CASE STUDY Badge Boy – Workflow and Customer Orders Management Solution
Established in 1983, Badge Boy has produced literally hundreds of
thousands of badges for customers all over the UK as well as overseas.
Having started in the ubiquitous garden shed, their commitment to quality, service and flexibility has seen their business go from strength to strength.
Over the years they have invested heavily in the latest technologies and machinery enabling them to offer exceptional value for money, no matter how small or large the production run.
As a family run business they have both professional and personal pride in everything that they do. They want their customers to wear their badges with the same level of pride that they have when they produce them. Now entering our 5th decade of operation and second generation of management they do not rest on their laurels.
Company owner Mark Branson believes that efficient processes are
fundamental to customer satisfaction on every level and he has seen the shift towards customers wanting more self-service options.
As he puts it “I’m a people person and love chatting to customers. But, with recent global events, our corporate customers, in particular, have more flexible working hours for their staff and are looking for more self-service options and we need to be able to support that. Of course, we still have time for a chat with our customers to discuss various options available to them, but we’ve always moved with the times.”
As a manufacturer of personalised goods, Mark’s business already had an established consumer facing site and process. His requirements were 2-fold:
Firstly, like a huge number of other businesses he needed to allow his own staff to work from home without losing efficiency, quality and control.
The second requirement was to allow his corporate, educational and repeat customers the ability to quickly re-order badges.
Efficiency – as a high volume business each step of their operational process must be efficient. Customer satisfaction is paramount. As a preferred supplier to many clients, allowing these clients to manage their own ordering process not only improves efficiency but also further cements the business relationships.
Control – taking what is essentially a production line manufacturing process and making it home-based for some staff means that production control can easily be lost, especially outside of a previously traditional 9-5 environment. At all times, management must be able to have a live view of the production process, customer orders and distributed stock control.
BadgeBoy contracted A2 Solutions to look into the problem and design asystem that would address these painpoints and meet the criteria. For A2,the solution to the problem was portals and dashboards
Taking the corporate/educational clients first, we created a series of
custom webpages where authorised users could log in and manage their orders. This included everything from simple repeat orders of stock items, to allowing personalised items (such as name badges) to be ordered and dispatched to multiple addresses.
The portal for these clients also shows the status of each order and where it is in the production cycle as well as varying degrees of Management Information so purchasing departments can see which of their departments has ordered what.
This in turn improves the invoicing process – with recurrent purchase
orders, monthly productions are summarised and invoices are
automatically sent to the client for settlement.
From the staff perspective, flexible working means that, within reason,
staff can work the hours that suit. This means that some staff will work
late, others will start early, do the school run, do a few more hours before picking their children back up again.
BadgeBoy did have to purchase additional items of equipment for these
staff, but this initial expense has more than paid for itself. Mark says “with staff working all different hours, we unexpectedly are able to respond quicker to higher priority orders. The production day has extended”.
A portal was created whereby staff could “claim” the next job from the production list and then once the badges had been made, staff would then mark the job as complete. This process has full tracking so management have live statistics regarding staff productivity, stock levels at each person’s house and the status of each order.
By happy coincidence, at the same time as BadgeBoy were implementing this system their 2 key suppliers were keen to be involved. As a consequence, stock requests are automatically placed with the suppliers at certain trigger points and supplies delivered directly to the home worker’s residence.
For management, the mantra of “if it moves, we track it” is something
that rings happily in our ears. Modern looking graphics and charts provide management with a live update of all the moving parts of their company’s processes. Behind each number on screen is a more detailed report which allows management to quickly drill-down and see the facts behind the numbers.
From the very first conversation, it was clear to me that the team at A2 were not your stereotypical computer geeks. They quickly understood the business requirements and were able to offer solutions and processes that have made a tangible difference tomy business and my clients
Working with A2 was a genuine pleasure. They took the time to truly understand the issues of my business and provided a great deal of insight and best-practices from other industries that they have worked with. The end result is that my staff are happy, my clients are happy and my business continues to move forward.