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Automated ordering system sees Coniston Corporate grow by 16%
A web-based ordering and administration system developed by Meantime IT for Coniston Corporate Embroidery has enabled the company to grow by 16% in the two years the system has been in place.The automated system, which was developed with an initial outlay of just £9,000, has also dramatically reduced production errors, with the error margin on the production of millions of pounds worth of garments each year falling from 5% to just 1% in the same period.
Coniston Corporate Embroidery, which provides work-wear and bespoke embroidery to clients ranging from large national organisations to small local businesses, approached Meantime IT to create a bespoke business system in a bid to cut costs, increase sales and free up staff to concentrate on fee-earning work.
“I had a very specific system in mind when I approached Meantime,” explains Paul. “As well as needing a total revamp of the look and functionality of our website, we wanted an administration system that would process every stage of the order from the initial enquiry through to design, ordering the required stock, and delivery and invoicing that could be accessed by every member of staff involved in production.”
Fenner Pearson is Meantime’s managing director. He explains: “When I first met Paul the company had a set of paper-based processes in place which were very slick, but as the business grew, the tasks associated with maintaining the paperwork were becoming a serious overhead and also a risk to the business. And quite apart from the concerns around pieces of paper going missing, there were other challenges that were difficult to meet with a paper-based system.”
Coniston Corporate doesn’t hold any stock on-site, so Meantime’s system had to ensure clients were able to choose from 25,000 different items, with supplier ordering occurring automatically as soon as the client order was inputted into the system.
Fenner continues: “A major part of the software we designed for Coniston Corporate was ensuring that supplier orders were generated to meet the requirements of customer orders, and then making sure that when the supplies were delivered, the right customer orders were identified and prioritised for production.
“We also built in an automatic margin reporting system, to make sure that while Coniston offered the best price to its customers, there were enough profits to sustain and grow the business. Automatic invoicing and statements then followed, drastically streamlining the whole process.”
And having so much information about every client has meant that Coniston’s sales and marketing has become a lot more efficient, resulting in more sales. “It makes me shudder when I think about all the lost opportunities for marketing before we implemented the new system,” says Paul. “Over the years we must have had hundreds if not thousands of enquires that weren’t logged and have been lost forever. Now, we log everything – even the most random enquiry – and then we can send our carefully targeted mailers so people remember us the next time they want something, and we’ve seen an excellent return.”
And this added value has proved priceless to Coniston Corporate, as Paul confirms: “Although I can’t give an exact figure of a return on investment over the last two years, I can categorically say that in the improved efficiency of the business, error reduction, professional appearance and accurate accounting and reporting, the system has more than paid for itself,” he declares.
“And Meantime has been an excellent company to work with at every stage – we have a very positive relationship. To be honest, I’m probably a bit of a nightmare client because I’m so specific in what I want, but Meantime has taken everything I asked for and turned it into a working system that I can quite honestly say has enabled our business to grow beyond all expectations.”
Because everything we build is bespoke, you might not see exactly what you need. If that’s the case please get in touch. We'd be happy to discuss how we can help you to take the first step to cutting costs and growing beyond all expectations.