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Welcome Furniture saved £130k with a custom app

When Welcome Furniture realised that refining their internal processes could save them a huge amount of money, they asked us to develop a bespoke app to streamline returns. The result: £130,000 saved so far, less time spent on admin and greater clarity over logistics – and now we’re looking to enhance the app further.

Identifying the problem 

Welcome Furniture develop and deliver bespoke furniture to order, priding themselves on their commitment to quality, innovation and customer service. However, despite their high standards, they found themselves experiencing a high volume of returns. 

As part of their investigation into this, they asked us to undertake a ‘day in the life’ study of the company. Our team headed to their main site, and spent a week running through internal and customer-facing processes to identify where new technology could offer the most benefit to Welcome. 

Their conclusion was that Welcome needed greater visibility over their returns process and a simple, formalised process that allowed drivers to report faults remotely. We recommended that the company equip their drivers with iPad, and develop an app that would allow them to create returns and log collections in realtime in the field, ensuring head office were aware of problems as soon as they arose, rather than when the drivers returned to base after what could be week-long trips.

“Jigsaw24’s advice is always spot on and to the point. Their team are the best there is at what they do.”

Redesigning the logistics process 

“Our main goal was to get a complete picture of our returns, faults and credits by getting a realtime log of all our delivery problems via the driver, then reduce the amount [of returns] significantly, so that we eliminated the need to credit people,” explained Mandy Charlton, Welcome Furniture’s Operations Manager. 

In the new, app-driven workflow, drivers use their iPad to photograph any returns they collect, note the reason for return, product code and shop address, and have a shop manager sign off on the return electronically. This information is instantly emailed to head office and uploaded to a central database, so Welcome’s admin team can get to work on reimbursing the customer straight away. 

As well as speeding up the returns process – previously, work on the return only began when the drivers had finished each week-long delivery and collection run – and increasing customer satisfaction, the additional information provided by the app has allowed Welcome to track how often production, driver and dealer errors are responsible for a return and act accordingly, informing further change to the process. 

“The app has highlighted some trouble spots and we’ve altered our procedures to fix those issues, so even at this early stage we have improved quite a lot,” said Mandy.

John Peterson has also noticed the improvements. “Before, whoever shouted loudest got dealt with first, but now we can triage based on the category of return,” he told us. “Our customer service is much better, which is important for any company, but we’ve been able to use the app to focus on and reduce problems end-to-end. We’re dealing with fewer telephone calls and admin gets done much faster.”

Developing and rolling out the app 

Welcome had never used iPad before, so we worked with them to scope out the requirements of the app, how their devices would be deployed and what training they’d need. At the same time, we produced a minimal prototype of the app, so that they could experiment with it and confirm the functionality they wanted before we started coding. 

Once the app was complete, our team headed back to Welcome’s headquarters to roll out iPad and provide training on the new app. “A few of the drivers were old school and were quite nervous about the new technology,” said Mandy, “but the introduction went smoothly as they got a new toy to play with, and got quite a few benefits from iPad itself.” 

“Jigsaw24 managed the rollout for us and provided all the training we needed, so it was fairly simple for us to get started, ” John said. “They’ve been able to add new features as we’ve gone along too, like adding a returns number for each case and making sure the app is optimised for iOS 7. Next, we’re going to expand the app further so that we can use it to schedule deliveries ahead of time, and we think we’ll see the same benefits there.”

Download the full case study here. If you want to know more, give us a call on 03332 409 306 or email sales@Jigsaw24.com. For all the latest news, follow @WeAreJigsaw24 on Twitter, or ‘Like’ us on Facebook.

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