Need Industrial Supplies? Make Them Unlimited
Unlimited Supplies, that is. Unlimited Supplies, Inc. (USI) is a family owned and operated industrial supplies distributor in Minneapolis, MN. Unlimited Supplies, Inc (USI) was built as a Vendor Managed Inventory (VMI) supplier. They believe that a customer-focused approach is critical, since the products that they offer are commodity items. When they started, Vendor Managed Inventory consisted of their employees visiting the customers with an order pad in hand. They checked the bins and wrote the orders on site. Those orders would be brought to the office for entry into their computer system. The customers loved the experience, but it was a lot of work for Unlimited.
Growth and Change
The company grew rapidly, both organically, and through the acquisition of several of their competitors. As they grew, they knew that they needed to reduce the time involved in taking and entering the orders, and improve the accuracy of the orders. This challenged them to adopt new technologies over the years. The technology that they used initially offered some benefits, but they did not rest on their laurels. They have been on a path of continuous improvement with all of their technology.
The result is that their current inventory management program is in the forefront of the VMI industry.
The Business Edge™
In 2009 they obtained The Business Edge™ (TBE) by Computer Insights, Inc. The TBE system has been a key differentiator in their ability to serve their VMI partners nationwide.
TBE has allowed them to put efficient purchasing power directly into the hands of these customers. Their VMI partners are able to utilize barcode order entry, view minimum and maximum quantities, reference internal part numbers and manage multiple purchase orders, all from their own phone. Orders that are entered, are instantly in the TBE system. Orders placed today are on their customers’ shelves the next day, or even later the same day. These built in TBE features, combined with USI provided vending machines, make their remote VMI program run smoother than ever before. Orders never have to be manually entered, they are always correct, they are easy to manage, and the customers virtually never run out of inventory. The customers are impressed, and USI’s reliability leads to tremendous customer loyalty. The accountability of vending, combined with the benefits of a simple to use mobile ordering platform, has enabled them to help their customers manage their expenses. Together with USI, they are able to set a path forward.
An added benefit of the new technology, is that it has enabled them to expand their market area from Minnesota to the entire United States.
Jim Hegedus, President, said, “The Business Edge™ has become an essential part of our entire operation. Our TBE wireless warehouse digitally lot tracks all our products. At the same time, our purchasers are able to check vendor inventory and submit purchase orders digitally and instantly using the Fastener Supply Chain Network™, by Computer Insights. We rely on The Business Edge. Like any technology change, there were a few growing pains, however the light at the end of the tunnel has been well worth any little challenges along the way.”
This article appeared in Distributor’s Link Magazine, Winter 2020
For More Information
Unlimited Supplies, Inc
13021 16th Ave N.
Plymouth, MN 55441
Computer Insights, Inc.
108 South Third Street
Bloomingdale, IL 60108-2912