By Aimee Chanthadavong

Solar water heating system retailer Solahart has invested into a location intelligence software solution from Pitney Bowes Business Insight.

Stephen Cranch, Solahart national sales and marketing manager, told Retailbiz that the new system will enable the company to better manage its expansion plans and maximise sales, by allowing them to target and identify new growth areas.

“We’ve been looking for a new system for some time. We use to take AVS data and manipulate it into spreadsheets, which became difficult and it didn’t give us enough information. With this predictive analysis, it lets us better decide where our dealerships should be and maximise our territories based on where free-standing households are,” he said.

The new solution allows Solahart to manage territory boundaries in which each authorised dealer has the exclusive right to market and install their products. It allows the company to also identify and understand which geographic areas are likely to be most profitable.

“We put in a territory map in each dealer’s agreement so that there’s no dispute. It helps clarify any grey areas that we’ve had in the past and so it’s a platform in terms of growth in making things more black and white,” Cranch said
“Also, we look at free standing households and where they’re highly populated and this software allows you to better manipulate the information based on postcode boundaries and we can overlay it with main roads, as well as factor in travelling times.”

The company has opened 20 new dealer operations in the last 12 months in conjunction with the installation of Pitney’s location intelligence solutions, according to Cranch.

“Over the last 12 months, we’ve increased our network by up to 40 per cent, more specifically from 70 to 100 dealers, by reducing the size of an average dealership and showing up in areas where there was a gap and this software has helped us figure out where these places were”

Cranch said he believes that as the federal government plans to phase out electric water heaters by 2012, the company will begin to grow as it uses the software as a platform to help determine its next dealership locations.

 “We’re in a very dynamic market hugely affected by government policies and regulations. We have to have a dynamic system that will let us make changes to the four million electric heaters that exists around the country so the limit is sky high and we feel this package will hep us build the business.”