More than 25 years ago, while working for Nukote in Dallas, TX, as Vice President for Product Management there was a problematic lack of visibility regarding sales reporting and analysis. One of the consequences was claims of inflated sales numbers for individual product categories. When all the sales claims were added up, they exceeded the total sales for the company.
This was before the days of online reporting and sophisticated dashboards we’re all using today. We operated the business on a legacy ERP system and although downloading data was relatively straightforward, interpreting and using it was not.
It was clear we needed reporting tools to help us understand trends and to provide greater visibility of what was going on. We didn’t have an in-house resource to provide this capability, so we looked outside. And so began what has become a multi-decade relationship between myself and Amy and Linden Sims.
That initial relationship for providing reports to permit drilling down into and interpreting vast amounts of data at Nukote continued for almost ten years until I left the company at the end of 2005.
After leaving Nukote, for the next 5-years Linden and I worked closely together at Certicell as we built a business from scratch into a $30M+ per year revenue business. Between us, we built a platform for operating the business (NetSuite), eBay (ecommerce), and a custom-built application for tracking more than 300,000 cell phone cores and repair parts at various stages of repair in Louisville, KY, Hong Kong, and the Philippines. Ultimately, more than 5 million scans per week were being conducted, and we prided ourselves on being able to physically locate an individual device within five minutes of providing a serial number.
Then, for the next 5-years, we went on to another new venture and built another new system during our time together at Print-Rite. This required setting up every system from scratch. Our ERP system was SAP R/3 where we took the undeveloped environment provided to us from the corporate office in Hong Kong and built out a complete system for managing the operations and the financials. The key to making the system work for us was to have all the systems electronically communicate. This required a full integration with our e-commerce solution (Power E-commerce) to permit online B2B transactions, reporting virtual real-time inventory by SKU in 4 separate distribution centers, and seamless integration between the e-commerce portal and order entry and fulfillment through SAP.
We also fully integrated with Salesforce and then (due to a change in requirements from the corporate office in Hong Kong) completed an integration with the Microsoft Dynamics CRM platform.
While doing all this, we established and deployed a website from scratch complete with blog and social media activity.
What became apparent as we progressed through the 3-year time frame required to accomplish this almost impossible task was the realization of just how powerful a fully integrated system was, both in terms of efficiency (reduction in manpower) and in terms of data interpretation for running the business and improved decision-making capabilities.
This series of experiences has provided the foundation for developing the Digitol product.
With 30+ years of experience in the office products and supplies industry combined with operational, business development, sales, and technology experience we decided to build a sophisticated and integrated product that we could deliver to small to medium-sized resellers of office products.
We don’t believe there is anyone else in the office products industry working to provide a “vendor agnostic” digital transformation service to the reselling community in the United States. We believe our experience uniquely qualifies us to provide this service.
The objective is to leverage our efforts and help small to medium-sized local businesses develop relevant web traffic to conduct e-commerce in local markets.
We recognize the depth of knowledge and experience of the vast majority of 10,000 or so resellers in the United States. We also recognize that the requirements to digitally transform a traditional business are most often outside the skill set of the typical reseller. Our mission is to deliver a solution that fills this void in skills and allows the reseller to focus its efforts on building and maintaining “real” business relationships in local markets while providing potential buyers with information and education on legitimate value propositions that help reduce costs while simultaneously improving profitability and sales for the reseller.