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Case Study: ProtectaPet
Freeing Up ProtectaPet for Fearless Growth
A never-ending flow of orders sounds like a dream but if you do not have access to live inventory information it could be a nightmare.
ProtectaPet is a young, fast-growing business with a focus on ecommerce. They supply specialist patented fencing solutions to allow pets to enjoy being outdoors while remaining safe from the dangers of traffic and, increasingly, pet theft.
Their enclosures, including the famous catio, also significantly reduce threat to wildlife from cats roaming free.
Before Protectapet partnered with Outserve to implement Unleashed they relied on Excel spreadsheets and they struggled to keep on top of the real-time stock levels. Which meant it was time consuming, difficult and the manual input of data risked introducing errors.
Generating inventory purchase history reports with detailed costing was labour intensive and frustrating. The lack of visibility of purchase history made it massively harder to control costs.
They offer supply-only or supply-and-fit options, so there was competition for stock between the fitters and the despatch team. ProtectaPet Founder Eve Davies said, ‘We needed to segregate stock for these two channels of demand to allow ProtectaPet to control inventory better’. This ensures that ProtectaPet can continue to offer the best customer service.
The company sends out UK orders from their HQ in Stoke-on-Trent, while the EU is served from their fulfilment centre in Rotterdam. So, we had to factor in two warehouses, both controlled from a central point.
Eve Davies said:
“We have built this company from the ground up on the basis of our reputation for quality and great customer service. In order to maintain that level of service we knew we could not continue down the route of using spreadsheets.”
The first thing we did at Outserve was take a long hard look at what they had. Using Excel spreadsheets for stock control in the early days had worked well. However, it would struggle to keep up with their rapid growth.
Here’s why: several members of staff would have a version of the spreadsheets open at once, each inputting orders and deducting stock, and it was unable to update and refresh that data in real time.
This could leave them with the “cupboard is bare” phenomenon when pickers go to the shelves and find there is nothing to pick.
We found that back-office staff were spending a ridiculous amount of time in data entry, often duplicating work in the warehouse that had already been done in the office.
They were working hard to keep up with the growth in customers. But good ecommerce automation means scaling business results without scaling staff - 10x growth will not require 10x staff.
As our MD, Phil Oakley said,
“In an ecommerce business, when the customer has initially inputted the data no one else should touch it and ecommerce automation should do the heavy lifting.”
What was needed was integration of sales, inventory and accounting. Once these systems could talk to each other, we could deal with the business’s future challenges. We knew the perfect product to get us started: real-time inventory control software, Unleashed.
Unleashed never sleeps. It updates inventory continuously, and is cloud-based, so it can be accessed from anywhere, at any time. It is designed to integrate well with other commercial cloud-based softwares too, which makes it a very effective tool.
And the results?
Eve Davies sums it up:
“Outserve helped us to integrate our ecommerce and accounting platforms into a cohesive system. This means we can focus more time and energy on what we do best- designing and delivering great products to our customers.”
“As we are a growing company, Unleashed has given us a platform to make the most of ecommerce and is supporting our business growth overseas. Outserve were a great fit to help us achieve this as a Xero, Unleashed and Shopify Partner.”
“Outserve did a great job of understanding that we wanted a seamless integration with our European warehouse and they worked closely with us to develop a solution that worked for us. The work they carried out has streamlined our order process and saves us hours every month that were previously spent organising and communicating with our logistics company.”