Midwest Wheel boosts service with AI-driven solution

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Updated May 20, 2021
Midwest Wheel Warehouse
Midwest Wheel Companies

Midwest Wheel Companies is using Infor Coleman AI-driven parts recommendations to boost customer service, reducing sales order processing time by 30 percent and helping customers save money by ordering the right mix of parts, according to an announcement.

Midwest Wheel has seven facilities in Iowa and Missouri and carries a full line of replacement heavy-duty fleet products, light truck accessories, light trailer products, commercial fleet parts and school bus replacement parts.

According to Steve McEnany, Midwest Wheel vice president of marketing and technology, Infor’s cloud solutions have played a key role in growing the business and enabling Midwest Wheel to recently open its seventh location.

“I really don’t see us having a seventh location if we hadn’t made the move [to Infor cloud solutions], because we would have been on a much slower growth path,” McEnany adds.

Infor’s Coleman AI solution has put parts information and recommendations at the fingertips of its customer-facing teams, enabling them to serve customers more effectively, he says.

Previously, some of the company’s customers lost time at the sales counter, or over the phone, when salespeople had to manually search for the right interdependent parts to order for repairs. In some cases, customers needed to come back and place orders for more parts if they didn’t get all they needed the first time. Further, salespersons sometimes missed additional sales opportunities because they weren’t always familiar with all the combinations of parts that are commonly sold together.

In looking at ways to automate and improve the process, Infor says it developed an artificial intelligence (AI) application, which analyzes order data and includes a recommendation engine. The application was deployed in only four weeks, and Midwest Wheel’s salespeople didn’t need any special skills or training to use it.

McEnany says the Infor Coleman AI solution has improved the customer experience and improved sales productivity as parts recommendations have now been embedded in sales order screens.

“Infor Coleman AI can shorten the time on the phone and parts counter by up to 30 percent,” McEnany says. “When you look at what it costs per minute to spend time with a customer to process an order, there’s certainly some dollar savings just in that alone. And, the fact that the machine is recommending parts, which a salesperson might have forgotten to suggest, also adds to the bottom line.”

For example, he notes, Infor Coleman AI was able to recommend 10 accurate additional parts for a spring order, based on what has been ordered in the past. Ultimately, customers can also save money, because initially ordering the right mix of parts can translate to increased product lifetimes and fewer repairs.

As a longtime Infor customer, Midwest Wheel also is using Infor CloudSuite Distribution and Infor Birst analytics to help manage inventory across its seven warehouses, enable complex Infor Intelligent Open Network (ION) workflows and alerts, and do more online business. With Infor’s multi-tenant cloud solutions, including Infor OS (Operating Service), the company has improved customer service, realizing as much as a 15 percent improvement in order fill rates, the company says.        

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