At Ace Bolt & Screw, The Customer is King
Long History of Service
Founded in 1969, Ace Bolt & Screw Co., Inc. has been serving the mid-south area for over 48 years. They have two locations: their flagship location is centrally located in Jackson, Mississippi; and their branch store is in Tupelo, Mississippi. Their Tupelo location will be celebrating the 10th anniversary of its grand opening in July 2017. Their future plans are to grow even more throughout the Southeast. Ace Bolt prides itself on continuing to grow and learn in this ever-changing industry.
Old School in a Good Way
We recently interviewed owners Randy and Mike Clark; Randy, said, “Despite, the drastic industry-wide changes in the last 48 years, we pride ourselves in being “old school” when it comes to customer service. Ace Bolt’s goal is to give each customer the same amount of attention as we did in back 1969. We strive to use our sales team’s 190 years of combined service to our customer’s advantage. Our salesmen work to provide our customers with high quality, yet affordable products. Through recent advancements in technology, we have been able to provide even greater service to our customers.”
High Tech – High Touch
Kayla Clark, Randy’s daughter and the Accounting Director for the company, added; “We are dedicated to using technology to make our customers’ buying experience as simple and convenient as possible. Currently we are working on a total revamp of our website, which will provide a better display of the range of products we offer to our customers. In the near future customers that prefer to order products online will be able to do so through our website.”
Another way that they have simplified the buying experience for their customers is through different types of inventory management programs. One of these examples is Vendor Managed Inventory (VMI). Through VMI they are able to directly manage their customer’s inventory and deliver stock to them as needed. This helps to ensure the plant never has to shut down while someone goes across town to get parts.
Kayla said “Another great inventory management system we offer our customers is vending machines. We use 1sourcevend to provide these. With the 1sourcevend vending machine, our customers are able to cut their expenses by placing employee supplies such as gloves, safety glasses, tools, etc. into a vending machine. Their employees will either use a code or swipe a card each time they need something, this lets our customer understand how much of these products each employee uses. It greatly reduces supply waste and significantly reduces costs for the employer.”
Randy pointed out, “Reducing waste and keeping costs as low as possible is very important to us. We aim to pass on our savings to our customers, so that they can receive the highest quality products at the lowest cost possible. One of the ways we are able to do that is through the help of machinery. With our Autobag AB180 Bagging System, we are able to cut the amount of time it takes to count, bag, and label the parts we sell. The system is able to fill up to 10 bags per minute so our customers benefit greatly by receiving their bagged parts or kits in a timelier fashion.”
The Business Edge™
Randy is pretty excited about The Business Edge™ – he exclaimed, “One of the biggest steps we’ve taken with implementing new technology is the change of our computer system. In November of 2012, we made the switch to The Business Edge™. Over the last 5 years we have reaped many benefits by having a more updated and technologically advanced computer system. The Business Edge™ has allowed us to use today’s technology to our advantage and given us the tools to serve our customers even better. Systems like VMI weren’t possible until we switched. The scanners we use for our VMI customers have greatly boosted our speed and efficiency which is a huge benefit to our customers that implement the system. We basically never make a mistake because we scan the exact bin that we need to replenish. We are also able to furnish our customers with more information than ever before with the usage reports we are able to run with The Business Edge™.
He said, “The Business Edge™ allows us to deal with processes that we struggled with before. One of those struggles was the lack of traceability of our products. With The Business Edge™, we are now able to trace products from the time we create a PO all the way through creating a customer’s invoice easier than ever before. Another great tool that The Business Edge™ has provided us with that simplifies sales processes is the feature to calculate all cost on a product. The benefit of easily adding freight costs to our products allows us to ensure that we are correctly charging our customers based on the true cost for their parts.”
“From a purchasing standpoint, the technology used today with The Business Edge™ is very beneficial. The ability to access information and order online through the members of the The Fastener Supply Chain Network™ has been particularly helpful. Being able to order online from Brighton Best or Kanebridge cuts our lead time dramatically. We are able to see what parts Brighton, Kanebridge and XL Screw have on hand and where exactly they come from faster than ever before. Our customers benefit greatly by getting either their domestic or imported parts as quickly as possible. Our purchasing team is able to minimize mistakes and capitalize on time saved. This enables us to make sure that our customers are able to get the product they want at the most cost effective price.”
Multi-Branch Inventory Management
“Another cost saving technique is that The Business Edge™ provides is the ease of being able to move our inventory through the warehouse as easily as possible. One of the major concerns of having more than one branch is the complexity of transferring inventory from one branch to another. The Business Edge™ is able to eliminate that concern completely. This allows us to focus on catering to our customers and growing our business.”
Mike said they are not done with expanding their technology. He said, “We expect to simplify things even more in the coming year by adding The Business Edge’s™ wireless warehouse. With the wireless warehouse, we are able to cut down on mistakes even more. A simple scan in our warehouse will cut down on paper while also ensuring that the wrong parts are never pulled and given to our customers.”
Customer Service Is The Core
“Thankfully, the people at The Business Edge™ value customer service as much as Ace Bolt does. Anytime we have a question with our system or an issue with how something is working, we are immediately able to get someone on the phone. They ensure that everything we need to best serve our customers is readily available to us. The Business Edge™ is constantly upgrading their system to better support their customers.”
Randy summed it up, “While a lot of things have changed over the past 48 years, we will continue to grow in this ever-changing world with customer service as our number one priority.”
This article appeared in Distributor’s Link Magazine, Summer 2017
For More Information
Texas Nut & Bolt
1022 Magnolia Avenue
Port Neches, TX 77651
phone: (409) 727-7384
fax: (409) 727-7284
Computer Insights, Inc.
108 South Third Street
Bloomingdale, IL 60108-2912