.”
A time for change
As a 24/7 ‘shop window’, BPX acknowledges that Web Builder represents an immediate opportunity to improve services – knowing that building awareness and transaction levels will take time. Furthermore the company is preparing for some sales desk staff to migrate towards customer service and technical advisory roles. Growing the knowledge base across the company will be a real asset for BPX. “The initial roll-out was based on introducing the online trading facilities – including back-end processes, at each branch and to some of our more demanding customers. We wanted everyone to feel confident about the processes and the added value services. Another key point was to ensure customers individual trading and credit terms were clearly visible online,” said Guy.
Impact of online trading
Online trading can have a big impact for a multi-location B2B distributor. Some routines are immediately automated, some job roles become more advisory with fewer repetitive tasks. BPX also believes that its customer service function will be more productive. “Going online means immediately exposing our entire catalogue to the ‘risk of being sold'. As a result, we expect our breadth of stockholding to broaden and service levels to increase in this ‘want it now’ era. It’s also an imperative to monitor orders closely. If a customer buys product X, but omits essential product Y, we have to respond accordingly.”
A business milestone
Unquestionably, BPX recognises the value of the opportunities as a result of investing in an online experience and equally, as the company’s use of IT develops, customer benefits will grow. “In taking an evolutionary approach, we want to build upon our reputation and improve services in a controlled manner. Our new website, with Web Builder, is a milestone initiative for BPX,” concluded Guy.
- Online catalogue of 35,000 products
- Multi-location process capability
- Bespoke customer pricing
- Self-service – task automation
- Improve upselling and related product offer
- Structured introduction for online trading
- Starting point for further online developments
- 24/7 trading facility and global shop window
- Opportunity to extend customer base
- Customer-branch relationships maintained
- Improved customer service experience