Leading Solutions reveals online secrets

Leading Solutions reveals online secrets

When it comes to Leading Solutions managing director Frank Colli, there's nothing quite like driving a business with enthusiasm.

Colli has unveiled LS Online, Leading Solutions' Web site front-end to a sophisticated internal database, inventory and purchasing system known as Picasso - one million dollars and more than two years in the making. The Web site itself, as he repeatedly emphasised, was just three months under construction - it's the back-end work that's important.

In essence, LS Online gives customers the ability to obtain unique pricing for more than 100,000 products online, and place orders knowing real-time stock levels.

The problem with e-business Web sites, Colli chided, is there's too much hype and not enough functionality. And the need for "pretty" Web sites distracts people from the real purpose of making business more efficient, he said.

"A lot of time is spent in reactive servicing."

Amusingly though, Colli's enthusiasm itself bordered on hype as he explained the benefits of LS Online's "live" environment. "There isn't a play factor in this, it's live."

To its credit, LS Online immediately adjusts such things as stock availability when online purchases are made, and keeps pricing up to date via direct links with suppliers such as Hewlett-Packard, Tech Pacific and Express Data.

In fact, Leading Solutions believes so much in the efficiency of both Picasso and its Web front-end that Colli was prepared to roll out that famous line about the paper-less office.

"There is realistically no need internally for creating paper," he enthused, noting that the company's entire business has run on Picasso for 12 months.

It also seems Picasso's fame has spread in the industry. Colli reports one high-end services company has approached him to "license" the database for it's own use.

Given that Picasso remains Leading Solutions' key competitive advantage in the market, Colli indicated he is far from releasing the crown jewels to the public.

But customers can now get remarkably close to Leading Solutions' business. Not only does each customer have its own profile, allowing for automatic generation pricing on the Web (including individually negotiated margins), they can track all aspects of a sale down to the company's own warehouse inventory.

"The reality is most manufacturers or suppliers don't allow direct access to all their systems," he said. "If we're going to build true relationships with our clients we need to show them everything."

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