The internet has allowed many clever people to do many clever things. It has spawned things like social media, video streaming mediums like YouTube and Vimeo. It has given us a wealth of endless information. It has created sites like Amazon and eBay which now allow us to buy pretty much anything in the world and have it delivered to us at home. It has also allowed our own industry to do the very same thing.

Cloud ordering

There has been a growing portion of the industry’s suppliers that has understood the benefits of internet ordering and allowing their customers to order products via the web. In an age where we’re all glued to screens, it seems baffling to me that so much of our industry remains on paper.

One of the latest and best examples is Solidor’s second version of their cloud service. It has been updated to offer a more streamlined ordering and quoting service compared to the first one. As our family installation company is a customer of their’s, I can vouch for the service and say it’s pretty damn good. Ordering doors is simple, other than the odd added extra missing, and sending doors to be quoted is almost instant. No scribbling around on tiny pricing sheets at risk of making mistakes. Job well done.

Solidor aren’t the only ones to have invested in their IT. Truemans Windows not so long ago released their online pricing and ordering service and after giving it a test run myself, I can say that is also another job well done. Easy to navigate, easy to price, easy to understand.

I’m sure customer’s of both these companies, and other’s that also have a good online facility are happy. But what about those who are not?

The need to convert

If you ask me, you’re never too old to learn. These people who claim they’re too set in their ways to change how they do business, well what a load of old garbage! It’s not the fact those people are set in their ways, it’s the fact that they’re not prepared to put in the effort to investigate a new way to do business which in the long run could actually make their business more efficient in the long run.

For the industry to attract the dinosaurs away from their paper and pens, any online cloud system, be it to order or to price, would have to be easy to use. The second it starts to look difficult, the battle has been lost. Back to paper, back to inefficient, out of date practises.

It is an important issue for me that our industry moves away from paper and gets as much as it can online. Not just pricing and ordering, but things like invoicing, deliveries, returns, general communications. With technology as advanced as it is, I see no need for us to be using as much paper as we still do.

The benefits are obvious. Costs on stationary supplies would be cut massively. Turn around times on quotes would be almost instant, allowing installers to get their own quotes out to customers easier. Product updates to installer customers would be instant. Communications through social media, email etc would be instant. All these are things which allow for our window and door businesses to run quicker, run smoother (in theory), run more efficiently and more cost effectively.

So, lets all get on the cloud, so to speak. It seems pretty good up there!

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