Great things happen when you link Unleashed to Xero. But what could you achieve if you hooked up your CRM too? The answer is a new level of performance that saves you time, money and boosts the way you manage sales and customer care.
Tom Riley, Managing Director and co-founder of WhiteWash Laboratories, explains how it’s done.
We started WhiteWash Laboratories in 2010 to create professional teeth whitening products for dentists. My business partner is a dentist himself, which is where the idea came from, and we’ve worked with many other leading dentists to create a full range of premium whitening and oral care products that we sell both B2B and B2C. We’re also now doing a lot of private label manufacturing for other brands. It’s gone amazingly well. We got into a sector that is experiencing a lot of growth — it seems that everyone wants whiter teeth!
Getting into manufacturing
The best decision we made was to start manufacturing the products ourselves in the UK. We’re the only people doing in this in the country, and we’ve become inundated with orders.
The challenge now is not selling ourselves or our products. It’s keeping tracking of inquiries, meeting demand, ensuring we can deliver what we promise, and offering great customer service.
Initial problems with inventory
When we first started out we were using a cloud-based system for our inventory. But that system didn’t link to our accounting software. It meant we couldn’t get a clear view of how stock movements were affecting the balance sheet. We’d also have to add in invoice details and then take out the stock manually. The process of managing inventory was taking far too many hours out of the day, and at the time we really wanted to focus on product development and customer care.
The breakthrough with Xero + Unleashed
We took the decision to move our accounts Xero. We didn’t want any of our systems to be standalone anymore, so we chose an accounts system that would be easy to integrate with other cloud systems.
At the same time we decided to switch our existing inventory management provider to Unleashed. It was an obvious choice, because Unleashed links up with Xero perfectly.
We can now manage our stock, process sales and get visibility of financial performance much more efficiently. Crucially, Unleashed can also handle the manufacturing side of our business, with modules that enable us to automate the planning process, plan ahead for production, and avoid delays in fulfilling sales orders.
Reaping the benefits
Not all inventory management systems will help you manage the manufacturing processes within your business for you. Unleashed does it brilliantly. We’ve seen instant benefits. We’re able to capture margin on complex manufacturing orders much more accurately, which is critical to the profitably of our business.
With Xero and Unleashed working together we’re also avoiding the double inputting that we had to do before. This has given us massive time and cost-saving that we can put back into growing sales and customer relationships.
Adding Prospect CRM to the mix – three systems talking in harmony
More recently we’ve also added Prospect, a CRM system that has given us the ability to classify different customers and have distinct sales funnels for each of those categories. It’s really helped us to move enquiries through the sales funnel to the point where customers place an order.
The real beauty of Prospect for us though is that it integrates easily with Unleashed, so we can automatically populate the CRM with records of existing customers and their purchases, as well as key information on products, inventory/stock levels, and pricing and terms.
We now have a clear picture of status whenever we speak to prospects. We can also have more meaningful conversations with existing customers that encourage repeat business.
Of course, all the information we hold in Prospect and Unleashed also flows into Xero, so we are easily able to manage financial processes and have a much better view of cash flow and performance in real-time.
Putting it all together – we now have a really slick way of controlling all our inventory, sales and accounting processes from end-to-end.
In the last year alone we’ve increased sales by 25%. Our headcount has more than doubled.
Looking forward to more growth
The trick is to be able to manage that growth. Now with Prospect and Unleashed and Xero working together in harmony, we’ve got the perfect platform to help us move forward.
In fact, despite the increasing complexity of our operation, I would say we’re now becoming more efficient and streamlined than we’ve ever been before.
Article by Melanie Chan in collaboration with our team of Unleashed Software inventory and business specialists. Melanie has been writing about inventory management for the past three years. When not writing about inventory management, you can find her eating her way through Auckland.