As we all know, in any business, the major pressures are time, resources, cash flow, and
people. These crucial elements can either make or break a business. So, what is the way
forward in managing these pinch points, with saturated markets and at times, an uncertain
economic future for the nation? The answer is agile bespoke software.
We are now in an age, where you can download a 2-hour movie in 20 minutes, dial-up is a
long forgotten memory and toddlers can use iPhones, so why do some businesses struggle
to streamline their day to day processes? We expect fast internet, intuitive phones and apps
to make our lives easier and entertaining, hey, we landed a rover on Mars and it outlasted its
life expectancy by 60 times. So why do we stand for illogical back-end systems, software
that demands a masters in development and out of date stand-alone systems which rely on
manual data entry, line, after line, after line…?
Well, we don’t have to stand for it, and a lot of businesses, who in the past, thought bespoke
software with intelligent design and beautiful, functional websites were out of their budget or
beyond their expertise, have now seen the light.
Bespoke software, tailored to your business and your customers, drives sales, overcomes
common business issues and improves business processes, not to mention the morale
boost and motivation it provides to employees, as it boosts productivity and helps them
acquire new skill sets.
Let’s take a trade to trade clothing manufacturer for instance, with orders from over 50
retailers coming in weekly, and units of around 350 per day. The retailers use a catalogue
and either email their own spreadsheet to the office manager, some use FTP to upload,
managed by the IT manager and the others call the office admins and they enter in the order
to the factory system and produce an invoice, which is posted to the retailer.
Some issues with this set-up:
1) Multiple people managing orders – what if the office or IT manager is off sick? Yes,
you can give other people access to emails or train someone else to manage the
FTP, but it doesn’t seem that efficient does it?
2) If the spreadsheet from the retailer isn’t compatible with the factory system upload
protocol, it will require more time and people to rectify or even manual entry. I think
we have all experienced asking customers to adopt specific protocols, with only a
small percent actually listening or sticking to it!
3) Phone orders are labor intensive and can amount in a lot of errors, which the
retailers, upon delivery, may deny all responsibility, and you have no record of the
original order, just your employees say so.
So how could bespoke software drive this business forward?
First, a trade website which has all products listed with prices, colours, sizes, multiple
payment options and individual retailer logins which can be managed by an easy to use
product database and CMS, integrated with the website, in order to push products live or
Bespoke software, would also allow for the factory to input current stock levels and allow for
orders to be streamed live, with additional functionality to pick and pack, using handheld
scanners and automatic labels.
And as for the bigger retailers wanting to continue with an FTP? This can be built into their
personal account on the website, with orders bypassing, straight to the factory stream. For
tech-savvy retailers, a live API may be an option!
The above change, is commonplace in the market, it saves confusion, time, heated emails
and blame for incorrect orders, it free’s staff to work on business strategy, new products and
building relationships with customers and not to mention, businesses see an increase in
sales and profit from adopting technology even into the most traditional business settings.
It can be scary to put your hard earned cash into the hands of a developer, not knowing the
new tech language and going away from a long-standing way of working. But you only have
to look at the likes of the big supermarkets in the UK to see how technology and agile
software can grow and modernise a business. From bricks to clicks, they developed their
portfolio to include online ordering, click and collect, delivery, dedicated apps and multiple
online products such as insurance for customers. However, behind the scenes is a seamless
ordering system linking online ordering, supermarket checkouts, current stock levels and
just-in-time ordering to hundreds if not thousands of suppliers globally.