Tool distributor JIS apes Amazon to battle Amazon – with industrial IoT button
Ohio-based tool distributor Jergens Industrial Supply (JIS) has developed an industrial spin-off of Amazon’s Dash IoT button for retail customers of its products. The Wi-Fi-enabled solution, which simplifies and automates stock replenishment, uses software from Austin-based Epicor.
JIS says it has improved productivity by 30 per cent. Epicor said the Amazon-inspired device is helping it fight off competition from online retailers, notably Amazon.
The company’s IoT ‘Express Button’ takes its cue from Amazon’s discontinued stick-on Dash Button, which allowed consumers to reorder everyday household items with just a button press. The custom JIS version utilises Epicor’s Prophet 21 software for inventory and supply chain management, automating replenishment of stock from its warehouses.
JIS has issued IoT buttons to its retail customers. When pressed, the button sends an order to that includes the part number and the volume to be replenished. The buttons also serve as a visual reminder for customers to reorder items, said Epicor. “Every time a JIS Express button is pushed, it collectively represents hundreds of millions of dollars saved,” it said.
Matt Schron, general manager at JIS, said: “Our customers don’t have the tools they need in order to do their job. We are trying to help them get the supplies they need quicker, faster, better, and at a lower cost. More and more customers are jumping online and buying. So, we need to get ahead of the click.”
He added: “We’ve reached a whole new customer demographic. We always want to give customers a reason to keep giving JIS their business rather than switching to new competitors, and in this case that was a smart, ‘sticky,’ just-in-time inventory management solution that offers ultimate convenience and can scale as they grow.”
The solution has also helped JIS compete with Amazon for supply of industrial tools and components.
Mark Jensen, senior director of product management for distribution at Epicor, said: “Competition from Amazon presented a compelling business case for JIS to start innovating in order to achieve its goal to ‘get ahead of the click’ and offering customers faster, better deliver, at a lower cost. The Epicor team saw this as an opportunity to put expanded IoT capabilities to use.”
JIS is the largest distributor of industrial products in Ohio; it stocks “300 of the top manufacturers” for industrial components in the US.