Maintaining clear communication is vital to retail success, but this can be a challenge for fast-growing companies with an expanding roster of suppliers, workers and carriers that need to stay in touch through a range of channels. In the case of BBQ Guys, this has meant continuously connecting hundreds of suppliers while maintaining 15% to 20% annual revenue growth for nearly 20 years.
“Whether it's from a customer standpoint, a vendor standpoint or a supplier standpoint, no matter who it is, we always want to be easy to do business with,” said Corey Tisdale, CEO of BBQ Guys in an interview with Retail TouchPoints. "We've grown to over 600 suppliers, and we always did business with these suppliers however they wanted in the past, so we had basically 600 different processes that were all variations of a similar theme. We got to the point where being able to effectively communicate in a timely fashion with all of our vendors and customers was really becoming a struggle because of how fast we're growing.”
Accurate communication is particularly important for a retailer like BBQ Guys, which regularly splits its shipments between parcel and freight. The problem is that many solution providers are geared towards only one or the other type of shipping. BBQ Guys rose to this challenge by implementing a system that connects vendors with a shipping company that is well-suited to handle each delivery, whether it’s as small as a spatula or as large as a grill.
"A lot of our stuff is big and goes freight, and for our suppliers to have to ask what the deal is — ‘Hey, every time you go to send a shipment, can you get quotes from five different freight companies and ship it with whoever's the best match for this particular shipment’ — that's a lot of work,” said Tisdale. “To even call and schedule all of the people to come pick up the stuff at the right time is a lot of administrative burden to put on a supplier, and we didn't want to do that.”
The retailer partnered with Logicbroker to optimize sourcing and relationships with vendors, and connected the solution provider’s platform with Convey, which automatically determines the optimal shipping company, generates the paperwork and schedules the freight pickup. The two technologies helped generate a significant increase in efficiency, which enabled BBQ Guys to process 22,554 shipments in May, 11% more than May 2018.
BBQ Guys receives the relevant information in a standardized format that helps the company cut down on its number of processes and quickly respond to problems like out-of-stocks or shipping delays. The streamlined system has simultaneously reduced the administrative burden, the number of clerical errors and the time it takes to respond to an issue.
The tools also help BBQ Guys improve delivery over time. The centralized nature of the data lets the company easily pull out both specific instances and aggregate information about fulfillment times, customer experiences and other relevant statistics, letting the company rectify any negative experiences before they result in a lost customer.
Customers also benefit from the system when everything is going well. They can now track their shipment across all modes of transportation and carriers used, regardless of how many individual shipments make up their total order.
"Every customer gets notified in the way that they want to be notified, at the frequency they want to be notified,” said Tisdale. “Nobody has to do anything extra to make that happen, because everything from the time that we start fulfillment to the time it gets delivered to the customers is automated."