A modular approach is more flexible — and better value — than ERPs for businesses of all sizes. But moving away from a legacy system can be a daunting task.
So here’s some inspiration to leave a legacy system behind. Ryan Bamford, Derby branch manager for Traders Warehouse, blogging on the benefits he’s seen since leaving Netsuite for Xero and Unleashed.
Traders Warehouse is a UK-based distributor of electronic security equipment such as CCTV, burglar alarms and door-entry devices.
What we’re selling is safety, even if it’s via something as simple as a Wi-Fi-enabled doorbell. Security is a big concern for a lot of people, and it is what we like to provide.
We focus on offering a personal service, rather than being one of the big national companies that you see. We know our customers, and we speak to them regularly. We really put the emphasis on people.
The company has grown rapidly — but sustainably. We started in 2002 as a tiny little company with basically zero turnover and a single branch in Derby. Now, we operate in five locations around the country and employ over 50 staff. It’s gratifying because it means we can offer a lot more for our customers.
Before Unleashed, we were using Netsuite. The single biggest reason we left was the cost. Netsuite was very expensive, and it didn’t offer us value for money — we were paying for features that we weren’t using regularly enough. Plus, it was a difficult system to use for new starters and existing staff alike.
So we decided to move to a modular app-stack approach based around Unleashed and Xero. Unleashed is much more cost-effective. It gives us exactly what we need, with no superfluous additions — and at a significantly reduced cost. Overall, it’s a much cleaner solution.
The decision to move software is never an easy one for a business. You have to look at all the aspects of a new system, including ease of use, cost and ease of implementation. We found that Unleashed offered all three in a perfect mix.
And as a company with a branch network, the multi-warehouse functionality is crucial. It means we can use Unleashed in each of our branches, bringing the whole company closer together. And we create virtual warehouses for consignment stock, giving us complete visibility.
Saving time across the business
Moving to cloud apps has given us much more flexibility and helped us save time.
We can give staff access to the functionality they need, instead of everyone having a login for a single, giant system like Netsuite. With Unleashed, you can set up permissions for different parts of this system — saving our staff wasted time searching for the functionality they need.
Teams across the business have benefitted from the software. The management team has much more visibility across the business. With Unleashed, for example, we can track margins directly in sales orders. And we save time when training new staff. We show them the system, and they can pick it up immediately. It’s a clean layout, and everything you need to use is in a single place.
Our warehouse team, meanwhile, find the system so much easier to use than Netsuite. And the sales team can find products far quicker. When they’re dealing with a customer over the phone or face to face, being able to see what’s available immediately is a lifesaver.
Unlike Netsuite, with Unleashed we can add modules so we only pay for the functionality we need. Some of the new additions have brought significant benefit to our business: particularly the B2B Store and Advanced Shipping.
The B2B Store has been a fantastic addition to our offering to customers.
We’re able to offer large and small companies the ability to log in and see prices, create their own quotes and place orders. We can promote ourselves as a true 21st-century company. Plus, it helps our salespeople save hours each week, by freeing them up from admin and enabling customers to self serve.
Despite being an eCommerce platform, the B2B Store has actually helped us deliver a more personal service.
Before Advanced Shipping, we’d have to enter order details twice to create a shipment: first in Unleashed and then on the DPD website for the shipping label. Unsurprisingly, this led to a little bit of human error.
Now, the process is automated — we create the shipment once, dispatch it, and the information goes directly through to the DPD servers so we can print the label.
All in all, the Advanced Shipping module probably saves us about one minute on each shipment. That might not sound like much, but when you consider that we ship around 50 orders a day, it adds up to a substantial saving in time and money. And that’s not even taking the reduction in mistakes into account.
More visibility with BI
We’ve got big plans for Traders Warehouse, and Unleashed will be a big part of them. We’re going to use the system to create a more uniform experience for customers, whichever branch they visit. And we’re going to use the upcoming Business Intelligence module to get a better picture of what people are buying, what they’re not buying and how we can better serve them.
What is the Business Intelligence module?The Business Intelligence (BI) module is a tool that generates live actionable insights from your inventory data. Instead of relying on stale reports to track performance, it enables you to monitor multiple live KPIs: across Inventory, Sales and Customers.
Our eye is always on opening more branches throughout the UK — we want to be a truly nationwide company. With Unleashed, we know we have the scope within the system to open a new branch when the opportunity is there.
Article by Patrick Foot in collaboration with our team of inventory specialists. When he’s not writing about inventory management, he’s busy jet-setting across the globe.