Order Management for Disparate Sites for ARNO GB Ltd
With offices in the UK, Russia, Europe and the Far East and representation in the USA, ARNO specialises in consultancy, market research, design, production, logistics, installation and merchandising for the retail industry.
Evergreen were challenged to create a stand-alone online ordering system capable of fulfilling orders and managing stock requirements for point of sale material for one of ARNO's large corporate clients in the retail industry.
Evergreen created a cloud application that has the following benefits:
- Secure log-in for users and administrators
- Ordering duplications and omissions are now avoided
- Centralised control
- Greater visibility with customised reporting
- Improved documentation
Fulfilling orders and managing stock requirements
With nearly 80 years' of experience as a global player in translating brands into sophisticated three-dimensional customer experiences for a vast array of high profile clients, ARNO is the first choice of many leading corporate brands and commercial enterprises.
In September 2013, having acquired a new large corporate client in the retail industry, ARNO were looking for a local company that could build a new customised online ordering system for their client whose existing system was very limited in its functionality and flexibility.
The new online ordering system needed to be capable of fulfilling orders and managing stock requirements for packaging, retail stands and other point of sale materials for its client's latest product line.
'A trusted 3rd party with the experience to handle our needs.'
ARNO's online search for a local company with the expertise to deliver an online solution led them to Gloucestershire web development specialists, Evergreen whose recommendation to build a customised stand-alone web application with an integral Content Management System (CMS) impressed them from the start.
James Cutler, a 3D Digital Designer at ARNO began the search for a trusted 3rd party who would have experience to handle their needs as they had no available in-house resources to call upon. Says James, "It was important for us to have a company that was local to us so that they could come into the office to discuss our requirements. We did have some resources in this field but it would have meant taking time away from other things to address this particular project."
James Cutler was confident that he had found the right company for this project as Evergreen was able to showcase their expertise, demonstrating various bespoke database projects that they had completed for other businesses. "We had initial discussions and from the start Evergreen grasped what we wanted from the system. They offered solutions as to how the ordering system could be more efficient whilst at the same time keeping the costs down compared to the system that our client had been previously using."
ARNO's client needed an online ordering system capable of ordering not just whole furniture but also parts of shop display material for specific products. Evergreen created a web platform for users from different 'markets' to place orders online. Orders can then be emailed to the central client for authorisation and the addition of a purchase order before being forwarded to ARNO for completion.
Categories were created within the system on two levels so that products could be selected appropriately. As a product can also be a category within its own right or a component part, it was important that all components should be listed, in order for the user to draw up a wish list of components associated with a particular stand. The flexible online database system created by Evergreen allows multiple products to be selected within the same order within the category and has the ability to display different price ranges for multi-buys. The system also has a standard CMS (Content Management System) function so that ARNO can change text, images etc. within the ordering system.
A flexible system with more control and greater visibility.
The old system was very limited with regards to the information that was displayed and there were limitations with regards to the quantities that could be ordered. So how are things different now Evergreen have completed the project? James Cutler identifies 4 key features that have proved to be distinct advantages of the new system.
- Duplications and omissions are avoided. The shopping cart in the ordering system is now automatically remembered each time a different user from same 'market' logs in. This means that a comprehensive order list can be created by different users if needed prior to submission of an order. As each user who logs in from the same market can see what has already been ordered, duplicated order content is avoided and it is easy to see if any item needed has been omitted.
- More control for ARNO and its Client. ARNO's client has more control over the ordering process with the ability to accept or reject orders from the 'markets'. Being able to have a separation of 'markets' and 'market users' means that order needs can be filtered by ARNO and they can clearly see a breakdown of different costs e.g. .what a product costs in 2014 and 2015.
- Improved documentation. The download function has improved so that both documents relating to specific parts or generic guide documents can both now be uploaded by ARNO and downloaded by the client when required.
- Greater visibility with customised reporting. Using advanced search options, customised reports showing the status of the orders can be exported in CSV format. This gives greater visibility on what has been ordered and which orders are outstanding awaiting fulfilment.
James confirms that the 'exporting of data was a very important function' and that they can now export more relevant data from the new system than they could do from the old. Says James, "We are the ones who report back to the client with the exported data information from the 'markets'. As we have now been able to present more data to them than we could before this has really impressed them."
Asked in terms of increased efficiency, what percentage of time/money/resources the new online database system has saved, James Cutler replies that it is 'hard to really quantify' other than to say that it's 'massive'. He continues to qualify his statement by saying that "Without it there would be more manual data to input and more data manipulation needed with more time spent on excel spreadsheets. When someone places an order it can now be done quickly and efficiently. The risk of error has been now been removed as the risk of entering information incorrectly or duplicating information cannot now happen."
Advantages beyond the initial challenge.
The advantages of the new online database system created by Evergreen reaches beyond solving the initial challenge posed by ARNO's newly acquired corporate Client. Looking at how ARNO can take their new tool to market, creating a demo version of the web application is on their wish list so that they can grow their business further as James Cutler explains, '"The system is future-proof! We can now go after new business as we now have the tool which with Evergreen's help, we can customise for a completely new client, whilst at the same time keeping all different client information separate within the same system."
What further development of the system is ARNO looking for in the future? The system launch went smoothly, which James attributes to the system being 'so easy and intuitive to use.' He continues to add "Our client was so positive and excited seeing what the system could do that they have already come up with with suggestions of what more that they envisage it doing in the future!' Such developments may include dynamic costing/pricing (including using different currencies) and the setting up of new categories with set pricing."
When asked what it has it been like working with Evergreen, James Cutler is quick to respond. '"I would definitely recommend Evergreen to other businesses. We're really looking forward to an ongoing relationship with Evergreen. Our client puts pressure on us but we know that it is out of our hands and up to Evergreen but they have never let us down and have always delivered in the time frame needed.'" He goes on to praise them for being responsive, great to bounce ideas off and concise with the information they provide, avoiding lots of jargon and technical speak.
He concludes by summarising Evergreen as being "efficient and very experienced in what they do and what is delivered. They are supportive and feedback is always on hand. They make suggestions that are useful and constructive and tailored to our needs."