Bolts & Moore’s great re-ordering system revolution

by | Jun 16, 2023

Throughout the pandemic most industrial independents found that the unprecedented demand in sales was more than enough to keep them busy in 2020 and 2021. Instead of simply treading water throughout COVID, tools and construction supply specialists, Bolts & Moore implemented an innovative SRS (Stock Replenishment System) in an effort to effectively customise the way its customers purchase from the business. 

Business: Bolts & Moore – Tools & Construction Supplies
Owners: Justin Moore
Location: Bayswater, Ferntree Gully and Hallam
Building Group: Construction Supply Specialists (CSS)

Hallam Bolts & Industrial store

Developed specifically for the Bayswater Bolts, Ferntree Gully Bolts and Hallam Bolts stores throughout Melbourne’s outer east, the Bolts & Moore app allows its customers to seamlessly re-order products within their business. 

The app has the ability to scan provided barcodes that may be placed on the customers’ bins and racks within their business. The owners then simply scan the barcode on whichever bin or rack that may be running low on stock within their store and once the scanning is complete, the order attaches the file to an email which is sent off to the Bolts & Moore customer service team for processing. When developing the system, Bolts & Moore Director, Justin Moore said it took about six months to get the app to the point where he was happy to trial it with several customers and after just a few months, the innovative re-ordering system was up and running.

“I employed a local Melbourne company to put the app together. It was important for me to utilise a local service rather than one from overseas so I could easily follow up any concerns I might have had and also have backup if I needed it,” he said.

“Once one of our customers decides to use the ordering system, it can take a couple of weeks to implement the program within their business depending on how many bins they require. It also depends on whether they wish to have the barcode on the bin or rack representing the quantity of what is in the tub as well. So you can have the app scan a product, then the customer nominates the quantity they require. Alternatively, when we have a customer who uses a lot of one product, the barcode they hit on their bin might equal 300 parts. So instead of typing in 300 they only have to hit the order button once.”

“Our re-ordering system is certainly very different from what the rest of the market offers to its customers. There is a bit of setup involved which is why I knew it was important that we did not release it to the market until I was happy with it. I did not want to let people down by saying that we could do all of this stuff and not follow through on it,” Justin said.

Bayswater Bolts store

Easy implementation

The number of customers now utilising the app has grown substantially in just under two years with more customers willing to take on the new order system each month. Justin said that implementing the innovative ordering system was all about ensuring that the process was easy for their customers, “so they would continue to stick with us and we would stick with them.”

“Customers only need to undertake minimal training to utlise the app and they are often pleasantly surprised at how user-friendly the program is once it is downloaded. They simply download and start scanning once they have the barcodes. But this is how I always wanted this program to roll out. I did think if I am going to go down this path, I wanted to make it as simple and as easy as possible because I am no good at IT,” he said.

Bolts & Moore now has an app-compatible barcode on every single item it carries within its system, which now boasts 65,000 items and continues to grow.

“The one good thing about the system is that we have had the ability to really expand our product range. Most customers that utilise the system will often ask us if we can add another product to their order, whether this is a can of CRC or a pair of gloves. This is then all posted to dropbox which is where the app looks for the updates,” Justin said.

“While a lot of the barcodes are placed on the front of the bins, we can also place these barcodes on pallet racking. The barcode is a label that we produce for our customers to scan and we can sell them anything, whether this is hand cleaner or bags of rags or whatever their business requires.”

“We supply the bins depending on the potential spend and we do all of the labelling for them. Then they just grab their phone when they see they are running low on a product and scan what they need,” he said.

The barcodes not only deliver complete accuracy but are also adaptable to all products, big or small. The app allows customers to order in their own time on a phone or tablet and is customisable to suit any business and part numbers.

Now with several substantial, business-to-business customers utilising the app, Justin says his customers do vary in size from a fairly large scale, while others simply use the app in accordance to the size of their business. 

“We have guys that might spend $20,000 a month right down to our smaller guys. There is probably not a typical customer for us anymore. The re-ordering system is more about repetitive production. One of our customers has a store that makes equipment for the food industry while another makes truck parts and another manufactures medical equipment,” he said.

“The ordering system is also a good tool to use and implement into new businesses because it is such a point-of-difference in-store. Even for those customers that we do have on board, it is difficult for them to now move their businesses because the system makes re-ordering so easy and frees them up from so much time. So not only does it help us retain customers but it is a good selling point as well.”

When asked if Justin believed there was a growing customer base that would embrace in-store and online technology within the industrial space, he said although there is an initial set-up, eventually he feels that implementing a program such as this is almost a selfish way to do business because it enables customers to re-order seamlessly.

“It helps us too because whatever the barcode reads, this is exactly what the customer wants. This makes re-ordering so much easier because often a customer will come in wanting to re-order a product but call it a different name, and terminology can be messed up pretty easily because they forget to tell you one crucial piece of information – then it all falls apart.”

“The customer expects us to understand their business more than we possibly can and they are not aware of the number of customers we have. It is a good thing because they think we are small. They walk in and just see the shop front but this is just 10 per cent of our business, rather than the 90 per cent of the business-to-business that is delivered directly to them,” he said.

Bolts & Moore’s growing customer base is a lot more than what Justin had envisaged, and for now he says it is all about keeping up with demand and ensuring that all of his customers’ needs are met. 

Bolts & Moore will also continue to market the system’s time-saving ability and ordering accuracy, with marketing implemented via email and social media channels. In-store team members, managers, and phone salespeople are also trained to brief customers on the system’s capabilities, particularly those customers who they believe will benefit the most from using the app.

Ferntree Gully Bolts store

Stand out store

While there is no other store on the market that has implemented a program such as this, Justin expects once the opposition sees how well the system is working for them, there is no doubt similar programs will pop up.

“We have actually put one of our CSS members onto it. He is a fair way from us but he was prepared to have a crack at it too. We are a fairly uncomplicated business and we are on a great path so we do not need to reinvent the wheel just yet, but just keep on doing what we do better and let people know how we do it. That seems to work,” Justin said.