Insights from Orgill Spring Dealer Market 2024

Orgill, Inc., the world’s largest independently owned hardlines distributor with sales of $3B+, held its annual Dealer Market in Orlando from February 22-24.  Attended by thousands of retailers in the hardware, lumber and paint sectors, the event provided an opportunity for attendees to see the latest store designs and merchandising display ideas as well as to attend dozens of educational sessions.  4R showcased our inventory management solutions and planning services, and participated in the Tech Symposium and educational sessions.

As is true in retail overall, hardware retailers are seeking increased operational and supply chain efficiencies; looking to better manage inventory on every level; and are very concerned about employee retention, especially as retail workforce remains sluggish since 2020. 

The Role of Technology in Hardware Retailing

Not surprisingly, technology is playing an increasingly important role in helping to improve operations and efficiencies.  ERP systems are growing in importance, and there is significant interest in emerging technologies like AI (artificial intelligence) and in-store tech like handheld task management apps and even, robots.  As ERP systems grow, opportunities for technologies that integrate with those systems will continue to gain momentum.  The 4R One Predictive Engine shows great promise for tomorrow’s retailers.

Managing Inventory During an Industry Downturn

Managing excess inventory, phantom inventory and lost sales continue to plague retailers. Spreadsheets are time-consuming and a nightmare to manage. ERP systems are designed to streamline business processes.  Most installed systems do a good job of capturing data, allowing for historical analyses, and reporting on inventory levels.  Missing, however, is the ability to forecast demand with accuracy based on seasonal trends, promotional activity, changing consumer behaviors and more.  Again, the 4R One Predictive Engine can become that powerful tool that supply chain executives need to predict “what will be”; not just “what is” and “what was”. 

Gaining Efficiencies Despite Labor Shortages

The lack of staff still plagues retailers. Retailers are struggling to provide the retail experience to their loyal shoppers with less staff stocking the shelves, walking the aisles and answering customer questions. When stores are understaffed, existing employees may have to work overtime or take on additional responsibilities, resulting in increased employee dissatisfaction, not to mention operational costs. Technology can play a significant role when it comes to staffing and employee retention.  By automating some employee tasks, providing easier access to information on everything from computer screens to handheld devices, and better managing workloads, smart hardware retailers are providing a more fulfilling and less time-cluttered environment to maximize the effectiveness of their valued employees.  In doing so, they’re also doing a better job of satisfying customers.

More than ever, the 4R One Predictive Engine and our proprietary inventory planning solutions are capable of delivering needed insights to retailers in this very complex environment.  For more information, or to set up a meeting to see how these solutions could benefit you, contact 4R.