The right software can remove operational complexity and associated costs. Gas cylinder tracking and credit card processing offer unique functionalities for customers. 24/7 operability available for distributors and retailers.
The addition of the INFONETICS software products and team to the Datacor family of brands provides unique solutions and the deepest experience in the gas, welding and industrial supply (GWIS) industry, bringing order to an industry that is heavily characterized by small- to mid-sized companies.
From tracking gas cylinders, managing bulk gas and cylinder filling, and arranging deliveries to processing orders and managing customers’ accounts, there is a whole lot of complexity to deal with – particularly for an industry that ranges from a large, multi-store retailer down to a ‘Mom and Pop’ operation.
As a welding and packaged gas distributor, you are faced with several challenges on a daily basis, not least of which is dealing with contractors working at multiple sites and managing their differing needs down to the one-off, walk-in anonymous customer who just wants to buy a cylinder of helium to blow up balloons for a party.
By the very nature of their flexibility and smaller size versus their much larger, regional counterparts, SMEs are intensely focused on the needs of their customers. Consequently, they are able to bend over backwards to help a customer that rings up late in the afternoon – or even in the evening – demanding acetylene first thing the next morning because they’ve run out. However, their desire to please and their ability to respond rapidly also adds another complication to SME’s dispatch and delivery process, with the result that they often exist in a natural state of chaos.
Having a software system that can optimize loading and delivery routes, and elegantly and easily deal with such a chaotic working environment is critical – not to say priceless. Datacor offers transportation management systems that can bring significant savings in logistics costs.
Key Software Functionalities
What does a distributor to the GWIS industry seek from its software? Perhaps the most valuable and much-needed ability is tracking the gas cylinders – possibly the most significant investment that a distributor makes.
Seeing that distributors generally run a fleet of gas cylinders, keeping tabs on these is paramount, particularly given that there could be hundreds of them in use at any one time on huge and complex building sites. Tracking where that cylinder is – right down to its specific serial number – is a key challenge for the GWIS industry and one that Datacor’s TrackAbout software specializes and excels in.
Layered on top of that functionality – and exclusively for the GWIS industry – is INFONETICS’ back-office and ERP-integrated software for managing sales, processing orders, accounts receivable and payable, not forgetting managing and replenishing the hundreds of thousands of SKUs that distributors hold in their inventory.
Also marking an exciting and important addition to Datacor’s traditional offering, is the ability to process credit card payments at the point of sale, which is becoming the de facto standard. This functionality – a response to the increasing need for a point-of-sale environment that caters to the cash or anonymous customer – is becoming increasingly important for retailers.
Many distributorships are going through generational change, as ‘Mom and Pop’ look to retire and younger family members move up to lead the business. This generally brings a desire from the new generation to upgrade their company software as their parents’ system may no longer suit the realities of today’s world. The INFONETICS team already has a suite of programs available so that existing, early generation users of its software can easily be migrated to its next-generation Datacor platform.
This generational shift is also spurring a bigger need for a B2B portal, so that customers can log in, place new orders, pay invoices, and browse their order histories – basically enabling the distributor or retailer to be open 24/7.
Datacor’s CRM platform provides all the functionality needed here, but we’re not resting on our laurels and are now looking at B2C commerce where our ERP platform can interface with a variety of e-commerce solutions that distributors are implementing.
Datacor is committed to offering unparalleled expertise and becoming the leading software provider to the GWIS market. So whether you’re a large, multi-store retailer or a smaller operation, let us take the hassle out of running your GWIS distributorship. Datacor can take the strain off your shoulders and transform your business to a seamless yet still flexible and customer-friendly operation.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
What kind of software does a supplier of gas and welding equipment need?
The ideal software would be one dedicated exclusively to the industry that provides real-time tracking of cylinders, inventory management, order processing, accounting, leasing, route optimization, among others, as well as B2B and B2C functionality.
What is gas cylinder management software?
It is a system to track and manage a company’s entire gas cylinder fleet so that it knows at any given time where the cylinders are located, i.e. its own premises or a customer’s site, and whether the cylinders are empty or full.
What is industrial gas used for?
Industrial gases are used throughout the workplace for a large number of applications and processes. The cylinders are heavily used for welding and cooking applications.