“Digitalisering draagt bij tot klantvriendelijkheid”
DIY stores, garden centres, supermarkets and other stores impose strict requirements on their suppliers. In that respect, the digitalisation and automation of the ordering and invoicing processes is becoming increasingly important. It is an aspect to which Plastinox is strongly committed. Two years ago, leadership of the importer and wholesaler from Kortrijk came into the hands of a young entrepreneur, Michiel Vrielinck, someone who is happy to work with Soft Naert in order to optimise the tailored ERP package even further and to upgrade the communication with customers at all levels.
Plastinox is the life work of Philippe Glorieux. He turned the importer and wholesaler of pharmacy products, cookware and plastic household articles into a powerful enterprise. Two years ago he passed the business on to Michiel Vrielinck. “I had known Plastinox for some time because I was a commercial rep at a company that distributed their products. The large product range and the fact that each product is available per piece have always been important selling points. When Philippe Glorieux, due to a lack of family successors, sounded me out about taking over the company, we quickly came to an agreement. Two years later and I haven’t regretted taking that step for a second, also because Philippe is still associated with the company as an advisor.”
Under Michiel Vrielinck’s leadership, Plastinox is ready for the next phase of the expansion. “We already supplied our products to many Belgian DIY stores, garden centres, supermarket operators and other independent retailers. In addition to these independent retailers, we are now also reaching more and more DIY chains, among other things by focusing on exclusivity. In this context, we develop concepts for an attractive shop presentation per product type or brand, which provide good added value and create a win-win situation.”
The collaboration between Plastinox and Soft Naert started in 2014. “It was then that the Izegem-based IT specialist developed a tailored ERP package for us,” Michiel continues. “This made it possible for us to be even more flexible and to respond to our customers’ needs in a more targeted way. That package forms a perfect basis for our plans to expand further. Time-saving functionalities for quotations and price lists were already added. In the meantime, the communication with our customers is increasingly via EDI.”
“For our largest customers, this is an absolute must. In this way, orders are automatically read into our ERP system. This eliminates a great deal of time-consuming work and reduces the error rate because there are no more human interventions. The automated invoicing follows on the basis of these orders. We have chosen deliberately to work step by step. The intention, in a subsequent phase, is to provide the customer with an order confirmation and information about the delivery date automatically. In this way, the customer will know exactly when he can expect the goods so that he has the information required in order to organise his internal processes.”
Orders are received at Plastinox in various ways: by phone, through the B2B webshop, EDI or from our own reps. “In our business, having a professional and high-performance IT infrastructure is a must, but the human aspect remains crucial. That is why our reps regularly visit our customers, to see how we can improve our service further. During these visits, they can use a scanner to make an inventory of the remaining stock and immediately place any orders necessary in order to complete the product range. Those orders also come automatically into our ERP system and are processed in next to no time.”
On an online B2B portal, also developed by the specialists of Soft Naert, customers can find all possible information about orders, payments and the order history. “That forum also contains our full product range. The intention is to expand the portal with other useful functions before the end of the year. These include, for example, the size and weight of a product, and we also want to highlight the products with the fastest turnover or items that are complementary to those ordered.”
The B2B portal and the ERP system are crucial for the very customer-focused approach of Plastinox. “As a wholesaler you are an essential link between the manufacturer and the retailer. It is crucial that we adapt to the specific pricing, strategy and product requirements of our customers. That is why we will continue to invest in IT in the future. Our ambition is also to optimise our warehouse and stock management as well. Automation will also be indispensable there. Undoubtedly our contact person at Soft Naert will also support us in coming up with a tailor-made solution,” concludes Michiel Vrielinck.
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