ProMat DX2021: Plumbing and HVAC dealers unlock e-commerce potential

[Photo caption: Plumbing and HVAC wholesale distributor Ferguson is using these “smart” cages to allow customers to pick up online orders at its distribution facilities on a self-service basis. Instead of going to a will call counter, customers are given a QR code, which they can use to unlock the cage and pick up their products at any time that is convenient for them.]

Like many companies, Ferguson, a plumbing and heating, ventilation and cooling (HVAC) wholesaler, is seeing an increase in omnichannel retail as its customers place orders not only through traditional methods such as in person and over the phone, but also online through theirs Website or mobile app.

One way Ferguson is handling online order pick-up is to use a solution that was originally used with its sales reps to check out mobile devices: smart lockers.

Ferguson explained this new approach today in a training session at the ProMat DX2021 digital trade show. According to Chris Everett, Director of Supply Chain Strategy, Ferguson uses Apex Supply Chain Technologies smart lockers in its distribution facilities to store mobile devices such as RF scanners and hip printers. Before each shift, employees enter their own personal code to check the equipment they will need for the day. They then check the devices back into the lockers at the end of their shift.

In partnership with Apex, Ferguson has changed this locker solution for customers collecting orders. Because Ferguson’s products can vary in size from a piece of copper tubing to a water heater, the lockers have been replaced with a larger cage setup. When customers place an order, they receive a QR code that they can use to open the cage. The self-service cages have made the collection process more efficient and allow customers to collect products outside of Ferguson’s normal operating hours.

Registered ProMat DX participants can access the presentation again on request after April 19th. Interested participants can still register for the show here.

(Apex Supply Chain Solutions,

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