Foodservice equipment parts distributor Parts Town last month acquired 3Plenish, a parts inventory management app, signaling its commitment to a digital growth strategy.
3Plenish focuses on replenishment for trucks used by field service-focused companies and other organizations that manage service technicians as well as parts stockrooms. “It's a technology that enables our inventory management through an app-based software application that helps technician and service companies primarily who may have challenges in managing their parts inventory, keeping it up to date, understanding what they need to replenish and when they need to replenish,” says Parts Town CEO Steve Snower.
Parts Town offers same-day shipping for orders placed before 9 p.m. When a client needs a food service equipment part, it's usually because a piece of kitchen equipment that is critical to running a commercial kitchen — in a hospital, school, hotel, etc. — isn't running properly, according to Snower.
For 15 years, the company has averaged organic growth of 35% a year, he says, with a business model that brings e-commerce, mobile app technology and other digital features to an industry that previously didn't have digital capabilities.
The company’s goal, Snower says, is to be first to market with unique technologies that can help those in the service industry identify and purchase the parts they need to keep their kitchens up and running. It includes acquiring technologies from companies that can further enhance such capabilities. Parts Town previously acquired 3Wire Foodservicein mid-2018.
“This tool [from 3Plenish] will allow our partners to load their inventories on to this capability, manage their inventory more effectively, improve their inventory turns, but also ensure that they always have the right amount of parts in stock to take care of their customer,” says Snower.
The biggest change Snower sees coming to the distribution industry is the transition to a more mobile-friendly brand of e-commerce.
“Clearly, we have a whole generation of people coming into the workforce right now that grew up with a device in their hand," he says. "That enables so many unique things and we're just seeing explosive growth in the use of mobile technology. What we're really trying to do now is pioneer advancements to the mobile technology platform that we've built so that we're way out in front as the market begins to evolve.”
The challenges facing the foodservice replenishment space are similar to those facing many distributors. “Restaurateurs, service technicians and the other parties that we serve every day are not sitting at a desk," Snower adds. "They're on the go, so we need to bring all of the information that they need to their device. They can have it wherever they are.”