Founded in 2009, Simple Lighting are a retailer and distributor of Kitchen Lighting, Outdoor Lighting and LED lighting, bulbs, tape and strips. They have 10,000 products on offer in total, with stock purchased from both International and UK suppliers. Based in Birkenhead, they have 15 employees and will receive 3500-4000 orders a month through telephone, email, field sales staff and their Magento website.
Simple Lighting began using OrderWise in 2014 and have since been using it to effectively manage their business operations. Chris Bawden, Director of Simple Lighting, took time out of his busy schedule to discuss how OrderWise has helped Simple Lighting to build for the future.
Prior to OrderWise, Simple Lighting were using Linnworks to manage their daily order processing and stock management. Linnworks had been the system Simple Lighting implemented initially when the business first started trading and they had subsequently been using it for a number of years. However as the company began to expand, Linnworks was starting to show signs of growing pains that were limiting Simple Lighting’s progress as a business.
“We were beginning to get inaccurate stock figures quite regularly and it was very restrictive in what we were trying to achieve – for example we couldn’t purchase in dollars and then purchase in pounds, there was only one currency and that’s all there was, which was quite difficult considering we buy the bulk of our stock from China”
As the company continued to grow, Linnworks started becoming more and more of an issue for Simple Lighting. Eventually, Chris and his colleagues realised that if they were to take the business to the next level, they would require a more flexible and scalable software system.
“Linnworks got us off the ground to where we needed to be as a business but we were probably using it a year longer than we should have been – the pick and pack process was slow, the system was unresponsive, the technical support wasn’t to the level we required and they weren’t innovating and creating modules of any interest to us, so it got to the point where we needed new software”
With the decision made to seek a new software solution, Chris went into the market and began looking around at potential vendors for their new system.
Having held discussions and received demonstrations from a number of different software providers, Chris was simply blown away by OrderWise. He explained how he knew immediately that OrderWise would not just be the right solution to fix the issues they were having with Linnworks but also the right solution for many years to come.
“We spoke to several other companies but OrderWise was the one that I felt would future proof the business, help us in achieving our goals and would be one of those things that we would buy now and not need to change again going forward”
One of the key requirements Simple Lighting had for a new system was that it needed to supply Simple Lighting with a more efficient pick and pack process. However Chris was impressed with the fact that the comprehensive functionality available within OrderWise was able to help effectively manage all of the key requirements of their business.
“OrderWise meant we could pick and pack multiple orders at once, have paperless picking and packing with the handheld devices (OrderWise Mobile WMS Devices), perform stock counts, get more streamlined returns and manufacturing processes, better forecasting from a management point of view and key reporting from stock through to sales – it just gave us a load of new tools that allowed us to do things we were unable to do before”
With the decision made to go with OrderWise, Simple Lighting purchased their solution in March 2014 and implementation begun. When asked how the process went, Chris was quick to praise the assistance he received throughout the build up to and beyond going live with OrderWise.
“The support that Alex (OrderWise Project Manager) gave us was outstanding – he was extremely helpful, really supportive and was always on the other end of the phone when we needed him, he was really excellent”
The OrderWise Solution
One of the key requirements Simple Lighting had for implementing a new system was to dramatically speed up their picking and packing process. Chris explained that not only has OrderWise helped Simple Lighting to achieve this but also revolutionised how their warehouse functions.
“Before staff had to print off all orders at the start of the day, which is maybe 400 sheets of paper, and pick every order individually, one by one – now OrderWise is implemented we’re using handhelds (Mobile WMS Devices) and trollies for tote picking, so the entire way we operate as a business has changed, things are quicker and it’s just so much better.”
By improving picking speeds, Simple Lighting have been able to improve other aspects of their stock management too. When using Linnworks, Chris and his team were plagued with stock inaccuracies as they had no time to check stock, however this is now a thing of the past thanks to OrderWise.
“Before I would be walking round constantly trying to find stock, I mean we’ve got 10,000 square foot of space so staff, especially new staff, would really struggle to find products – now because we’re picking a lot faster there is time to do accurate stock counts and we’ve managed to get staff doing the things they should be doing, so it’s helped us in most aspects truthfully”
However it’s not just within the warehouse where Simple Lighting have seen improvements to their daily operations. Chris explained how using OrderWise CRM has helped give the power back to sales staff to follow up opportunities and maximise sales.
“We never really had a CRM system previously where we could log quotations or new contacts, whereas now the sales guys can chase up quotes rather than waiting for the phone to ring, so OrderWise has allowed us to effectively quote more professionally and make it quicker to have analysis of profit margins”
In addition to achieving a better log of quotations, OrderWise has further helped Simple Lighting with their sales order processing by providing automated management of their online orders.
“The Magento integration is seamless – it just pulls in the orders every 10 minutes, if there’s an issue it emails a log through to the ops manager who fixes it so there’s never problems with it, it’s just simple and easy”
Since their initial implementation of OrderWise, Simple Lighting have added a number of new modules to their solution to further benefit the business, including Stock Replenishments and the Returns module. The latter Chris explains has vastly improved the accuracy and efficiency in which returns, from online customers in particular, are handled.
“Before returns were always just emailed over to the customer, we’d wait for them to send stuff back and then spend 15 minutes trying to understand and remember why the return had come back to us! Now we’ve got the Returns module, it’s all streamlined through OrderWise, we’ve got contact manager linked in, there’s notes against the return and it automatically raises the new order for us – so it’s been a good module to introduce because it’s saving a lot of time and making the entire returns process a lot more traceable and trackable from the second one is raised”
As well as the extensive modular functionality available to them, Simple Lighting have also been able to gain massive speed benefits from the OrderWise user interface itself and the ability to get information quickly out of the system.
“To be fair you forget about the simple things like filtering, we all use those constantly because it makes it so easy to drill down to exactly what you’re looking for in the system. It’s great that you can export to an excel grid and get a load of data out and onto a big spreadsheet as well – it’s difficult to really nail on to one thing, overall it’s just really user friendly and once you understand what’s on screen it’s really simple to use”
So simple in fact that Chris admits him and his team rarely have to turn to the OrderWise support team for assistance with any issues they encounter. When they do however, Chris says the support they receive is always first class.
“The support’s been great, to start with especially support would get back to us really quickly, now it’s been implemented it takes a little bit longer but truthfully there’s never anything urgent that needs an immediate answer – so yeah the support’s been excellent, can’t really complain about it!”
So with Simple Lighting able to benefit from more streamlined processes throughout the business, much faster, more traceable order processing and more accurate and efficient warehouse operations, the big question is what’s next for OrderWise and Simple Lighting?
“Obviously we are looking to grow turnover and we have an aim in place to treble it within three years – OrderWise is going to help us achieve this because ultimately it’s future proof, we could do £200-£300 million turnover on OrderWise and it will cope with the same way it copes now, just continue to operate efficiently.”
For more information on Simple Lighting, you can visit their website www.simplelighting.co.uk