Revolutionising the print channel, one supply chain at a time

Posted on Apr 30 2015 - 12:24pm by John Peters
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As ByBox opens a new local distribution centre in Coventry (see box), managing director Mark Garritt explains how the company has

Managing Director Mark Garritt

Managing Director Mark Garritt

brought greater effiiency to the printer channel.

Founded in 2000, ByBox started a revolution in fild services by delivering parts and tools overnight to a network of lockers for engineers to pick up in the morning. Today, its locker network comprises over 1,800 locations nationwide.

Managing Director Mark Garritt says that ByBox’s network has signifiant benefis for the printer industry.

“An outsider looking in might think the set-up (in the printer channel) is convoluted, with dealers and distributors sitting between the OEMs and end customers. But those on the inside – the vendors, buyers and dealers – appreciate the added benefis that this supply chain provides, especially in instances where OEMs have a centralised European warehouse model,” he said.

For such a model to work – and for the channel to provide the service levels end users expect – Garritt says it is vital for engineers and dealers to be able to source the parts they need without delay.

“In today’s digitised world, providing strong support services to keep equipment up and running should be one of the main priorities for all involved in the print industry. After all, dealers need to ensure that their service is up to scratch, not just to keep those who buy from them happy, but also to ensure good relationships with their product providers. In order to do this, the easiest method is to construct an all-in-one engineering and delivery supply chain,” he said.

This is just what ByBox makes possible. Its technology runs throughout the entire supply chain, from delivery planning through to locker design, to ensure that stock and replacement parts are distributed from OEMs to customers as effiiently as possible.

“Typical distribution networks require large amounts of warehousing on the part  of the OEM, covering all the parts that may be required at one time, and also have ineffiient delivery systems to customers and engineers, as parts are dropped off one-by-one. Yet new technology is helping to streamline this model. New software that can locate a specifi piece of inventory in any part of the supply chain means that OEMs no longer need to have such largescale storage operations,” Garritt explained.

Instead, parts and equipment can be held either by the distributor or the OEM and automatically routed through the network to wherever they are required, reducing turnaround times and negating the need for large stockpiles.

..it is vital for engineers and dealers to be able to source the parts they need without delay

..it is vital for engineers and dealers to be able to source the parts they need without delay

Delivery has been improved, too, with locker technology replacing the ‘classic’ model that requires engineers to drive to a warehouse to pick up inventory and then go direct to the recipient. “Locker pick up points improve effiiency by the simple virtue of location,”

said Garritt. “They are closer to the engineers, thus reducing the time spent travelling. They also provide set delivery locations rather than a plethora of individual drop-off points, reducing the time and fuel used in getting parts to engineers. These two simple factors allow a dealer to sell to a wider area, as engineers are less constrained by their pick-up and drop-off locations, saving costs while also opening up avenues for new business.”

Garritt says that such a multi-faceted supply chain should be high on the list of any dealer looking to develop its services in today’s highly competitive environment.

“Digital requirements are only going to increase, so dealers will naturally be competing with each other to ensure their service is the pick of the bunch. The back room logistics behind the business should be the fist area to be looked at, as developing and modernising this can revolutionise the service provided, helping to retain customers, build OEM relationships and create a rock-solid enterprise,” he said.