With a 20-year history of innovation, DDI System has helped more than 700 wholesale distributors in their efforts to find long-term success. DDI System strives to provide wholesale distributors with a strong blend of vertical market-specific features, leading-edge functionality and first-class support.
The company came into being because one of its founders had a background in the specialty plumbing sector and realized that information systems could help improve productivity and efficiency. Over time, the effort to build that technology and continue its evolution morphed into DDI System and its Inform ERP distribution software.
“In general, the underlying bones of our software come from having a strong counter presence and looking for ways to get customers in and out quickly while providing our users with access to information at the counter,” Vice President of Corporate Strategy Aung Latt says. “A major difference between our customers and the big-box stores is a higher level of specialized expertise, and our clients need to be able to access information and deliver to their customers as quickly as possible at the counter.”
As the company has continued to look for technological innovation, it created MobiOrder, a touch-based, tablet-friendly sales team solution for Inform ERP. DDI System has kept looking for ways to improve its offerings as Inform ERP has continued to add innovations that provide users with a full-fledged ERP, deeply integrated CRM, warehouse management, vendor-managed inventory, e-commerce and business intelligence.
“We’ve built product around the janitorial and sanitation sector and the paper and packing sector as part of our effort to diversify,” Latt says. “We’ve added features that could add to a customer’s sales initiatives, allow for repetitive buying and improve truck route operations. We have people here who have come from some larger software companies, and we understand how to build into our systems the functionality that distributors need without requiring an add-on. We build our functionality right into our system, refocusing and refining our product to help distributors.”
DDI System also finalized the acquisition of Johnstone Supply’s Data Services DSPro software division in 2014. That ensured that the company would have the technology and expertise to be a top solution provider for HVAC distributors.
One of the realities of DDI System’s business is the fact that its product and service offerings must evolve based on the needs of its customers’ customers. DDI System’s distributor customers saw that they needed better tools to manage their customers, which is why DDI System built CRM into its ERP.
“We’ve also looked at mobile to make sure we could deploy something that would make sense for a distributor and salespeople in the field,” Latt says. “E-commerce is another important area, which is why we built content management tools that could use the content in the ERP such as product imagery, description and pricing to make it easier for distributors to engage in e-commerce without having to integrate another system.”
DDI System is also making investments into its offerings that are designed to reflect what a sales counter of the future will look like and how customer interaction at the counter will take place.
One of the differences DDI System offers to customers is continuity. The people a customer speaks to on the phone and the people the customer deals with on-site during a system implementation are one and the same. “A lot of companies have professional services and the call center split up, and that can dilute the ability to provide support,” Latt says. “We have the go-live experience available on the phone and in the field.”
DDI System needs to be sure it is helping its customers to compete within their markets. By offering products and services that include functionality such as the ability to capture spend data and remove friction from processes, DDI System can help its customers be more efficient.
“In many ways, we are like the independent distributors we work with,” Latt says. “We are going up against bigger players, but what we bring to the table is the technical expertise and accessibility of our people. We are conscious of who our customers are and how to help them succeed.”
DDI System recognizes that the distribution landscape will continue to change, so it must remain nimble. Over the next year, the company will focus on solidifying its products so it can continue to be successful and provide its customers with the services that they need.
“A lot of our business comes from referrals, so we must be aware that we must keep putting back into our product and making sure our customers are happy,” Latt says. “We will continue to find ways to reduce issues within the workflow for our customers so they can improve how they run their business.”