When Bob McKee at Mountain View Services entered into e-commerce on a whim, he never imagined it would turn into a multi-million-dollar business in a short 18 months. “It was a fluke,” proclaimed Bob. “I started to sell a few items online after muddling my way through opening a web-store. I kept adding items and as more orders started coming in, I’d add a few more.” Bob started to see the benefits to the bottom line, which prompted adding Amazon and EBay to the e-commerce channels. Mountain View Services now has over 2000 items on Amazon and 1000 on EBay and their own Volusion webstore.
Rapid e-commerce growth hindered by manual processes
Bob stated, “We started receiving six orders a day, then 12, then 24 and before we knew it, we were coming in on Monday to 1000 orders that needed to be processed. We were averaging 500 orders per day and had to pull team-members from other departments and hire temporary staffing to process the orders.” Processing the orders was a time intensive, multi-step, manual process that was prone to errors. Bob’s team entered the orders into their accounting system, then into the supplier’s order entry system, then went back into the e-commerce platforms to enter tracking numbers. Data entry quickly became a full time job for four people.
Data entry errors cause delay and incorrect shipments
Management was thrilled with the success of the new startup, but the success was being overshadowed by the high volume of calls from concerned, and sometimes, angry customers. One of the primary concerns, that we had no way to avoid, was data entry errors which caused a delay, or incorrect product to ship. Sometimes the customer entered their address wrong and we had no way of knowing that. More often, it was us keying the order incorrectly. Each data entry error could cause shipping delays, incorrect items being sent, returns and ultimately unhappy customers. We reached a boiling point and turned to our technology partner for guidance,” said Bob.
Sage 100 integration automates the entire process
Mountain View Services was referred to a systems integration specialist. “We’ve been a long-time Sage 100 user and automation and integration seemed like the perfect solution to our issues,” Bob stated. “We implemented in phases; first was the integration between our Sage 100 accounting solution and the e-commerce sites, so orders would feed directly into Sage. Then came the next phase of integrating the order data in Sage with our 3rd party supplier to process purchase orders automatically with them. Once the order was shipped, the tracking numbers were exported back to Sage, then to the e-commerce sites and store. That final piece is what provided our customers with the peace of mind that their order was on the way, and shipped as ordered.”
What had been a 100% manual process, was now a 100% automated process thanks to the integration technology. Automation also minimized the need for staff involvement saving Mountain View three full-time positions. But most importantly, it virtually eliminated all customer service issues. In fact, the company was receiving phone calls and emails from customers who were thankful for the quick shipment, which was another benefit that was gained since there was no longer a back log of orders for entry.
“We’ve seen an increase in repeat orders in growing quantities, which speaks volumes for the value of streamlined processes…”
Bob concluded, “We never dreamed we’d have this kind of business and we weren’t ready to support it. By automating the processes using technology, our customers receive what they ordered, sooner than they expected it, without issues. Our integration vendor even set up a system to catch data entry errors on the customer’s part. As a result, we’ve seen an increase in repeat orders in growing quantities, which speaks volumes for the value of streamlined processes all the way around. We could not have kept up the pace or improved the customer experience without technology. And, building our credibility with merchant channels like Amazon and Ebay, where good customer service is required, is priceless.”
Mountain View Services, Inc., a Blytheco customer, has been the leading supplier of nutritional supplements, incontinent supplies, groceries, durable medical equipment, household and janitorial supplies and medical supplies to health care facilities since 1988. They started selling incontinent supplies, nutritional supplements and medical supply items via the internet in late 2014. Over 40 Blytheco customers currently use IN-SYNCH® for Sage 100 integration. ROI Consulting, is the market’s leading Sage 100 integration specialist, maximizing Sage 100 customer’s technology investment through integration and customization since 1997. You can learn more about ROI’s Sage 100 integration solutions here or by calling Ruth Richter at 402-934-2223×1.
*This article was previously published in the Spring, 2016 Bellwether Magazine.