Grafton Merchanting, the parent organisation for Buildbase, Plumbase and Jackson Building Centres, has launched an ‘out of the box’ mobile parts ordering system for housing organisations, following a partnership with mobile workforce technology company 1st Touch.
The two-year renewable package comprises a high-quality, touch-screen PDA preloaded with 1st Touch’s materials ordering software, and includes data airtime provided by Vodafone. Hosting, training and support are included in Grafton’s package, which integrates with Grafton’s existing outsourced materials service.
The combined Grafton and 1st Touch system costs less than £500 per user per year after initial set up and training, and is automatically renewed after two years. Device upgrades and additional software modules are available when required.
By removing the need for housing organisations to manage their own in-house stores, Grafton’s outsourced stores service cuts out the considerable costs of stock management and control, while the 1st Touch mobile system removes the need for maintenance and repair workers to return to the depot each time they need supplies. Staff can order the materials online from their PDA and collect them from the nearest Buildbase, Plumbase or Jackson Building Centre.
The system, which is hosted and supported by 1st Touch, automatically links back to Grafton’s back-office systems using low-airtime ‘smart client’ technology, so that stock can be automatically replenished in readiness for the next day’s work, increasing Grafton’s customer response.
Cherry Rance, marketing and channel manager, 1st Touch, said, “This system could fundamentally change the way in which mobile operatives are supplied with materials. As Grafton’s customers can save both time money and increase efficiency, it is a powerful incentive to go mobile. We chose to partner with Grafton Merchanting as it has the brand name and market share capable of offering an effective nationwide solution and its outsourced materials service is already a huge success. By combining this with 1st Touch’s sector-proven mobile solution, we are confident that many organisations will scrap their stores and make the change.”