Friday, June 27, 2014

8 Reasons to update your website today..

Competing in today's marketplace means leveraging technology to level the playing field. By taking advantage of Visual Search, predictive analytics , multi channel communication, mobile technology and social media you can make your company a leader in sales, service and leave your competition in the dust. 

With our latest release of the RemoteNet Web Platform , The Systems House, Inc. delivers on these key technology elements offering both a standalone Ecommerce solution or a fully integrated ERP solution with the RemoteNet Web Platform. 

Take a quick tour of RemoteNet online at 

or view the long list of enhancements below that will keep your company at the cutting edge of emerging technologies. 

Updated Search Engine

  • Blindingly fast response times with multiple keyword search
  • Visual auto complete with images
  • Top selling items automatically added to search
  • Options for Grid View, List View, and Detailed item View 

Predictive Analytics 
  • Add Suggested Items logic based upon current sales analytics like  
  • Automatically create categories for Overstock, Best Sellers, Hot Sellers and Returned Items using Inventory Management parameters and analytic tools.

Customizable Screen Elements
  • User Shortcuts
  • Current Order Quick View 
  • Specials of the Day 
  • Search by Category
  • Export your order to excel,pdf 
  • Contact Information with Live Help Option for Real-Time Chat 

Highlight Specials and Product Categories

  • Show a pop up of the Daily Special each time that a user logs in or creates a new order.
  • Add a note to the Check out Screen highlighting a product group or category
  • Add Suggested Re-Orders to the Check Out page

Email Alerts - Multi Channel Communication

  • Stock Email Alert to allow a customer to get an email alert once a back ordered item is in stock 
  • Send emails about orders left on hold or abandoned cart reminders
  • Send Suggested Re-Order emails, on a timed basis to allow you to focus customer ordering patterns

Customer Tools

  • Allow customers the ability to upload orders via a spreadsheet
  • Allow customers the ability to create their own Bar code catalogs , reorder sheets and create orders by scanning and uploading to the website using the MDS ScanConnect Tool.
  • Allow customers the ability to download a copy of their web order in pdf/excel/html/ms-word/jpg 
  • Give Customers the ability to view and download Invoices and Statements in a pdf
  • Allow customers to use any Language to to view your website  using Google translate

Salesman Automation and Remote Access Tools

  • Updated Salesman Access Portal with the ability to add/save pricing on the fly by margin,dollar or percentage 
  • Real Time access to Inventory by Warehouse and Location
  • View Contracted Price and view which GPO contracts customers are eligible for

Mobile and Social Media

  • New responsive templates for mobile and tablet access
  • Integrated Social Media with option to automatically update a Blog, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn etc.
  • Update Social Media automatically with daily product specials , top sellers, overstock items and other prebuilt templates.  
  • Link from Hash tags to track social media activity to orders placed on website.

For more information on TSH or MDS call The Systems House, Inc. at 1-800- MDS-5556. Or send a message to

Click here and tell us how we can help you with your business solutions.

Friday, June 20, 2014

The Bullwhip Effect and how to become a smarter distributor

The Bullwhip Effect and Your Supply Chain

If you own a business, then you might be aware of the bullwhip effect, Sorry no Indiana Jones involved here. The Bullwhip effect is is an important supply chain phenomenon first noted by MIT systems scientist Jay Forrester. Even if you have never heard of this effect, perhaps you are familiar with the beer distribution game, which is an experiment designed to show the dynamics of managing a supply chain. If you are not please click on the links to learn more. 
To put the bullwhip effect in simple terms, in looking at businesses further back in the supply chain, inventory swings in larger and larger "waves" in response to customer demand (the handle of the whip), with the largest "wave" of the whip hitting the supplier of raw materials.
What causes the bullwhip effect? There are numerous reasons cited for this phenomenon. First of all, there are the more obvious operational factors, some of which you have probably experienced firsthand either through the beer game, or through managing your own business
For example, lead time issues are a common supply-chain challenge. As participants often learn in the game, two overdue shipments arrive about the time customer demand has dried up. But aside from the well-researched operational factors, supply chains are also clearly influenced by human behavior. for today let's assume that human behavior is the major factor in the bullwhip effect.
If that is the case - how can we exploit this to become a smarter distributor?

Example of the bullwhip effect

Let’s look at an example; the actual demand for a product and its materials start at the customer, however often the actual demand for a product gets distorted going down the supply chain. Let’s say that an actual demand from a customer is 8 units, the retailer may then order 10 units from the distributor; an extra 2 units are to ensure they don’t run out of floor stock.
Bullwhip effect exampleThe supplier then orders 20 units from the manufacturer; allowing them to buy in bulk so they have enough stock to guarantee timely shipment of goods to the retailer. The manufacturer then receives the order and then orders from their supplier in bulk; ordering 40 units to ensure economy of scale in production to meet demand.  Now 40 units have been produced for a demand of only 8 units; meaning the retailer will have to increase demand by dropping prices or finding more customers by marketing and advertising.

Human behavior in relation to perceived risk is a particularly interesting topic.
First of all, fear is a significant motivating factor in human behavior, The fear of loss, or of being wrong, is also a key human factors issue with supply-chain management.
Supply-chain managers who can calmly make decisions and act according to a plan while competitors panic, do nothing or become too greedy, typically do not have a problem. People who act out of fear or greed along with the herd of reactive people in the marketplace will often be wrong, will not benefit and may do real harm to their business.
This "fear factor" builds upon a second issue, which has to do with decisions under seemingly ambiguous and anxiety-provoking circumstances. For generations, people have wracked their brains trying to find market, commodity and equity "bottoms," or the point at which it is time to buy and "go long."
With the bullwhip effect, which models herd behavior, it may be useful to face supply-chain risk and decision-making like an old stock trader. Pressing past nervous indecision, the effective manager will stoically acquire some inventory while others sit on their hands or take drastic discounting or liquidation measures due to slack demand.
When product demand picks up, those that maintained their "safety stock" and then added cheap inventory on "dips" will benefit from favorable margins on a small bump up in demand. Such positioning allows one to take a chunk of the competition's sales while they remain underwater on their ill-timed, high-priced inventory purchases.

Where and how do you find these dips/opportunities? 

By using the MDS Sales Analysis Tools you can visualize Sales Cycles for an Item using Trend Graphs and up to three years of Sales Data. 

As an item dips you can see the bullwhip effect in action and understand that the sales of the item will likely come back.  A contrarian stance isn't about blindly doing the opposite. Rather, it is about using psychology and Data Analytics  to gain leverage from understanding typical group behavior, such as that we see with the bullwhip effect.  When it makes sense, based upon customer and supplier data, as well as sound logistical planning and experience, taking a contrarian approach offers a hedging strategy that will tame volatility and make the bullwhip effect work for you. 

For more information on TSH or MDS call The Systems House, Inc. at 1-800- MDS-5556. Or send a message to

Click here and tell us how we can help you with your business solutions.

Friday, June 13, 2014

Forget the daily storm and look out ten years..

Planning your future in an online world

There is an increasing amount of technology available in the marketplace today, especially when it comes to business as an example with e-commerce, there are more and more technologies that we can plug into or add on to our current software solutions. The landscape of technology continues to increase in complexity. This complexity makes it more difficult for organizations to navigate the choices they should make and the plans that they should put in place to evolve with their own strategies.

Today it is really not about how big or how small you are, 
it is really about how fast you can go.
I think that is a big shift with respect to technology today. The projects can’t take a long time anymore or they are going to be too slow for the marketplace. There is an increasing pressure to move fast and to be agile in order to adapt to all the changing trends that are happening.
I think that when distributors stop to think about how they would transform their business, it becomes an obviously huge undertaking. It is difficult to determine where to start with that. Where do you start to peel away the layers of the onion because it is going to take a long time?

Most of the distributors that we work with today do not have an executive level position for marketing or digital strategies. 
and yet there is a lot of pressure for them to implement these technologies. 

Their leadership is looking for help to try and figure out where to go in order to evolve, and their hesitation is that they know it is not small – and that it is strategic now, not just a piece of technology that they need to implement. The whole e-business side of things is strategic and competitive and it is going to change their business model down the road.

Even though we are a technology software company, we recognize that the clients that buy our software need help to figure out these strategies and their overall roadmap. We are being much more proactive now by automating and constantly updating our technologies. 

This is not something that you get to choose or not choose if you are going to have a viable business model. Then it becomes a question of how fast are you going to go? The organizations that lead and get there first are going to have an advantage over the ones that get there second and third and fourth.

By aligning yourself with a technology partner focused on your needs you can level the playing field. 
Offering tools and technology that the market demands while allowing you to focus on your client base. 

MDS offers tools to grow your business in every market segment and gives you access to the technology and features available in enterprise systems.

Friday, June 6, 2014

Automating your Sales force? watch out for these problems....

The 7 Deadly Sins of Marketing Automation

Marketing automation sounds great,  offering the potential to create a powerful marketing engine that drives activity through the sales funnel -- turning leads into prospects, prospects into sales and sales into customers.  But there is often a large gap between this potential and reality. Many companies implement marketing automation platforms only to find that they haven't delivered the results they had hoped for -- winding up with nothing more than an expensive email service provider.

Below are seven critical areas commonly responsible for the failure of marketing automation initiatives to reach their full potential:

1. Insufficient Knowledge of Your Audience

The value of a marketing automation system is in its ability to help you engage your prospects in targeted content journeys that will lead them to become customers. In order to do this effectively, you'll need to identify the content and messaging that will resonate with your audience. How well do you understand the key issues in their industries and the dynamics involved in their purchase decisions? Unless you do the work necessary to gather meaningful insights about your decision-makers and influencers, you won't be able to use your platform to connect with them.

2. Misaligned Sales and Marketing Teams

Your marketing and sales teams need to jointly own your marketing automation initiative -- with full buy-in and participation from both teams at all levels. To start, you'll need agreement on what constitutes a qualified lead. This may seem like an easily resolved issue, but few companies have actually established a globally accepted definition of a lead.
It's critical to align your messaging and processes across the marketing and sales functions, and answer the following questions: How should leads be scored? How will they be distributed once they hit a certain threshold? What types of follow-up materials will the sales team use? What will happen to qualified leads that don't become opportunities? How do you leverage the information gathered through the sales process to enhance a prospect's journey?

3. Insufficient Content

Content is the fuel that drives successful marketing automation programs. If you are not willing to invest in content creation, you won't succeed. You should be thinking about developing a deep set of content resources and tools. But remember: It's about relevance, not quantity. If you have spent time gathering meaningful insights about your audience (see Deadly Sin No. 1 ), you'll be able to create assets that will engage them.

4. Lack of Dedicated Resources

For many marketing departments, part of the promise of automation is that they will be able to work more efficiently and have more available time. The truth is, getting real value from one of these systems requires dedicated resources -- people who truly understand its capabilities and can leverage them through the planning and execution of nurturing journeys as well as process development, testing and reporting. If your in-house resources don't have the bandwidth, consider partnering with an outside firm.

5. Poor Integration

The integration of your marketing automation platform with your CRM system and your marketing database is vital to the success of your program. You'll need to plan this integration process in detail: How will the systems sync? What process will you use to launch new campaigns? How will reports be developed? You will definitely want to address these issues when you implement your platform, as it will be much more difficult to tackle them later.

6. A Low-Quality Database

If your database is full of poorly structured, inaccurate or incomplete data, your marketing automation initiatives (and your entire marketing program) will underdeliver. No technology can substitute for quality data. If you haven't put together a plan to develop an actionable and scalable marketing database, now is the time to do it. having said that using technology and business rules to enforce the scrubbing of your data will lead to greater results and cleaner data. Using our MDS CRM system you have the ability to define custom fields to make that data more relevant and have that feed into your metrics.

7. Failure to Act on Metrics

A good marketing automation platform can provide huge amounts of information about your prospects, as well as the performance of your tactics and messaging. However, if you are not committed to using that information to take action, you won't be getting the most out of the system. Do your metrics show that your VP-level prospects are more responsive to a particular type of offer? Consider making changes to your content strategy for that segment. Are some prospects not responding to white-paper content? Consider building a web or mobile application that might engage them.

Ultimately, successful marketing automation initiatives involve the right alignment of technology, processes and people. If you avoid the sins above, you'll be able to unleash the power of your platform to engage your prospects and customers and drive ongoing sales.

Using our MDS CRM and building upon these simple rules will allow you to automate your marketing efforts in a seamless and future proof fashion. 

For more information on TSH or MDS call The Systems House, Inc. at 1-800- MDS-5556. Or send a message to
Click here and tell us how we can help you with your business solutions.