Do it Best Corp. stresses efficiency

Pratt & Lambert, new at Do it Best, was recently ranked “Highest in Customer Satisfaction with Interior Paints,” in a J.D. Power & Associates study.  

INDIANAPOLIS — Do it Best celebrated its 65th anniversary at its October Market here Oct. 8-11, and dealers celebrated a member rebate disbursement of $100.6 million, the seventh largest in the co-op’s history, despite a 3.1% decrease in overall sales for the year.

President and CEO Bob Taylor attributed the company’s large member rebates during a weak economy to upgrades in the company’s logistics and order fill systems.

“You can’t change the wind, but you can adjust the sails, and I think our team did exactly that this past year as we delivered another solid year of performance,” he said.

One positive factor was the installation of its new voice-pick system, called Jennifer, which reduced the amount of time and mistakes made in filling orders and helped trim warehouse returns in excess of 11% from last year, he said.

The Friday evening market sneak peek, which provides significant discounts to members for a limited two-hour period, brought in a record $7 million in sales, with 38,000 orders placed for 1.5 million units of merchandise, the company said.

Tim Miller, VP marketing for Do it Best, said Black & Decker alone did more than $1 million in sales that night.

Behind the scenes, a new ordering and sales information system is boosting sales efficiency. The program, called the Online Advertising Sales Information System, or OASIS, is a new online tool for members to order, do fulfillment and do all the customization for advertising programs while integrating fully with online merchandising catalogs.

“Members will be able to easily and efficiently order their promotions. We’re running 69 different promotions in 2011, which is really a huge number of promotions, all customizable and flexible to each individual member,” Miller said. “The OASIS system will allow them to manage their demographic, their mailing information and just make it a much more efficient process, and it will integrate with merchandise catalogs so they can order the promotional items to support that merchandise.”

Miller said currently members order their promotions out of a static black and white book of all of the different promotions offered each month. OASIS will be interactive online through in full color and will save time and money.

Another initiative the company has introduced is its new Inventory and Merchandising Dashboard, which will serve as an access to point-of-sale information aimed to help retailers make better merchandising decisions.

Miller said it will be particularly useful matching SKUs to maximize point-of-sale dollars.

“We can now share with members from the point of sale, not the wholesale side, what are the top two selling items that customers buy when they buy a leaf rake; it’s gloves and paper bags. How many retailers have been merchandising gloves and paper bags next to the leaf rakes? Not every member,” he said.

Miller said another big pairing was in flag sales. “What’s the No. 1 selling item when you sell a flag or a flag pole? I would think a flagpole holder, or I’m thinking concrete; but no, it’s insect repellent,” he said. “You’d never put those two things together, but now if you’ve got flags and right below it you’ve got your Off sitting there. That’s where the system is going to really help them merchandise a lot differently than they do right now.”

From a merchandising standpoint, Do it Best will now be adding the Pratt & Lambert label to its paint department.

With the addition of the Pratt & Lambert brand, which is manufactured by Sherwin-Williams, the co-op is able to add another nationally branded paint program to its shelves along with Valspar, and its complete private-label line of Do it Best Quality paints.

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