SAF-Holland adds e-commerce tools with POD-Plus

by John G. Smith

“It just gives you the information right away. It’s seamless,” says Carl Mesker of SAF-Holland (right).

DALLAS, Texas – SAF-Holland has been built on a legacy of bending steel, creating products like fifth wheels, landing gear, kingpins and suspensions. But its latest focus is a digital platform to bring it all together.

The Parts on Demand (POD) e-commerce site that was launched five years ago in North America, acting as a bridge between customers and SAP enterprise software, has been extensively reworked into POD Plus.

“It just gives you the information right away. It’s seamless,” says Carl Mesker, vice-president of sales. “It had to be intuitive. We can’t go out to teach people how to use this system.”

Information on available inventory is now available in real time, rather than being refreshed once per day. Order histories can for the first time be checked, and invoice histories include orders that have been placed online or by customer service representatives (CSRs).

Components can be searched by serial numbers or general product attributes, tapping into an extensive electronic parts catalog. Individual components like a snap ring will also be displayed along with the service kits that use the part.

Another upgrade compared to the traditional POD platform is that POD Plus allows users to step backward through pages, rather than having to log out and re-enter the system.

It is all fed through a home page with six choices:

  • Parts catalog – offering access to parts data and exploded views alike
  • Literature – including maintenance-related information
  • Spec’ a new assembly – find part number and prices by selecting various options that are needed.
  • Import saved cart – counter personnel can now import lists of multiple parts using Excel spreadsheets.
  • Fast order find – track down the status of an order
  • Check price

It’s all compatible with mobile devices, too.

“In this day and age, if you can’t do it with an iPad or a phone, you can’t do it,” Mesker said.

A full rollout is expected by the second quarter of this year.

CSRs who have traditionally been needed to address many of the questions now answered by POD Plus are being reallocated to other tasks.

While any visitor will be able to view the parts catalog, access literature, or spec’ an assembly, only distributors and other partners with SAF-Holland accounts will be able to access the ordering functions.

“We have no intention of leaving them out of the sale,” Mesker said.

“We need them to stock our stuff in the market,” he said. “We hope this helps them do a better job.”

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