Mobile Warehouse Brings Swagelok Parts to Far-Flung Locales
by Katie Dennis, on Thu, Nov 08, 2012 @ 00:11 AM
Edmonton Valve & Fitting’s specialty truck filled with Swagelok products keeps customers in business
Fred Wedgewood can claim any of several job titles as the mood strikes him. He's a warehouse manager. He's a customer-service rep. He's a salesman. He's a truck driver. Wedgewood drives Edmonton Valve’s specialty Mobile Inventory truck, literally a warehouse on wheels.
"There are a lot of different things I have to do to make this warehouse run smoothly," he says.
His dual-axle Kenworth truck carries an impressive selection of valves, fittings, tubing and other parts. He doesn't want to run out of something important when he's several hundred kilometres from Edmonton Valve & Fitting's headquarters. Of course, with limited space on board, he fills the truck with products that are sure to be needed in the oil and gas industry.
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"We don't stock anything on the truck that doesn't sell," he says.
The whole purpose of the Mobile Inventory truck is to make life easier for the customers of Edmonton Valve & Fitting. It's a free service, which means customers are saving a bundle on shipping costs. Wedgewood regularly drives as far off as Cold Lake, Lloydminster and Provost. He's usually on the road two or three days a week. His 2006 truck already has 350,000 kilometers on it!
Of course, Wedgewood doesn't want to create unnecessary work for himself. He bases his route and schedule on what the various customers need. Some customers get a weekly delivery. Others he may visit every two to six weeks.
"One of the benefits of my job is that I get to talk to the guys who use the fittings and valves," he says. Likewise, customers are always glad to see the Mobile Inventory truck pull up, and to see Wedgewood at the wheel. He knows his inventory, so he's glad to pass along information such as pressure ratings for a given part.
The truck has also had its fair share of surprise visitors in the rural communities. Mike Taylor, past driver and current salesmen, says that he has had some unique experiences with customers and community members. Since the truck has our phone number on the side, calls can come in at any time. One time, Mike was eating lunch when a call came in from a new business owner who wanted to purchase materials. Mike was able to meet him in town, sell him what he needed, which leading to a new satisfied customer.
Mike was even flagged over on the highway by a passing driver that wanted to buy materials. So right there on the side of the highway a transaction took place. Mike says “There’s no better way to service a rural community and their needs than having a mobile store come through those areas on a regular basis.”
Drayton Valley driver Paul McKerlie
Paul McKerlie is another one of our drivers in the Drayton Valley area. With him being available, with the necessary inventory for rural areas, he’s helped facilities overcome any downtime or complications that arise, which equals no lost time and a cost savings service. The truck has also been accessible during shut-downs and turn-around situations, and as a result he is there offering on-site support during these transitions.
Most customers have a consignment list. They set up a bin of what they think they'll need, and Wedgewood periodically takes inventory and charges them for what they've used. The inventory on the truck is tracked from Edmonton Valve & Fitting headquarters. The product bin is set up with the company's bin label system, which includes a picture of the part, the part number, a description and the stock code number. Monthly reports and billing help keep the process simple for customers.
Another feature that accompanies this service is that we are able to make the transaction as seamless as possible for the customer through our IMS software system. When the order has been processed our drivers are able to generate a priced packing slip on the spot for the customer and electronically send the information back to Edmonton Valve. This system reduces errors, saves time, and leaves the customer knowing exactly what they have received.
If you'd like to simplify your delivery and inventory of Edmonton Valve’s products, give us a call. You may be the next stop on Fred Wedgewood's schedule.
If you are interested to read more on the history of Swagelok products, click here>>>