Phocas delivers for Automotive Afterparts Business

2 mins to read

There’s no rest for 38-year-old CoolDrive Distribution, a supplier of parts and accessories to the automotive industry. It serviced 12,500 businesses last year.

The Challenge

Same-day delivery wins customers so the challenge for CoolDrive is smart inventory management. The company has 60,000 products across its Melbourne distribution centre and 20 warehouses nationally, 40 reps on the road, and local and remote customers to satisfy.

CFO John Goodhram found his former ERP-Business Intelligence solution  ̶  Pronto with IBM Cognos  ̶  too “difficult, time consuming, expensive” and “clunky”.

“Dealing with the repair sector is about immediate transactions. You either have the right product in the right place to meet demand, and at a good price, or not. Then it’s about whether you can deliver on time,” he says.

“My biggest concern has been to best understand those relationships so that we can maximise our investment in inventory. I want to see that a stock holding bears a statistical relationship to what my sales are.”

The Solution

Right off, John and the Phocas team took time to identify and set up meaningful relationships between data sets, giving CoolDrive superior drill down ability.

“Phocas allows us to apply some simple rule sets to deal with and pull out vast amounts of data, then sort, prioritise and work with it. It really is pretty much click and look,” says John. “It shows us what we need to work on.”

CoolDrive also uses Phocas for forecasting by looking at stock turns, ratio of stock held and each branch’s commitment to sales, both historic and future. Phocas:

  • Is customized to use CoolDrive’s terminology for ease of use
  • Follows user’s own thought process to query effectively
  • Returns meaningful results enhanced by visuals (pie charts, bar graphs, heat maps)
  • Enables data to be accessible and visible for better supply chain management
  • Assists with stock forecasting for cost-effective decision-making

The Outcome

After two months with Phocas, John can see how individual products, stock orders, stock-on-hand, sales reps and locations are performing across CoolDrive’s 20 warehouses. Branch managers, for example, now sit with sales reps to review their progress by location, customer, product or promotion.

“We’ve got about 15 people who use Phocas daily, upwards of 40 people who use it weekly and at least 90 people who could competently generate a valid query … It becomes the most useful tool you’ve ever had because it reveals aspects of the business you may not have thought about,” says John. 

Here's some of the other benefits of Phocas:

  • 90 Phocas-capable users versus 3 Cognos users
  • Beginner to intermediate users in 30 minutes
  • Performance monitoring on multiple levels (20 branches, 40 reps)
  • New data visibility reveals more opportunities and risks

 “My motto is, if you can see it, you can do something about it.  I’m absolutely convinced that our ability to see and understand different elements of what is happening in the business, and our ability to list and prioritise them, has been made possible by Phocas. Now we do it with ease.”


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