PJA Distribution are a leading online retailer of gadget accessories such as mobile phone and tablet cases, power cables, stylus pens, chargers, HDMI cables, laptop bags and more.
PJA Distribution began using OrderWise in 2013 and have since been recognised as “High Growth Business of the Year” at the 2015 Chamber Awards, and were ranked among the top 50 fastest growing tech companies in 2016. They also manage a separate company, Savisto Bathrooms, which sells a broad range of quality bathroom equipment such as basins, baths, mirrors, cabinets, radiators, taps and more.
Across the two companies, they have over 35,000 different items and kits which are sourced from their operations in China. Orders are received through their vast array of online sales channels that include amongst others eBay, Amazon and their websites. In total, PJA Distribution receive on average around 80,000-100,000 orders a month which are processed and despatched by their 78 staff working from their premises in Stockton-on-Tees.
PJA Distribution have now been using OrderWise to manage their operations since March 2013. We spoke to Operations Manager Mark Turner at PJA Distribution who took time out of his very busy schedule to discuss how the company came to use OrderWise and how they have found the software has assisted with the everyday running of their vast business operations.
In the first few years PJA Distribution were trading, the company struggled to find a suitable system that was able to meet their ever-changing requirements. Although the company was only founded in 2010, PJA has been rapidly growing ever since, which meant that each software solution they initially tried, they also quickly outgrew.
“Basically the company had just grown at a crazy pace and it became rapidly apparent that a solution to handle the number of orders we were needing to put through it was needed. For us, the new system had to deliver the ability to align to our growth, provide modular development, fully integrated stock management and great customer support.”
Mark explained that they wanted to find a system that was going to be able to handle both their large order volumes and also provide them with plenty of room for expansion.
“We needed a system that was going to provide good support, good customer service and the ability to make adaptations to the standard package – we knew OrderWise offered custom development so we arranged to have a demonstration”
Having had demonstrations from OrderWise and a number of other software providers, PJA eventually made the decision to go with OrderWise and the implementation process began.
Although Mark couldn’t pinpoint the exact reason for him and his colleagues choosing OrderWise, he cited that PJA on the whole were just really impressed with what OrderWise could offer the business going forward.
“Ultimately it was between OrderWise and another company and it was simply that the presentation provided by OrderWise just came across really well – we all came down for a meeting with David (OrderWise Managing Director), as well as a couple of the development guys and one of the business managers and we just really liked the premises, the size of the company and the way OrderWise sold themselves to us.”
Mark admitted that there were some complications throughout the implementation of OrderWise and it didn’t always run smoothly. However thanks to the constant care and assistance from the Project and Support teams throughout the process, PJA were able to overcome the obstacles they faced and undergo a successful implementation.
Since going through implementation, PJA have now been using OrderWise for just over two years. So the big question is, has OrderWise proven to be the solution to the problems they were facing?
“We basically exported what data we currently had and left it to the guys at OrderWise because we weren’t sure how we needed to get the data into OrderWise so we just followed their lead – the implementation was challenging but the support has been very good so we got over those hurdles.”
The OrderWise Solution
Having switched to OrderWise, PJA have really benefitted from the comprehensive suite of functionality available to them. Although they have been using the software for a number of years now, Mark explained that they are still discovering new areas of OrderWise to further help the business as it continues to rapidly grow.
“It’s 100% better than our previous system, with regards to what we want to achieve with OrderWise it has given us exactly what we are after – we’ve got a lot more control over what we can do within OrderWise and we’re still learning now what we can use because there are so many different possibilities in the way you can do things, so it’s an onward experience.”
With 99.9% of PJA’s orders coming through online sales channels, which can average around 3000-4000 orders a day, ensuring these are quickly and effectively processed is absolutely vital to the day-to-day running of the business. By using OrderWise’s eCommerce module for automated management of these channels, PJA have been able to manage these large volumes comfortably.
“Obviously the eCommerce sessions are crucial, we’ve got 28 sales channels so being able to keep an eye on them altogether and all at the same time is very useful – something that we also never had the ability to do before was control our Amazon FBA shipments and tracking there, so that’s been wonderful.”
However it is not just in the processing of their online sales channels and handling increased volumes where PJA have seen significant improvements. Mark explained that OrderWise has given him and his colleagues better control over stock and a greater insight into what’s going on within the business at any one time.
“It’s definitely given us much better accuracy and accountability, especially in terms of being able to easily see what we’re achieving each day, week and month with regards to throughput going through the business – what’s coming in and what’s going out.”
Driving this increased accuracy is PJA’s use of OrderWise Mobile WMS Devices. By having a paperless method of managing daily warehouse activities, PJA have seen huge reductions in the number of errors that occur when picking orders and moving stock throughout the business.
“The biggest change has been the mobile devices, before everything used to get picked off paper so the paper notes would do the rounds and that would create problems, they’d get lost, misplaced, etc. Now everything gets scanned into and out of the business which it never used to before, so a lot more use of barcodes and electronic control is driving improved management information.”
So with PJA Distribution able to effectively manage the daily operations of their two businesses, increase accuracy within their warehouse, gain automated management of their online sales channels and provide themselves with room to grow, what’s next for them and OrderWise going forward?
“Well the company started in 2010 and within those first five years we’ve grown from literally one person in a back bedroom up to 78 employees and we’re turning over around £7 million at the moment. The five year plan for the business is to increase our turnover to around £60 million, so we are looking for 10 times growth in the next five years. So we’re working with our Project Manager quite closely to make sure that OrderWise can cope with our expected growth levels and what we can do together to ensure we get there as I’m sure you guys at OrderWise can do whatever we need.”