Out Deco was formed when two friends, Dawn and Rae, decided to make a change in their career paths and leave their corporate jobs behind. Dawn had lived in China for a number of years and became aware of garden products that were available there. She thought there was a market for them back home in New Zealand. Dawn and Rae decided to test the theory and established Out Deco Ltd which specialises in garden accessories in 2007, the company has grown steadily since.
Dawn and Rae wanted the business to fit in with their desire to lead active lives, be able to travel and not be stuck in front of a computer all day. The business has several components – an online shop, trade and selling direct at shows and markets. When they set up Out Deco they started with an offline solution for their accounting (done by Rae) and inventory (done by Dawn), but found it frustrating not being able to access each other’s data, particularly when they were living in different cities.
They researched alternative options but the purchase price was off-putting for what was a reasonably new business and they didn’t offer a basic start-up system that could be expanded over time. Dawn and Rae weren’t sure at that stage how big the business was going to grow and the idea of spending a large sum of money on a software system that might not suit their needs down the line didn’t appeal.
Dawn and Rae heard about Xero for the accounting side. The idea of going cloud-based, paying a monthly fee and having a user-friendly system automatically upgraded over time had immense appeal. The missing piece of the puzzle for them to make the switch was an inventory component, and when they learned about Unleashed, which was just getting started at that time, they decided to go for it.
Implementing Unleashed and Xero themselves, they were early adopters of the integration between the two systems and have continued to run Out Deco with a pioneering attitude and determined outlook. Being cloud-based has offered a lot of flexibility for their business model. Dawn was working from Thailand and preparing the data for go-live with Unleashed from there while Rae was back in New Zealand.
Talking on implementation Dawn comments “The self-help tools are very useful. The screenshots help you know exactly what it is that you’re supposed to do.” Dawn has high praise for the response her queries get when they do turn to Unleashed staff for help.
Unleashed is the stock engine for the four sales channels: trade, direct, shows and their website. Dawn says “It’s not complicated with Unleashed, the tools are there to manage those channels you need to be creative at times as no two businesses are the same”
Real-time Accurate Business Insight, From Anywhere
Dawn really rates the accuracy of Unleashed and has confidence that all stock is accounted for. “Following those processes in Unleashed just means that you’re doing things above board and correctly. It’s built into the system.”
“I’ve heard about some businesses getting into real strife, and I just think to myself ‘A system like Unleashed is such a small investment for the integrity and insight that it gives you into what’s happening with your stock, why wouldn’t you?’ I can’t understand why people don’t invest in good systems.”
“The reporting systems in Unleashed make it really simple to compare the different customer types and pinpoint what marketing efforts are paying off and understand where sales are coming from”. Along with this, Dawn and Rae can access profit margins for each group which enables them to make informed decisions. Dawn enthusiastically describes Unleashed as multi-functional.
As the stock is imported by container loads, the average landed cost function in Unleashed has been a big plus for Dawn and Rae who were previously calculating shipping costs by volume in a manual process. “Unleashed is amazing, you can actually really see what you margins are, where you need adjustment and it’s immediate!”
“Unleashed is a great platform for operating a business from. You can access that information from anywhere, whether you’re in an airport, show grounds, or in the warehouse. It’s great having that 24/7 accessibility.”
Extending the Business Platform – Integration with Point of Sale Software
Extending on the capability of Unleashed as a business platform, Out Deco has now also integrated with Vend for the Point of Sale side especially when doing shows. They create different types of customers in Unleashed and have specific codes for trade customers, website customers and manual customers and show customers. The integration with Vend has made sales at shows seamless as Vend works with GST inclusive and it is very easy to manage variations in prices for show specials, seconds, discount for two and these price changes are automatically interfaced in unleashed on the inventory side. The seamless interfacing with the customer and product base ensures that data is logged against the right entries. Exactly how Unleashed works with Xero. The beauty of this it works three ways.
It’s instant, accurate information in terms of your stock levels, margin reporting, stock movement. And you don’t have to have an accountant’s degree to understand it.