Today’s hose distributors are looking for ways to tighten and gain more accurate control over their inventory while increasing productivity. That is not such an easy endeavor for some distributors, particularly if they are running on an outdated ERP solution or performing the process manually. However, the path to inventory control and efficiency for hose distributors can be accomplished with the right tools or practices in place. We’ve compiled our best practices and considerations for hose distributors – paired with insights from longtime customer, Colliflower, Inc., and Tribute’s Vice President of Sales and Marketing, Bill Horrigan.
Invest in ERP Software for Hose Assembly Distributors
Achieving accurate inventory control doesn’t need to be a challenge for hose distributors. Getting your distribution company in the right position for control starts with choosing an ERP solution specially designed for the needs of hose distributors, like TrulinX, by Tribute Inc.
TrulinX is a proprietary tool that can help you generate complete hose assemblies in seconds, in addition to automatically calculating cut-off lengths, material cost and labor amounts as well as automatically generate serial numbers & labels. TrulinX can also help hose distributors:
- Keep inventory current with full tracking and inventory history.
- Protect against costly mistakes by having detailed instruction by assembly or component, such as crimp specifications, die selection or assembly procedures.
- Keep your inventory up-to-date by easily uploading your major supplier’s catalogs.
- Improve customer service at the counter by quickly and efficiently entering in orders and conducting returns on the fly.
Understand Hose Assembly to Better Serve Your Customers
Colliflower, Inc. is a loyal Tribute customer - they've powered their distribution business with our software for more than 21 years! They're also experts in their field; since their inception nearly 70 years ago in 1951, they've been focused primarily on providing quality hose assemblies along with a strong component of customer-focused service.
As a growing Parker distributor, Colliflower currently has 32 ParkerStores - and their 33rd is opening later this month! With operations situated along the East Coast, they have a national presence, and are a major proponent of the hose assembly industry. Recently they published an excellent blog post on their website featuring hydraulic hose assembly best practices for distributors and consumers, with specific emphasis on Parker standards and products.
Colliflower emphasizes the importance hose is to a hydraulic system and the fact that dimensions have decreased to fit tighter spaces. With that in mind, businesses need to seek out a distributor who knows how to handle even the most complex hose assembly project.
So what are some things best practice distributors should know about hose assembly to properly service their customers?
I.D. or Dash Size for Hydraulic Hoses
Hydraulic hoses are measured by their inside diameter (I.D.), also known as the dash size and is measured in sixteenths of an inch. This measurement determines the flow velocity for the system. Why is this important to know? If the flow is too high, it will cause pressure to drop and could potentially damage the system, cause hose leakage, or cause a sluggish flow if it velocity is too low.
Learning how to calculate the correct length on a hydraulic hose assembly to avoid scrap can be tricky. When a hose distributor, like Colliflower, fabricates hundreds of hose assemblies a day, inches or millimeters matter. Hose fabricators need to ensure their staff is assembling the hose to the correct specification to meet the needs of their customer and to avoid creating scrap or extra expense for your organization.
Identify a Hose Best for Your System
Colliflower says you must consider fluid and ambient temperatures. What does this mean? Ambient temperature is the temperature outside of the hose, while media temperature is the temperature of the media being carried through the hose.
Consider How Your Hose Will Be Used
- No two hoses are the same. Consider all of the factors of how the hose is going to be utilized. Colliflower has a good list of factors to consider…
- Type of equipment involved
- Mechanical loads applied to assembly
- Industry standards
Work Towards Limiting Your Customer’s Time at the Counter
Bill Horrigan, Vice President of Sales & Marketing of Tribute, Inc., has visited and toured more than a thousand facilities of distributors during his 35+ year career at Tribute. He has a keen perspective of the goals Best Practice hose distributors and fabricators should be aiming to achieve. Horrigan tells us an ideal goal is to have a consumer at your counter for no more than 8 minutes start to finish. This is not easily accomplished unless you have the support of an ERP system with advanced technology like TrulinX. TrulinX will prompt you with the questions you need to ask the customer and in the sequence you need to ask – a unique feature that supports your team in moving quickly and efficiently through the sales process. When responding to those questions and properly inputting in TrulinX’s system, it will not only configure the hose, but tell you all of the components, show you any constraints with the hose or fittings, and tell you how long it would take to build it based on the parameters.
Find Opportunities to Increase Sales through Improved Customer Service
Having an ERP solution in place specially tailored to your industry, can help further support hose distributors by not only gaining initial sales, but expanding revenue upon a greater customer experience. TrulinX provides hose distributors the ability to increase sales by upselling or improving customer service through conversions on the fly, while competitors may still be scrambling and looking on shelves for order substitutions. As a result, labor is more accurate, and hose distributors gain a more concise and accurate profitability on all hoses because of TrulinX dynamically calculating as you go.
Software to Run Your Industrial Distribution Organization Efficiently
When considering ERP vendors for your short list, select software vendors that have a thorough knowledge of your industry via long-term affiliations with industry peers, manufacturers, and trade associations, all of which translate into features built with hose distributors in mind.
TrulinX by Tribute, Inc. is designed specifically for hose fabricators and distributors of fluid power products and value-added services. Tribute has developed partnerships with major suppliers in the industry to streamline their distributor’s supply chain, including: Air-Way Manufacturing, Brennan Industries, Dixon Valve & Coupling, Eaton Corporation, Gates Corporation, Parker Hannifin, and more.
Tribute Inc. is a provider of industrial distribution management software with over 36 years of experience in the fluid power, motion control, industrial hose, fluid handling, pump, sealing, instrumentation, process control, and automation marketplace.
Tribute is a member of many trade associations including AHTD, FPDA, GFA, IDCO, NAHAD, NFPA and NIBA. Tribute partners with manufacturers including Bosch Rexroth, ContiTech, Dixon Valve & Coupling, Eaton Corp., Gates Corp., Garlock Sealing Technologies, Pall Corporation, Parker Hannifin, Sun Hydraulics, and is headquartered in Hudson, Ohio.