Supply Chain Angst? How Installers Can Take Control Again

With no end in sight to product and materials price-hikes and shortages, AdminBase creator Rhonda Ridge reveals how installers can easily manage the problem for their homeowner customers.

In the mixed-up crazy world that we are all currently living in, the UK window and door home improvement market is faced with the scenario of having bulging order books, against a backdrop of chaotic product supplies that are extending installations months into the future. And all whilst we are emerging falteringly from an extraordinary global health crisis too. Even the most atheistic amongst us might begin to wonder if we are being controlled by some mischievous god.

The price hikes are of course highly challenging but anecdotally, homeowners seem determined to complete the improvements that they have planned almost irrespective of cost. More of an issue is procurement of the windows, doors and related materials with which to complete the job in the first place. And whilst even the most irate homeowner is learning that the installation playing field is currently very level and stamping their feet will not get the job done any quicker, managing their expectations now occupies a highly disproportionate part of an installation company’s day.

Help is at hand! The installer management system AdminBase, which earns its keep usually by managing the processes by which thousands of UK installers sell, survey, install and collect cash for their windows and doors, also has comprehensive features that manage product deliveries from suppliers. Rhonda Ridge, head of Ab Initio Systems, the company behind AdminBase and the brains behind the system, explains: “A key feature of AdminBase has always been the facility to manage all materials and products ordered for each project. Now that there are major problems in the supply chain, this well-proven facility is coming into its own.

“The system holds records for each job and these contain the detail of any materials ordered for that job, including supplier references. Having all this information in one place makes it much easier to chase orders with those suppliers. The records also contain order confirmations so installers can quickly see what should be on a supplier’s delivery before it arrives. Users can even produce summary reports that show what deliveries are expected so they can check in with suppliers on orders ahead of the delivery date. This same reporting facility can also be used to highlight items not received on any given order,” explained Rhonda.

“The system can show in one view for example, all jobs that have every ordered item in stock and so are ready for installation. A second view can show all installations booked in for the following week, that don’t yet have all the necessary materials. Taking this one step further, all this information is fed into the appointments in the Installation Diary on the same system, so that an alert will pop up if a project is booked in and not all the materials have been received. It completely removes the need for additional systems and spread sheets for example, as it is a normal part of AdminBase.

“The AdminBase stock module also gives an overview of all consumables held in stock, such as trims, sealants, fixings and so forth, so installers can ensure they always have what they need. This module can also create a report to highlight which items need to be reordered when stocks are running low.”

Communication is the key when faced with such difficulties and AdminBase has earned many accolades from amongst established users for the way that the system can manage messages to homeowner customers: “AdminBase enables automated messaging for customers,” said Rhonda. “It can easily be tailored with messages to be issued via sms or email, to keep customers informed regarding the progress of their order. This has never been more important as with the constantly changing status of supply chains, the situation can alter frequently. However, once the information has been entered into the system, updates are simple.”

AdminBase has seen a sharp increase in users during the past 15 months or so, as orders from locked-down homeowners began to flood in and installers turned to the system to streamline their order-to-payment processes, and manage their operations from home. These and established AdminBase users are now also enjoying the inbuilt supply chain management features in a way that nobody could have anticipated just a year ago.

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