RS has evolved its delivery service to provide customers with the choice of how and when they receive purchases, while also helping to reduce their procurement costs
“Ultimately, at RS our delivery service is our key differentiator in the market,” states Emma Botfield, Managing Director for UK & Ireland at RS. “We have been renowned for having a reliable, best-in-class service for over 85 years.
“We give our customers confidence that if everything is going wrong and failing and they need something urgently, RS will be the ones that will be able to help,” he adds. “I think that absolutely underpins the brand and what we stand for.”
RS is known for offering both a next working-day delivery service across the UK, as well as a same-day delivery service for urgent orders, which can potentially save customers significant sums of money in avoided downtime.
Another of the reasons RS is so respected in the Maintenance, Repair and Operations (MRO) industry, Borfield explains, is because of the way the company has reacted to an ever more demanding customer base – and evolved its delivery options to match. “The mix of evolving technology and customers looking for more control over deliveries has influenced what we do,” says Botfield. “The Internet of Things is becoming more readily available and we’re seeing that leading into the B2B space.
“Our customers’ buying behaviour, whether it be an engineer or a buyer, is becoming more technological, so as a business we recognise that and we need to be making big steps to provide the services and solutions that our customers are looking for both now and in the future.”
"We give customers confidence that if everything is going wrong and they need something urgently, RS will be the ones that can help "Emma Botfield, Managing Director for UK & Ireland, RS
One of the innovations RS has introduced is consolidated delivery, where multiple orders are placed through an eProcurement system by a customer and then all the items are combined in one delivery. One customer that has benefited from this option is Midlands-based control and automation systems manufacturer PP Control and Automation (PP).
PP’s Commercial Manager Martin Allen says: “The volume of orders that we place with RS made it necessary to look at how to reduce our number of transactions and create efficiencies in the procurement process.
“RS set up consolidated delivery, which means we can send multiple purchase orders [six a day, on average] to RS’s Birmingham trade counter, and they combine all of our demand and send us a daily delivery with all the items we need,” adds Allen. “This makes it much easier to deal with transactions: it reduces the time and cost of making transactions, and the deliveries arrive in recyclable, re-useable packaging that is easy for us to handle.”
Another service RS offers is kitting, which means that customers can combine their order into a specific kit, specially packaged and labelled with part numbers, all in one order to cut down on costs and admin. “These are areas of great importance, particularly for our larger customers when they have a precise requirement,” explains Botfield. “Where we provide pre-built kits, the customer can literally put that line side and then the new kitted part can be used straight away in their production or maintenance process.”
Such is RS’s ability to deliver products quickly that some customers are now moving away from stocking items on their own premises. Instead, companies are freeing up their working capital (and warehouse space) and putting their trust in RS. “In many cases, we can hold stock for our customers,” says Botfield. “We profile their inventory too and match it to what’s in their local store, then the customer knows that they can get their products on same-day delivery or through collection at their local branch.”
A significant part of RS’s delivery strategy is continual assessment of how the company is performing and whether customers are happy with the service they receive. As Botfield explains, this is crucial to maintaining and improving RS’s delivery in the future: “We put a huge amount of importance on how we measure our service to our customers and we always review our ‘on time’ promise,” she says. “So if we’ve promised a customer a delivery, even if it’s for a product that isn’t in stock, and we’re committing to source that product, then we’re absolutely driven to make sure that we deliver.”