For the BMF's brand-new feature ‘Technology in Focus’ in their member magazine One Voice, they got the low-down from our very own Adam Butler; BI Consultant here at Phocas UK.
Incase you missed it, here's his interview in full. Enjoy!
Why is technology investment so important for the industry?
In a highly competitive market like merchanting, technology can be a real source of competitive advantage for those willing to invest. Digital technology, such as BI and data analytics, can significantly improve business processes and drive long-term growth for branches, suppliers and customers.
In your opinion, what's the biggest barrier in the sector to implementing new technologies?
Historically, the construction industry has been slow to adopt new technology to improve operations, with many players dedicating just one percent or less of revenue towards tech innovation. By the time decisions are made, the technology has already moved on.
Whilst the sector continues to play catchup, we’re seeing a definite increase in the adoption of artificial intelligence and cloud-based IT software.
What common data challenges do organisations in the industry face?
Builders’ merchants and their supplier base generate huge sums of data from customers, and increasingly from other areas such as eCommerce, category management and distribution. Whilst this data is invaluable, too much data can result in information overload which can be counterproductive.
Another challenge is that this plethora of data traditionally sits across multiple siloed systems which may include their Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) if they have one. Due to the complexities this presents, management must rely on finance or IT to build and generate reports for them. Not only is this time consuming, but these reports will typically be a static spreadsheet therefore nearly always out of date.
How can building suppliers and manufacturers overcome these challenges?
BI and data analytics relieve these challenges by collecting a merchant or suppliers’ data from different sources to monitor KPIs such as dead stock, OTIF and margins in real-time. This provides management with live data and insights they can use to build a comprehensive picture of what’s happening across the business. They can also see what customers are buying, and not buying to help increase share of wallet.
What’s your top piece of tech advice for our One Voice readers?
To truly protect your market share, streamline your supply chain and improve your margins in today’s building supply sector, you need a deeper understanding of your data. This can only come from BI and analytics.
Armed with the right information, at the right time, you can eliminate chance and gut-feel in decision making, developing the foundation for a data-driven business that’s ready for the future.
– Adam Butler, BI Consultant, Phocas Software
Tell us about Phocas UK
Phocas is a cloud-based BI and data analytics solution that gives you the ability to collect, share and analyse large amounts of data from across your supply chain. Phocas has a wealth of experience working with leading merchants and manufacturers, including Saint-Gobain, Monument Tools and the BMF itself.
You can read the full 2022 Spring issue of One Voice here.
For more information on the ways that Phocas Software can help building products suppliers download our free Building Industry eBook: 4 ways to improve performance with data