Where It All Began
Prior to the early 1990s, businesses typically ordered a three-month supply of inventory at a time.
However, in 1994, one of Zatkoff’s customers wanted to buy parts in monthly quantities. Not only was the request out of the ordinary, but the quantities were also too small for the distributor to handle. The customer’s parts were 80% custom, so the Zatkoff team assumed the customer wouldn’t take their business elsewhere, declining the request for monthly orders. Unfortunately, six months later, the client did just that. It was a blow, but also a big learning experience for the Zatkoff team — one that showed it was time for innovation in the company.
The initial ZAP>IT — not called this at the time — utilized a floppy disk to download information onto a computer, and sent order information via dial-up modem. While it was quite advanced for its time, it was still a clunky system due to technology limitations, as computers were largely complicated and difficult to maintain. The Zatkoff team needed further testing and improvements to the process to serve customer needs more effectively by reducing the burden of maintaining specific hardware and software.