An ecommerce retailer, with over $10,000,000 in revenue annually, found their team of 10 constantly busy and constantly behind, losing potential opportunities for procurement of discounted merchandise, losing money on fulfillment errors, losing money on accounting mistakes, and feeling like they were just spinning their wheels and not reaching their potential due to too many manual processes. The business owners estimated these problems were costing their business about 15% of their profit and stifling their ability to scale.
Our first task was to document the departmental workflow and the interaction between departments and the interaction with systems and data sources. Once we were able to document their workflow, we were able to recommend an iterative approach to process automation. We started by building simple spreadsheets to manage their processes and hosted them in the cloud so they could be manipulated by their team and timestamp various activities. This allowed their employees to take ownership of tasks, and document their efforts at procurement, fulfillment, and moving data between different systems.
Once the spreadsheet systems were implemented, we built a series of Microsoft Azure WebJobs that would automate these processes and take away steps on each iteration. We integrated with APIs and had processes that checked emails to react in real-time to discounts available on merchandise from distributors for their procurement team and repeated this same approach for incoming orders for merchandise for their fulfillment team. We then automated the process of data entry between their ERP software and accounting software. We also automated pushing the data from purchases from distributors to the ERP and orders from their distribution channels to the ERP.
In the end, the client had a fully automated workflow and could focus on growing the departments in the business with the recovery of over 12% of their profit.
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