Safety Buyer 1Based in Hyde in Greater Manchester, Safety Buyer UK are an online supplier of health and safety products. Founded in 2011, Safety Buyer are a team of five people supplying a huge range of workwear and facilities management products such as fire extinguishers, first aid kits, floor safety products, safety signs and much more. In total they currently have 11,000 SKUs 85% of which are drop shipped from their UK and European suppliers, with over 400 sales orders a month received through their Magento website and over the phone.

Safety Buyer have now been using OrderWise since the company went live with their website in Summer 2013. We caught up with Ian Rowe, Co-Director of Safety Buyer, who took time out of his busy schedule to tell us how OrderWise has helped the business get off the ground and created a platform for the company to build on for the future.

The Requirement

Although many companies will start out with pen and paper, Excel based systems or programs like Sage 50, Safety Buyer knew if the company was going to succeed in a highly competitive market the business would need a comprehensive business management system right from the start. Ian and his brother Kevin, the two directors of the company, both had extensive experience working in other businesses so they were well aware that they needed a system that was going to provide a solid foundation from which their new business venture could grow.

“We knew we needed something from day one – although we had no proof the business was going to work we realised there’s no point floundering in Excel spreadsheets and watching the business fall flat, so we knew we required a more substantial system from the word go”

Safety Buyer 3Having worked in a number of businesses previously, Ian was aware of a number of systems that he had used previously and knew would be a good fit for Safety Buyer. Ian recalled how he was first introduced to OrderWise working for a company called Countrywide Healthcare (whose case study you can read HERE) and was impressed with how OrderWise was able to dramatically improve their daily operations.

“I’ve used so many different systems in my life, but I had just used OrderWise at Countrywide Healthcare who were a decent size operation with 60 people and a few thousand different products. They were using an outdated Sage system at the time and I was part of the team that helped them migrate to OrderWise. I saw that having that good stock control system and good front end sales order processing system just really revolutionised what they did and I knew what they had paid for it so I knew OrderWise was good value because I had seen it work”

Although Ian was aware of what OrderWise could offer, Safety Buyer did their due diligence by looking at other systems and exploring other possible suppliers. After having demonstrations of a number of solutions, Ian said his knowledge of OrderWise, the way the system was packaged and the fact that he had seen the software work so successfully in another company ultimately led to the final decision.

“We looked at other systems with a similar set of functionality as OrderWise but a lot of them you would rent and never own. We thought although it might be cheaper on day one, as you go through the gears and start taking on more staff, you start paying bolt on fees and it ends up costing you tens of thousands of pounds every year, whereas with OrderWise its yours – ultimately we chose OrderWise because it was a reasonable price, I had already been to the site for training and I had full confidence in it”

Safety Buyer 5With the decision made, Ian and Kevin began the implementation process to have OrderWise ready for when the business was due to go live.

Implementing OrderWise

As a start-up business, Safety Buyer wanted to ensure they had the right OrderWise solution they needed from the first day of trading, but also have the options there to add further functionality as the business grows. Ian explained how he was impressed that OrderWise was able to cater for their needs and provide a system perfectly tailored to what Safety Buyer required.

“We have 11,000 products with changing prices, a constantly developing portfolio and needed OrderWise to integrate with the likes of Sage and then Magento in the future – the solution we got from OrderWise was slick, had all the different import/export functionality we needed and was written in good code that would future proof the business. We modelled the software on what we thought we would need going forward and because of that it’s still a good fit today.”

Another added benefit Safety Buyer had being a new business was that their data had just been built from scratch. This allowed Ian and his brother Kevin to have a seamless, straight forward implementation that caused Safety Buyer, and indeed the OrderWise Projects Team, no headaches.

“The data was squeaky clean because it was brand new and all formatted so it was pretty straight forward to get it into OrderWise, there was also no customers to copy over so it couldn’t have been easier really – it was possibly one of the easiest ones OrderWise have ever done!”

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Having fulfilled their business requirements and undergone a smooth implementation process, the big question is how has OrderWise helped Safety Buyer with their day-to-day trading?

The OrderWise Solution

When choosing a software system to run his new business venture with his brother, Ian put his faith in OrderWise delivering the right solution for Safety Buyer having used it in other companies previously. He explained that his faith was well placed and he has not been disappointed with the results up until this point.

“It creates disciplines in how we work and just drives good processing – it’s the speed at which we can get quotes and invoices out to customers, but also the fact that even though we are a new business, we’ve got a good website and I think the documentation and different touch points that go out to our customers from OrderWise just keeps that quality going”

Online trading is obviously a key part of Safety Buyer’s daily operations, with goods ordered directly from their suppliers once an order has been received. The streamlined method in which this is handled through OrderWise ensures that Safety Buyer can fulfil orders both quickly and correctly, providing excellent customer service as a result.

“The vast majority of what we do is drop ship, so it’s all virtual really, but the way OrderWise controls stock and reorder levels works really well. We can have an order from the web filled with good accurate data with no errors and it is acknowledged to a customer within a minute. Even on the supplier side everything matches up to the order, we simply find the right product, pay the right price and collect the money from our customers – because everything’s so organised and structured, it just drives quality in everything we do”

Safety Buyer 4Ian also explained how his team are looking to further automate their online ordering process in the future through full integration between OrderWise and their Magento website. Although this is currently being managed through OrderWise’s standard import functionality, Ian understands that as the volume of orders they are receiving continues to increase, it is only a matter of time before a link between OrderWise and their website is needed.

“As we are getting more and more orders on a daily basis, we are employing someone to manage these orders currently but in the not too distant future we can go down the route of Magento integration. At the moment though it’s so easy to use and to train people on, good at getting data out to analyse things and good at getting data back in to maintain things, for example if there is a price that needs changing, it’s not an immediate concern – it’s not an onerous system, it’s logical and if you’re good with spreadsheets it works for you, so it’s been really good for us”

However it is not just the software that has exceeded Safety Buyer’s expectations. Ian was quick to compliment the OrderWise Support Team, stating that although they don’t need their help very often it’s always good to have them on hand if they ever require any assistance.

“They’ve been really good, I think in the early days we were on to them on a fairly regular basis for help with things but certainly now we’ve got a hang of the system I think we’ve probably only put a handful of calls in over the last year. When we do it’s usually little things we’ve not come across before or if we want to do something a bit differently, the support team will call us back or log on and we get a solution or an answer pretty quickly, so yeah couldn’t be happier with that”

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What’s Next?

So with Safety Buyer able to get their business up and running successfully, reap the benefits of the comprehensive suite of functionality available to them and lay the foundations from which the company can continuously grow, what’s next for Safety Buyer and OrderWise going forward?

“I think our goal is more product development, we’ve got a road map to another 20,000 products which we know OrderWise has more than the capacity to support. We’re very much an online animal at the minute but we’re currently producing a catalogue so it’ll be learning how to segment and target our existing customers, study buying relationships and using that to reach out to potential new customers. Again OrderWise will help us there no end with getting data out, slicing and dicing it and providing us with more intelligence. So OrderWise will just allows us to target customers a bit more when we start mailing our catalogues out in the future.”

For more information on Safety Buyer UK, you can visit their website: www.safetybuyer.com