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Key Idea: Give Customers Exactly What They Want

Happy customers keep coming back.   More...

Key Question:

A: 

Give customers what they want when they want it.  Before the Internet became ubiquitous, David spent big bucks to use Electronic Data Interchange.  The King Company execute all business transactions electronically, thereby improving accuracy and speed. Processes that once took weeks, are now be done in minutes.

They got EDI because their big customers demanded it. Wal-Mart wants its inventory delivered "just in time." No one has a stock room anymore and Wal-Mart was one of the first companies in the world to perfect the just-in-time inventory system. When the watches arrive at Wal-Mart, they go straight to the sales floor. As the watches are sold, SII sees the activity in close to real time. Therefore, they can replenish stock without a Wal-Mart buyer placing an order.

EDI allowed David to deliver just in time and consistently best his competitors.

Think about it

What do your customers ask you to do?  Do you read between the lines and anticipate their needs?  Do you use technology to make it easier for customers to buy from you?

Clip from: The King Company with David Arnold

Austin, Texas:  He was a high school coach that loved watches.  It all began with a stop watch and became a love for any kind of watch.  The trunk of the family car was always filled with samples. And, he and his wife would go just about anywhere in Texas to find a new drugstore to carry his brand of time. When this story was taped, David had 65 employees and $50 million in annual sales. To create this American dream story, David did a lot of things right.

Look at ways he applied the most sophisticated technologies to the business of ordering, warehousing, selling, shipping and financial transaction processing (collecting on accounts receivable within minutes not 30-60 days).

The watch industry is one of the oldest, but here we learn about some of the newest business practices to create profits and a foundation for the future.

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The King Company, now SMI Direct

David Arnold, founder

Visit our web site: http://www.smidirect.com/

Business Classification:
Distribution

Year Founded: 1991

Give Customers Exactly What They Want

STERLING WOODY (Business Partner): David is a salesperson, and he needed someone to run the business side. So we said, `We complement each other real well. If you do the sales, let me do everything else.'

DUSTY MILLER (Business Partner): Hattie, over here we have our consumer warranty area.

DAVID: (Voiceover) Dusty Miller was my next-door neighbor.

DUSTY: And whenever a consumer buys one of our watches from a retailer in the United States, if they have any problems with it, they send it back here to us.

DAVID: (Voiceover) We watched football games and played Little League together and then finally I said, `Dusty, I need your help.'

DUSTY: Just a sampling of the accolades our people have gotten. They have done an excellent job. We've shortened the turnaround time on consumer warranties from six months to two weeks here.

HATTIE: (Voiceover) Since they took over this responsibility, customers are getting faster response.

DAVID: A lot of the retailers are demanding EDI hookups, which is electronic data interchange. We are very, very good at that.

HATTIE: And Seiko said, `That's what we want. We want a company like yours that is already on the front edge...'

DAVID: That's correct. Our distribution systems were as good as anybody. Our customers were very happy with us. Every retailer operates very lean.

HATTIE: Just-in-time?

DAVID: They like just-in-time inventory. They also like their products tagged (with a barcode system) so it doesn't require a lot of people to handle an item -- automation is king. Errors break down their system. Errors cost money. No one has room, time or the money for that, so they want a very good support system.

HATTIE: So, if you're a small business delivering a product, you'd better give it to them when they want it, how they want it, and what they want. With no excuses.

DAVID: That's correct. No excuses.

HATTIE: Can't say, `Well, I'm too small.'

DAVID: No excuses. If you're gonna play with the big boys, you have to play their way.

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