Imagine this. It’s Friday – at the end of what’s been a very long week. You’re interrupted right in the middle of an important boardroom meeting. Why? Because one of your sites has come to a standstill. The drivers can’t leave to make their drops because the printer has run out of ribbon. Unbelievable.
As someone rings round for a replacement ribbon, you feel your stress levels going through the ceiling. Your production has ground to a costly halt – for the sake of an item costing an insignificant amount.
So what do you do after that? You ring your supplier – the company that supplied computers and printers to all of your sites around the country – and you plead: ‘Please, please – can you do something to make sure this sort of thing never happens again?’
Now let’s hope you’ve never been in a situation like that. But this is actually a true story. It happened back in 1989, when we were a company selling computers and consumables and operating under a different name.
The immediate problem we solved straightaway, by biking a replacement printer ribbon direct from our supplier to the site. But how to make sure it never happened again? After a little thought, the solution seemed simple: make sure they always have stock!
So we agreed a price on the ribbons in question, then put in enough stock to cover them for a few months. Every month after that we visited sites, invoiced for items used, and replaced them. The customer loved it.
Before long, the customer wanted other stuff included in this arrangement. Suddenly we were in the office supplies business.
As with so many great ideas, Stock in Trade was born out of genuine need.
As you’ll appreciate, it’s taken us time to develop our system into the well-oiled machine you see today. Software had to be written and perfected, for example. And we’ve had to work hard, honing, refining, evolving – a gradual process in which our customers have played a major part.
Today, the Stock in Trade system continues to be hailed by new customers as a genuine breakthrough in saving and efficiency.
And who are we to disagree?
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