By managing their deliveries with Stream, Scandinavian House has been able to process (and deliver) three time the number of orders without having to increase staffing levels
Scandinavian House, which trades as Kid’s Avenue, has been supplying high-quality children’s bedroom and furniture products through mid and high-end retailers for more than 10 years. They have developed close relationships with independent stores, multiples, e-retailers and mail-order customers alike.
All their high-quality products are manufactured in Europe using cutting edge technology, imported and then delivered to consumers throughout the UK.
Challenges for a furniture wholesaler, retailer and distributor
In 2012, Scandinavian House faced a number of business challenges as a result of increased sales volumes and an ever-growing list of business partners, including the strain on back-office systems. Sage Line 50 was being used by Accounts for order entry and financial administration; while Word, Excel and Google Docs were being used to process customer orders and driver run sheets; along with Multimap for route planning.
As business increased, the limitations of these systems became evident – as did the amount of paperwork. A lack of integration between applications meant that order details stored in one application became out of date and inconsistent with details stored in another. Also, there was no capability to capture and show status information in real-time.
“We were living in chaos most of the time wondering where shipped items were. The phones were always ringing, and a small query would sometimes take hours to resolve. We were just about coping.” – Anne Ridgway, Director
This resulted in communications with customers and business partners suffering delays as there was no single point of access to data for all parties. A simple enquiry from a retail customer, for example might result in a chain of phone calls before the customer got an answer.
All this was compounded by a planned move to larger premises, which meant relocating their IT and communications systems.
Using Stream’s powerful, flexible order and transport management system to solve the problem
Scandinavian House approached Stream to deliver a powerful, yet flexible order and transport management system that would transform their business.
“Stream gives us the ability to be 100% on top of our orders with the real-time data available quickly and efficiently. It has vastly improved our customer services and being honest I wouldn’t like to imagine Scandinavian House without Stream.” – Anne Ridgway, Director
Orders are now imported automatically from the Sage accounts system, avoiding duplicated data entry while Stream’s order enquiry capabilities enable customer service staff to answer the majority of telephone queries immediately. Retail customers can also access the same online enquiries and order information via the Stream customer gateway.
We were working to full capacity… Now we can manage three times the volume of orders.” – Anne Ridgway, Director
Deliveries are planned using the integrated mapping function allowing planners to optimise driving routes automatically with manual adjustments as desired. Once confirmed, the run is made available on the drivers’ mobile app which has an online/offline capability, allowing them to operate even in areas with poor mobile signals.
Delivery events and exceptions recorded by the driver are immediately visible in the planning and order enquiry functions if they have a mobile signal, or otherwise as soon as one becomes available.
Implementation of Stream was quick, painless and cost-effective.
As Stream is a cloud-based solution, no additional hardware was needed or investment in specialised mobile devices for the driver app as it runs on any consumer smartphone.
Retailers now have direct access to Stream Go to view the status of their own customer orders and can request certain changes to order details online. This has resulted in an impressive 60% reduction in call volumes and costs and freeing up staff to perform other tasks.
“Stream means that we’ve been able to expand our business without further head count.” – Dan Ridgway, Managing Director
You can’t run customer service from an Excel spreadsheet
Like many businesses we encounter, before they introduced Stream, Scandinavian House were running their wholesale furniture business virtually entirely in Excel spreadsheet.
As the key customer service contact within the business, Anne was very much ‘on the frontline’.
Everyday was a challenge and logistical nightmare to manage those orders via a spreadsheet.
It was a challenge to know where those orders and deliveries were, where each of them was being delivered, where items were physically in the country at any given point.
“Working on the ‘front line’ in customer services answering the telephone, nothing beats being able to tell the customer immediately the status of their order. Any issues can be addressed, reassurances can be given and customer details updated. Very rarely now do customer service issues escalate like they used to.” – Anne Ridgway, Director
Adding a retail management system to the tech stack – and integrating with Stream
Integration with other back-office systems and the use of mobile data capture means the number of printed documents has also been significantly reduced, while customer service staff have greater confidence when answering queries.
To help Kid’s Avenue manage inventory and sales across multiple digital channels it was decided to implement Brightpearl, a leading omnichannel retail management platform.
Integrated with Stream, Brightpearl enables Kid’s Avenue to manage customer details, orders, multi-channel sales, finance, logistics and inventory all in one place.
And the overall impact? We’ll let Dan have the last word:
“Stream is now a key selling point for our kids beds and furniture offer. It enables us to set a new standard of customer service that is unrivalled by our competitors.” – Dan Ridgway, Director