Viking has led the world in the design and manufacture of fire protection products for more than 80 years. Today, Viking systems protect many of the world's most invaluable properties, from the White House in Washington, D.C. to the Grand Theatre in Shanghai to the Palace Hotel in Madrid.
Viking markets its products to fire sprinkler contractors through 44 company-owned locations and a host of independent distribution partners. The highly technical nature of sprinkler systems requires reams of data to be published and distributed to these locations for dissemination to prospective customers and specifiers.
This fulfillment function was managed internally by Viking until 2004. Then, the company's fulfillment manager decided to retire - a "compelling event" that prompted Viking to reevaluate its program in light of these realities:
- The company's growth was outpacing its ability to quickly and cost effectively fulfill literature requests.
- With no system in place to manage and track inventory, Viking consistently printed and stockpiled more literature than it needed.
- Stockpiled literature - including 500-page catalogs - quickly became obsolete, because technical data changed frequently and unpredictably.
- The company was launching a global distribution strategy, which would add even more complexity to the fulfillment process.
Gilson showed Viking that outsourcing fulfillment would solve these problems. We used Mindwire technology to:
- Improve inventory control - giving Viking 24/7 online monitoring of real-time inventory and precise usage statistics.
- Enable online ordering of literature, letterhead, business cards and other materials - eventually expanding the program to include such premium items as hats and T-shirts (which, like print materials, are warehoused at Gilson and shipped as needed).
- Introduce Print-On-Demand capabilities, which allow Viking salespeople to download and print (or email) the most up-to-date technical and promotional material for distribution to customers.
- Empower Viking employees to create customized sales presentations in pdf format - simply by logging on to Mindwire and selecting specific products and information to be included.
Today, Viking no longer employs an internal fulfillment manager - and thanks to Gilson, their fulfillment process is faster, more efficient and less costly than ever!