MANAGING COMPLEXITY FOR GROWTH COMPANIES - HOW TO MANAGE THREE MAIN STAGES OF GROWTH - OrderWise

 
MANAGING COMPLEXITY FOR GROWTH COMPANIES - HOW TO MANAGE THREE MAIN STAGES OF GROWTH - OrderWise
MANAGING COMPLEXITY FOR
GROWTH COMPANIES                                                                         Sponsored by

HOW TO MANAGE THREE MAIN STAGES OF GROWTH   A whitepaper produced by Tamebay in association with OrderWise I March 2019
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EDITOR’S INTRODUCTION
Scaling a retail business is no easy task. Complexities can         We discover how to make the most of the opportunities
occur quickly, distracting management from the day-to-day         within each phase. We see how retailers may be able to better
operations that made the business successful in the first         manage such growth through a single platform for business
place. If the right systems and processes aren’t in place to      expansion that allows them to handle all their daily processes
start with, or aren’t adopted as soon as growth demands           from one point.
better management of the basics, then problems can
                                                                    We also speak to a number of retailers at different stages
escalate even faster.
                                                                  of their own growth journeys to understand what issues they
  Growing retail businesses can find themselves with a            have faced and how their move to a single management
spaghetti junction of systems and processes that have been        platform – one which brings everything from warehouse or
adapted to cope with the initial growth but may not be capable    EPOS management under one roof – has enabled them to
of managing what is required for long-term survival and           better cope with growth.
future growth.
                                                                    We hear their stories of expansion as well as their
  This can lead to both businesses and sellers becoming           ambitions for the future. By doing so, we can understand the
overwhelmed and making basic mistakes, such as overselling        importance of having an overall, holistic approach that allows
or sending out incorrect orders. Not only can this impact on      growing retailers to have better control of both their day-to-
the immediate sale, it can also affect future sales, since it     day operations as well as more effective management and
betrays the positive customer experience required to retain       planning for longer-term expansion aspirations.
and encourage repeat customers. The hard work established
with the foundation of the business can quickly unravel
simply because the retailer was unable to cope with the
additional orders driven by their initial success.
   In this whitepaper, produced by Tamebay in association
with our partner OrderWise, we look at how to avoid such a
situation. We examine the pain points in three main areas
of growth to try and understand the problems that growing
retailers face. What are the challenges that they might face in
each phase and what should they be keeping a close eye on?                                                                              LIZ MORRELL
                                                                                                                                   WHITEPAPER EDITOR
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HOW TO JUGGLE THE BALANCING ACT OF GROWTH
For ecommerce retailers looking to expand, getting the right       With this in mind, we have drawn on our experience of
back-end infrastructure in place is crucial for sustainable      helping over 1,100 businesses over the last 30 years and put
growth. We know from speaking to the businesses that we          together this whitepaper in association with Tamebay, looking
help everyday that being able to cope with the extra demand      at the common issues ecommerce retailers can encounter as
brought on from adding new product ranges and introducing        they grow.
new sales channels, while still fulfilling orders on time, can
                                                                   In this document, you can expect to find first-hand advice
become a difficult balancing act.
                                                                 on how having a single business management solution can
   Without a centralised view of what stock is held where,       help facilitate growth through helping to keep costs down,
in what quantity, what orders are in transit and the ability     driving greater automation and improving accuracy and
to keep this information updated across websites, online         efficiency in all areas.
marketplaces and operating systems, businesses can
very quickly become overwhelmed with getting the right
information to employees and customers.
   Although the common solution is to look for a short-term
fix, businesses will quickly run into these challenges again
as they reach the next stage of their growth. We also see
businesses implementing multiple systems to serve specific
purposes within their operations, but the result of this is
companies adding to their costs rather than reducing them.
  In most cases working in this way also ends up further
disconnecting the business, meaning an inaccurate picture
of final sales margins and more manual data transfer to get
information to its intended recipient. Therefore, businesses      OrderWise Business Management Software offers companies one single
should instead anticipate the obstacles they will face at         integrated system to manage all aspects of their daily operations. This
during growth and identify solutions that will help them as       includes tools for stock control, order processing, CRM, marketing,
they scale up operations at each stage.                           warehouse management and accounts, as well as integration with numerous       DAVID HALLAM
                                                                  website, marketplace and courier platforms.                               MANAGING DIRECTOR
                                                                                                                                                   ORDERWISE
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INTRODUCTION: WHY RETAILERS NEED TO BEWARE THE
COMPLEXITIES OF GROWTH
The world of ecommerce has opened up opportunities for
sellers and retailers to start small and grow quickly. As a
result, successful retailers and sellers can be born with
processes which, at this early stage, are often simple and
with little consideration of what the future might bring. As
the business grows, these basic systems may no longer
be suitable and sellers can end up feeling overwhelmed –
especially if growth comes at a faster rate than expected.
  Effectively managing the impact of operational process
change as a business evolves and grows can be one of
the biggest challenges faced by a retailer, says OrderWise
managing director, David Hallam. “Although certain methods
of processing and fulfilling orders may work initially,” he says,
“as more lines are introduced, sales channels are expanded,
and higher volume of orders are received, working from
multiple Excel spreadsheets, or disconnected systems that
don’t talk to each other, can start to become an issue.”
  From this point, operational problems can start to develop
which will only escalate as the business continues to grow.
“Stock levels aren’t maintained correctly, sales opportunities
are missed as online channels don’t display the right
                                                                    Image: en.fotolia.com/bizvector

information, orders become frequently mis-picked by staff and
customer service levels begin to fall,” says Hallam.
  The duplication of information and lack of a holistic view
can also mean that retailers don’t have the data that they
need to make effective decisions about managing their
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growth. “Reports then don’t show the true picture as to what        time is spent importing and exporting data between systems,           If they are to get the most out of their businesses, retailers
is causing profitability to stagnate because data is manually       rather than effectively marketing the brand, increasing sales      have to become customer service champions, ensuring that
pulled and compiled from numerous sources rather than one           and accurately fulfilling orders.”                                 all customer contact – from queries and complaints to returns
common location, with results of this analysis also becoming                                                                           – are dealt with quickly and efficiently. “When it comes to
quickly outdated,” he says.                                                                                                            unlocking that extra 20%, businesses also need to look at who
                                                                    HOW TO MANAGE THE GROWTH                                           is buying what and when. Or, equally importantly, who is not
  At this point, many businesses may then turn to basic             In the early stages of growth, retailers should be trying to       buying what and when,” says Hallam.
multichannel software to get their sales platforms back in          understand the areas within their business where changes             Understanding customer buying behaviour provides sales
order. However, Hallam says that this doesn’t always fix the core   can have the biggest positive impact. “The Pareto principle,       and marketing teams with key information so that they know
issues regarding back-end stock control and order fulfilment.       or 80/20 rule, comes into play here,” says Hallam. “That’s         what to discuss and when. This allows them to understand
                                                                    the concept that changes in a few vital areas – the 20% – will     not only general business trends but also customer-specific
                                                                    deliver 80% of the improvements.”                                  trends and behaviour related to their activity cycles. It also
IDENTIFYING WHEN THINGS ARE GOING WRONG                                                                                                allows them to better identify when customers stop buying
Higher levels of error are indicative of the fact that existing       However, once those improvements have been delivered,            something, or when performance of a product or category on a
systems are no longer working. Efficiency can also quickly be       he notes that retailers then need to look for the next             specific sales channel dips.
                                                                    opportunities, in order to ensure that they can maximise their
a problem, especially if, for example, there is a lot of manual
                                                                    profit growth with a minimal growth in their costs.                 WARNING SIGNS THAT EXISTING SYSTEMS AND PROCESSES CAN NO LONGER
effort in the business, from warehouse staff picking off paper
                                                                      At this point, Hallam says that it’s vital to do everything to    COPE
notes, to passing or rekeying data from orders into courier
platforms, reporting tools or accounts systems. Growing             keep the existing customers happy, rather than concentrating        • Items oversold on website because accurate stock information isn’t
retailers and sellers can be distracted by such nitty-gritty        on getting new ones. “Research shows that it costs five times         synchronised quickly enough between online sales channels
basics rather than focusing on strategies that will help            more to attract a new customer than to keep an existing one,        • Pickers arriving at warehouse bins and not finding enough stock
                                                                    and that your chances of selling to them is five to 20%. With
company growth.                                                                                                                         • Wrong items sent to customers, who can become dissatisfied and start to
                                                                    existing customers, however, the chance of selling to them is
                                                                    up to 70%. They are also 50% more likely to try new products          shop elsewhere
  “When businesses are operating across multiple systems
for website/marketplace listings, online order processing,          and will spend up to 31% more when compared to new                  • Stock valuations and sales margins not matching up to reality as true
stock control and accounts, the issue is that getting the           customers. Therefore, businesses need to ensure that they             purchasing costs not considered
necessary information to where it needs to go relies on some        are developing and maintaining good relationships with their        • Processes taking longer or becoming confused because of repetitive,
form of manual data transfer,” says Hallam. “This means staff       customers.”                                                           manual entry
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HOW TO SCALE A BUSINESS FOR GREATER REVENUE
The growth starting point for retailers is to scale their initial    the business, companies will naturally find themselves with
success. But, as we alluded to in the introduction, it’s here        extra capacity to cater for demand as staff time is freed up.
that problems can quickly arise if systems and processes             Therefore, when it comes to behind-the-scenes management
aren’t able to cope with the extra demand.                           of online trading, businesses should have solid data
                                                                     integration to keep all processes streamlined.”
  Ensuring that the basics are right at this stage is vital before
other routes of expansion are considered. “It’s important for          Nick Johnson is in charge of business development for

                                                                                                                                       Image: en.fotolia.com/bizvector
businesses to ensure they have the capacity to fulfil a greater      screen protector retailer Celicious. He admits that the initial
volume of orders before entering new ventures,” says Hallam.         phase of growth was tough for Celicious because the company
                                                                     didn’t have the right systems in place to manage the extra
  How the business looks behind the scenes at this stage,            orders. “Managing the increasing level of inventory, customers
as well as the types of systems retailers are working from,          and orders was extremely challenging without a proper
can vary hugely. “There isn’t necessarily a typical behind the       back-end system in place,” he admits. “A lot of the day-to-day
scenes,” notes Hallam. “Some businesses may simply be                processes were being carried out manually, which in turn had
working off several Excel spreadsheets along with website            an impact on the overall performance of the business as a                                    that customers come back for more. “We can do this through
and marketplace CMS for managing listings. Others may have           whole.”                                                                                      excellent service,” says managing director Adam Westwood.
online store feeders and separate accounting systems. If they                                                                                                     “Building repeat custom is crucial.”
aren’t using third-party fulfilment services and have their own
warehouse, they may also have a separate stock management                                                                                                           Hallam agrees that as businesses grow, concentrating on
                                                                     KEEPING CUSTOMERS HAPPY
bolted onto their accounts software, or a basic WMS system                                                                                                        keeping customers happy is vital. “Online traders will tell
                                                                     Cracks appearing at this stage of growth can be dangerous                                    you that having a strong website that effectively promotes
that enables stock to be scanned in and out.” For some, the
system could be as basic as staff walking around with paper          since keeping customers happy is vital – especially since                                    your brand and products is only half the battle,” he says. “It’s
pick notes and paper purchase order forms.                           repeat custom and word of mouth recommendations help                                         equally important to have the capacity on the back-end to fulfil
                                                                     to drive natural growth for a retailer that may not yet have                                 online orders accurately and efficiently, ensuring customers
                                                                     a large marketing budget. This means being able to provide                                   return to your business again and again.”
THE NEED FOR GREATER ACCURACY, EFFICIENCY AND PRODUCTIVITY           a great customer experience of the basics, such as giving
Hallam says that greater accuracy, efficiency and productivity       customers up-to-date information on current orders, previous                                        WHAT TO CONCENTRATE ON IN THIS PHASE OF GROWTH
can only be achieved by good integration between platforms           orders, returns and the like, regardless of the sales channels                                      • Integration between platforms and departments
and departments, as well as replacing manual systems with            they originally came through.                                                                       • Better flow and ability to transfer and sychronise data across the business
more efficient processes that allow staff to concentrate on             At online mountain bike specialist Biketart, the company’s                                       • Effective stock management
other things. “By allowing for more automation of operations,        growth is based on taking sales away from larger companies                                          • Clear visibility of stock across all physical locations, websites and marketplaces
and how information is transferred and synchronised across           in the market who can often better compete on price. To do
                                                                                                                                                                         • Customer service to ensure that customers aren’t lost through mistakes
                                                                     this relies on driving the best customer experience to ensure
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HOW TO HANDLE A MORE COMPLICATED STRUCTURE
After a retailer has expanded on its initial success by selling more   trading across several online marketplaces and decide to branch        employing more staff. “In virtually every case the answer is yes,”
of the same, a more complicated structure is inevitable, especially    out by introducing new seller accounts, international marketplaces     he says.
once retailers grow beyond the initial one-man band or small           or their own website, listings will only need to be created once. In
                                                                                                                                                 “Increasing turnover and profits per head is a great metric. If you
company stage.                                                         addition, order details can be automatically sent across to courier
                                                                                                                                              can reduce costs at one end through efficiency and more intelligent
                                                                       services, rather than staff needing to manually rekey them. If sales
   It may be that they have taken on additional staff, have moved                                                                             working, while increasing sales at the other, then you have a winning
                                                                       orders are being drop shipped by suppliers, then the raising of
to bigger or additional warehouses, or expanded into new product                                                                              formula. An easy way to achieve this for online order fulfilment is
                                                                       purchase orders with suppliers can also be automated with the
ranges and sales channels. Such retailers may even be thinking                                                                                arming staff with barcode scanning technology. It’s proven to speed
                                                                       right solution, further eliminating duplication.”
of international expansion – either with their own stores and                                                                                 up order picking and also massively reduce mis-picks.” At this stage
websites or through international marketplaces. Whatever the                                                                                  of growth, it’s often within the supply chain that the biggest problems
reason for the more complicated structure, the need to keep a          KEEPING AN EYE ON THE NUMBERS                                          can arise, since company-wide visibility becomes stretched. As
grip on the fundamentals of the business is, at this stage, more                                                                              with the first phase of growth, where retailers were simply handling
                                                                       As businesses grow and costs increase, it is vital to monitor how
important than ever.                                                                                                                          more orders, in this more complicated structure phase of growth,
                                                                       the company is doing and the margins that are being made. Small
                                                                                                                                              a central view can be key to success. “Having one central system
   At Biketart, the company already sells successfully                 inaccuracies in stock valuations and order profitability may not
                                                                                                                                              means that websites, marketplaces and warehouse operations are
internationally but Westwood says that having a centralised            be an issue for companies in the initial phase of growth but can
                                                                                                                                              all pulling from the same data set. Processes therefore become
system in place means it can easily cope with having hundreds          escalate quickly in this next stage.
                                                                                                                                              more streamlined, with online orders instantly visible to suppliers
of thousands more products if necessary. “We can run
                                                                          “Without the right system in place to consider true landed          for drop shipping, or to warehouse staff for rapid fulfilment,” says
multiple locations with ease should we decide on, for example,
                                                                       costs – such as purchasing costs including any import fees or          Hallam. “What’s more, as the system being used to purchase stock
international warehouses in the future,” he notes.
                                                                       additional shipping – businesses may be making less profit             is the same as the one being used to manage sales, profitability is
                                                                       than their projections indicate,” says Hallam. “On the flip side,      much more accurate and shows a true reflection, which allows for
THE NEED FOR A HOLISTIC VIEW DESPITE A MORE COMPLICATED STRUCTURE      businesses may be making more profit than they think on some           better price negotiations.”
                                                                       items, meaning minimum prices on automatic repricing tools
Hallam says that in this stage of growth, it can be challenging for
                                                                       for the likes of eBay and Amazon are set higher than they need          WHAT TO CONCENTRATE ON IN THIS PHASE OF GROWTH
retailers to effectively monitor sales performance because there
                                                                       to be, potentially causing some sales opportunities to be lost to
is more to consider and manage. The complexities of structure                                                                                  • Effectively monitoring sales performance
                                                                       competitors.”
that can be introduced by growth can quickly trip business owners                                                                              • Avoiding overselling by having a view of all channels
up if they don’t have an overall view of the business.                    Retailers also need to ensure that they are effectively managing     • Testing new channels – eg overseas through marketplaces
                                                                       their expanded structures and additional staff, with automation         • Making good margins (so being aware of all costs)
   “As businesses begin to expand their operations, working from
                                                                       introduced wherever it might be most effective. Hallam                  • Bringing fulfilment in-house to better control, allowing the proper setup of warehouse
one central system and database will also enable less duplication
                                                                       thinks retailers have to understand if the benefit of making
of work,” says Hallam. “For example, if businesses are already                                                                                 • Checking business against the competition
                                                                       an investment to increase capacity is more cost effective than
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HOW TO MANAGE ADDITIONAL RESPONSIBILITIES
During this phase of growth, retailers are driving further           Some companies will be finding new routes to market              DOING MORE TO APPEAL TO EXISTING CUSTOMERS
growth through the introduction of additional responsibilities     entirely at this stage of growth. At Biketart, having efficient    As they grow further, retailers also place a greater emphasis on
and services. This could be new product lines and sales            systems has allowed the company to branch out and use its          customer retention and loyalty. In this case, the introduction of
channels, or complete new offerings. Whatever the new              expertise and infrastructure for other companies – adding          loyalty schemes – as with the introduction of services such as
responsibilities and services are, a closer than ever control on   additional revenue and growth opportunities to its own             click and collect – can help to boost customer spend.
the basics is vital to ensure that retailers are not distracted    business. “We do storage and order fulfilment for several
                                                                                                                                        “Companies use loyalty schemes because they work,” says
from the core of their business.                                   companies/brands already and this is an area of our business
                                                                                                                                      Hallam. “It is not just about encouraging repeat custom by giving
                                                                   that we plan to expand,” says Westwood. “We have extremely
   “It is all well and good opening new sales channels and                                                                            customers the ability to spend and earn points both online and
                                                                   efficient systems that let us provide a first class storage and
introducing new product lines,” says Hallam, “but the danger                                                                          in-store. Loyalty schemes also allow businesses to make high
                                                                   dispatch system for other brands that may lack the capability
is that these new avenues end up costing the business money                                                                           margin or clearance items more attractive by offering additional
                                                                   (or desire!) to do it themselves. If brands can focus on their
rather than adding to their profitability. Businesses may invest                                                                      loyalty points when customers purchase them.”
                                                                   own brand development and customer service, we can handle
in new products that end up overstocked in their warehouse,
                                                                   the logistics.”                                                       Retailers can be pushing more online too – such as by bundling
resulting in dead capital. Then, as more sales channels are
                                                                                                                                      related products to increase average order values. “Most
introduced, businesses increase their risk of overselling as          Biketart’s expansion into being an order fulfilment provider
                                                                                                                                      businesses have products that are naturally bought together,
stock sold on one marketplace may not be updated in time           as well as traditional retailer also allows protection for the
                                                                                                                                      so putting these front and centre makes customer lives easier
without the right processes and synchronisation in place.”         company in a market that is facing change due, in part, to an
                                                                                                                                      and increases sales values. It’s a real win-win,” says Hallam.
                                                                   increased direct-to-consumer approach from bike brands which
                                                                                                                                      However, as retailers and traders are widening their sales
                                                                   is reducing the need for bike stores. This means the retailer
ENABLING NEW ROUTES TO MARKET                                                                                                         channels and growing the size of their operations, the need
                                                                   has not only thought through its current phase of growth but
                                                                                                                                      to keep information centralised is more important than ever.
For many pure play retailers, this phase of growth could           also looked to the future. “Our growth as a warehousing and
be an expansion into bricks and mortar stores to increase                                                                             This isn’t just for delivering accurate and efficient back-end
                                                                   fulfilment provider is designed to position us well when some of
sales directly, as well as drive brand awareness online. This                                                                         processes, it’s also about delivering the omnichannel experience
                                                                   these traditional models change,” says Westwood.
can introduce a whole host of complexities such businesses                                                                            that consumers expect on the front end as well. Growth is a
haven’t previously had to deal with. Retailers may also be           He notes that having a business capable of coping with           continual journey that requires continual monitoring.
introducing new services to meet customer expectations,            change, new ideas and responsibilities is key to success
such as click and collect, order in-store for delivery and the     long-term. “We can already experiment with new ideas                WHAT TO CONCENTRATE ON IN THIS PHASE OF GROWTH
ability to return orders in-store if needed. “This seamless        without affecting customers and this will be easier when our        • Maintaining data visibility
omnichannel customer journey is becoming the norm,” notes          new OrderWise website is live. Our original intention was to
Hallam. “Businesses that don’t have the capacity to deliver                                                                            • Streamlining processes
                                                                   be a small online bike retailer. Things have changed and we
this customer service-driven model may find themselves                                                                                 • Ensuring that departments are communicating effectively
                                                                   will continue to alter the original business model to suit the
losing out to competitors.”                                                                                                            • Managing returns and the customer experience as part of this
                                                                   industry, profitability and where we see future potential.”
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RETAILER FOCUS
BIKETART: EFFICIENT SYSTEMS ALLOWS THE RETAILER TO EXPLOIT ITS STRENGTHS AND
BUILD NEW REVENUE STREAMS
www.biketart.com
Online bike retailer Biketart, which specialises in mountain bikes, parts, clothing and
accessories, is based near Canterbury and launched ten years ago. As well as the website, it
also operates a warehouse and showroom in the city.
  Managing director Adam Westwood says the company saw massive growth in its financial
year 2017-18, with revenues up 60%. Its growth has continued in the 2018-2019 financial year,
with the company taking on more warehousing, product lines and staff. The company also has
ambitious plans for the future, for both its own retail growth as well as the expansion of its
fulfilment offering for other businesses.
  “We aim to grow further, with a focus on increased profitability, stronger and more focused
marketing, the development of own-brand goods and building partnerships with brands and
suppliers,” says Westwood. “We have the ability to continue our growth curve but whilst the
bike industry remains in a tricky period, our focus is establishing ourselves as a go-to online
store.”
  To manage the company’s future growth as well as a changing market, Westwood says
that having the right systems and processes in place for future opportunities are key. He           He also credits the single system as being vital in achieving such efficiencies. “I can’t over-
claims that his system and efficiencies are stronger than many online retailers larger in         emphasise how crucial this has been to us. We have total visibility of everything going on in
size than Biketart. “Within five years, the industry will have changed considerably,” he says.    the business in one place.”
“Strengthening our foundations now and broadening the scope of the business will set us in
good stead.”                                                                                        Biketart is also developing a new website with OrderWise which Westwood believes will
                                                                                                  give total integration with all back-office systems and bring more advantage to the business.
   In a hugely competitive market dominated by very large online bike retailers, Westwood         “We will gain huge efficiencies in listing products for online sale compared to our current
says the business quickly outgrew its older back-office and web systems before investing          web system, which is constraining our online growth,” he says. “Customers will be able to
in OrderWise. “Closer links with suppliers, better management of stock levels and a               modify orders online and the changes will sync with the system straight away. The platform
commitment to full-time rather than part-time staff have all helped to drive the business,”       we currently have can take us through huge future growth. We can easily handle thousands
he says. “But in terms of overcoming the challenges of growth, the key has been to make           of orders per day with it, whether those are our own, or fulfilment orders for the other
everything as efficient as possible.”                                                             businesses we work with.”
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 FINISTERRE: RIDING THE WAVE OF SUCCESS
 www.finisterre.com
 Cold water surf retailer Finisterre was established in 2003 and has since grown to include mens
 and womenswear. Although initially an online retailer, the company opened its first bricks and
 mortar store in London’s Covent Garden four years ago and now has seven stores, including ones
 in Edinburgh, Exeter and Bristol.
   Sarah Edwards, operations director of Finisterre, says: “We are well established but still
 quite small and niche and there is a lot more opportunity for store growth in the UK, as well
 as growth internationally too.”
    The company plans to double its turnover in the next three years, through a consolidation
 of the learnings of its retail stores, as well as making more of the data insights from
 its business. It has been using OrderWise since July 2018. “Before that, we had Excel
 spreadsheets and three sets of data, so our awareness of data wasn’t very robust,” says
 Edwards. “We decided in October 2017 that we needed to spend money on a new ERP
 system.”
   Finisterre’s new system has particularly helped with stock control. “Before, we were picking
 out of boxes and everything was handwritten. It was really hard to know what stock levels
 were. Now, we have fantastic visibility on where stock is in the stores and the warehouse.”
   The introduction of the single system has also led to a 30% improvement in cost efficiency
 within the retailer’s warehouse operations by being better able to manage productivity.
 Most importantly, it’s given the retailer a solid base on which to grow further. “It gives us the
 reliability we need to grow,” says Edwards. “Now we don’t have to worry about stock accuracy
 and access to data so we can spend our energy on other things – such as the customer side of
 the business.”
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CELICIOUS: PROTECTING THE CURRENT AND FUTURE GROWTH OF THE BUSINESS
www.celicious.com
Online retailer Celicious is based in London and specialises in designing, manufacturing and
retailing screen protection films and privacy filters for smartphones, tablets, laptops and
monitors. In addition to the company’s website, the retailer also has a presence on online
marketplaces across multiple locales, giving it an international presence that is continually
expanding.
  Over the next 12-24 months, the company plans to expand into the US, Canada and
Australia. “Once these markets are established, the focus will turn to non-English speaking
countries like France, Germany, Italy and Spain,” says Nick Johnson, who is in charge of
business development at Celicious. “Ultimately, the aim would be to establish a physical
presence in each of these markets to better cater for the local demand.”
  Although the company’s expansion plans are now more aggressive, Johnson admits the
company’s initial growth was hampered by inefficiencies in the business. Manual input for
many processes meant the company struggled to cope with its initial growth simply because it
didn’t have a proper back-end system in place.
  Today, OrderWise manages the company’s entire inventory, customers, suppliers,
manufacturing, despatch and warehousing. “We’ve implemented a robust back-end system
that manages the entire business process,” says Johnson. “Where a great deal of time
was previously taken synchronising data between multiple systems and manually entering
information, now a single system has streamlined almost all day-to-day business activities.
This has increased operational efficiency and eliminated unnecessary errors.”
  Time and overheads have been reduced as a result, allowing staff more time to concentrate
on other parts of the businesss, as well as to manage its future growth and planned
international expansion. Johnson says this means that the company is now confident it can
handle future growth without distraction from the basics. “We no longer forsee any further
challenges around growth when it comes to operations,” he says.
  Using the system to increase efficiency has also led to a reduction in numbers of staff for
some parts of the business, as well as freeing up resources in order to concentrate on other
parts of the business. Johnson feels that driving this sort of efficiency is key to enabling
growth. “Along the journey of growth, always look at ways to increase operational efficiency,”
he advises.
12 l TAMEBAY.COM

 SAM TURNER & SONS: GROWING ON AN 88-YEAR HERITAGE
 www.sam-turner.co.uk
 Garden and farm supplies business Sam Turner & Sons has been a family business serving
 North Yorkshire since 1931, when it was founded by Charlie Turner’s great grandfather Sam.
 The company now has stores in Northallerton, Piercebridge, Stokesley and Leyburn. Well-
 established as a bricks and mortar business, Sam Turner & Sons is now working hard to
 increase its online presence as well as increase its store numbers, with two new locations
 planned for the next twelve months.
    Since the company recently installed a new ERP, Charlie Turner says that his first priority
 is to get used to it and for the business develop their own internal systems so they can get the
 most out of it in terms of stock control, CRM and sales analysis.
   Turner says that during its 88 years, the company has seen any number of challenges –
 “Everything from recessions and foot and mouth disease, to a shortage of labour types, Brexit
 and the demise of the high street.” And Turner knows more will come. “In the immediate
 future, Brexit and an uncertain wider economy have to be the main challenges,” he says.
   “Beyond that, it’s getting people into store or to engage with us online. To that end, we
 believe the steps we have to take are essentially the same. Through customer service, product
 range and value, we aim to be the place that people want to shop because we are good to deal
 with.”
   Sam Turner & Sons is four months into a go-live with OrderWise but despite it being early
 days, the system is already allowing the company to develop fast, says Turner. “The signs are
 that this single system is going to give us the single customer view that we were after. It will
 control our stock and allow a more joined-up approach in communicating amongst ourselves,
 as well as with our customers.”
   It’s allowed the business to improve efficiencies too. “We are finding that through the
                                                                                                    extract useful bits of data out of the system that either prove or disprove what we thought has
 implementation of OrderWise, we are able to make labour or time savings in some areas of
                                                                                                    been going on for years.”
 the business as we adopt new processes,” he says. “It’s a very logical system that is intuitive
 to new users. It provides reliable data quickly so we are able to find out how we are doing on a     Such insights can be very surprising. “For example, we thought that our bestselling product
 daily basis and react accordingly.”                                                                was a fence board but this was not quite true. Since we have two cafes, our best-selling
                                                                                                    product by number is actually cups of tea!”
    Turner feels that the business is now able to get more information about how the business
 is doing. “It has made the purchasing procedure quicker and more detailed,” he says. “Having         The company now has a solid IT foundation on which to build its future. “Our old systems
 four physical stores and a website, it has enabled everyone to see everything, which improves      were at breaking point,” he notes. “We now have an opportunity to grow in an organised,
 productivity and communication. We are now easily able to find out how we are doing and can        planned way.”
TAMEBAY.COM l 13

CONCLUSION
In this whitepaper, we have found how quickly scaling up can                                 This need is perhaps best summed up by Hallam, who         it often highlights a weakness elsewhere. The key is to follow
overwhelm a growing business. Individual, basic systems                                    urges expanding retailers to remember that growth is a       the process from start to finish, identifying the potential
implemented at startup work fine initially but at some point,                              continual process. “The requirements that companies have     bottlenecks along the way and prioritise those that will have
retailers have to look at more sophisticated systems and                                   now are not what they will need after years of growth,” he   the biggest impact on your business.”
processes in order to better streamline their workflows and
                                                                                           says. “As businesses make changes or improve in one area,
cope with extra demand. This not only improves efficiency but
also accuracy, allowing growth to continue unimpeded.
  While retailers can continue with multiple systems as they
grow, we’ve also seen the benefits of integrating company-
wide data into one centralised system. This can reduce
inaccuracies, ensure data is more seamlessly transferred
between departments and give a truer picture of the business.
  Crucially, this can lead to improvements across the business
and free up resource, allowing staff to focus on more business-
critical areas such as attracting new customers, improving
customer service or exploring other avenues of further growth.
  Once businesses begin to widen their sales channels and
grow the size of their operations, it becomes even more
crucial to keep information centralised. This is not just for
delivering accurate and efficient back-end processes, but also
for delivering the omnichannel experience that consumers
expect on the front end as well.
  There are many new technologies and processes that
retailers can look to adopt as they grow but the easier it is to
                                                                   Image: en.fotolia.com/bizvector

manage what they have, the easier they will find it to add new
technologies and processes. Most importantly, retailers who
want to grow have to ensure that they can react quickly and
effectively to change. This means ensuring that the basics of
the business can cope.
TAMEBAY.COM l 15

                             Eseller Publishing Ltd
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                                 123 Cannon Street
                                 London, EC4N 5AU
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The editorial content does not necessarily reflect
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                the publication. www.tamebay.com
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                              With thanks to

A whitepaper produced by Tamebay in association with OrderWise I March 2019
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