Leveraging technology

When the executives and key decision-makers in the Information Systems department of Cleveland-based Danly IEM evaluated the company’s Web site in mid-2000 for e-business opportunities, they realized some areas needed upgrading.

Officials at Danly, a multimillion dollar die manufacturer, recognized three key areas of opportunity:

* Utilize e-commerce to expand the reach of Danly’s products and market over the Internet.

* Make it easier for customers to do business with the company.

* Reduce the transaction cost of processing an order.

“The end solution was a business-to-business e-commerce site that is completely integrated into our back office,” says Sarp Uzkan, director of information systems at Danly. “The customer doesn’t need a catalog or to even talk to a salesperson. They can go find the product they need on the Internet and place an order.”

Today, the site, www.danly.com, lists 95 percent of the 8,000 parts the company sells, and that number continues to grow. Five percent of orders originate through the Web.

Uzkan says that early last year, after the site relaunched, it received more sales than anyone had imagined.

“It’s given us the opportunity to take orders from countries where we have no sales reps,” says Uzkan. “We’ve gotten leads from new customers in areas we hadn’t tapped into.”

Information taken from the Web site is sent to the sales department for follow-up. As the economy worsened, these leads became more valuable, and selling online has opened up new geographic areas and industries for the company.

Danly also added tools to the site to provide customers with as much information as possible, making it easier to do business with the company. A study in 1999 showed that 30 percent of all calls to the company concerned order status and tracking numbers. As a result, it made this information available online, along with product pricing, availability and CAD drawings.

“We know the way our customers buy products,” says Uzkan. “Many of them like to shop around and find the right price. This fits those customers’ needs because all the information they need is online.”

The e-commerce applications have also minimized costs. Orders generated from the Web are transmitted directly into the company’s back office system without human intervention. The product is taken off the shelf and shipped immediately.

Danly also got more value out of its EDI technology by applying the same processes to the e-commerce platform.

“We’re not adding value to our customers while we are transacting or processing their orders,” says Uzkan. “The more we can automate, the more we can take out costs or waste in the chain.”

When a manufacturer emphasize direct sales, distributors typically start to worry, seeing it as a threat to their income. But Danly, which makes about one-third of its sales through its distributors, has invited them to join the e-commerce party.

“We have created a Web site for our distributors to sell our products or any others over the Web without going through a lengthy implementation,” says Uzkan. “We are actually hosting some of our distributors’ sites and making a little money on it.”

As a result, distributors can quickly set up a site to sell their products over a system that’s ready to go without investing in hardware, software or consulting. Better yet, Danly helps them sell more of their products. How to reach: Danley IEM, (440) 239-7600