DISTRIBUTORS IN TRANSITION -- E-enabled Dealers
The most prevalent users of the VieNet technology have been dealers, says Chance, although VieNet is currently in discussions with some manufacturers.
Dealers using VieNet can view multiple, remote customer inventories. By using a bar code system, VieNet records, in real-time, the consumption of those products so everyone in the supply chain can see the inventory. Manufacturers can look downstream to the dealer's inventory and dealers can see into the end user inventory.
"We provide all kinds of Web-based reporting tools. The dealer can view his client's inventory and do replenishment within the system," Chance reports.
Whether solutions like VieNet become highly successful or go the way of GoPrinter.com remains to be seen. What is certain is that Web-based solutions will continue to impact dealer and end user relationships, concludes DuRoss.
"The trend is clear that down the road clients will come to expect dealers to integrate the Internet into their businesses. As with any change, there are those who are leaders and those who are followers."