Using financial management software for detailed customer analyses can be a valuable tool when setting up automatic debits to customers’ accounts — a service more distributors should be taking advantage of, according to Steve Epner, founder and president of Brown Smith Wallace Consulting Group in 
St. Louis.

“Most distributors use less than 25 percent of the capabilities in their software packages,” he says. “So there’s a lot of untapped potential and opportunities that people should be pursuing that they don’t.”

Many distributors rely on their customers to track their supplies and reorder products when needed. But Epner suggests using the financial mangement software to access customers’ historical purchasing trends and calculate what supplies they need on a weekly basis. Distributors can then refill orders automatically and debit the customer’s account, 
thereby eliminating the need for collection calls.

“Get rid of all that hassle,” Epner urges. “By debiting their account, you eliminate the customer’s need to do daily or weekly inventories and individual ordering, and you eliminate the need to send them an invoice and follow up to collect payment. This is something more distributors should be doing because it allows them to increase their gross margins, provide a better service and lock in the contractors.”

Kassandra Kania is a freelance writer based in Charlotte, N.C. She is a frequent contributor to Sanitary Maintenance.