You've probably read about us upgrading our in-house systems throughout the summer which started with a new stock control system. So far this has been going pretty well, but as with the introduction of any new system there can be teething issues and resistance to change!
It took a few weeks for some staff members to relinquish using little scraps of papers to pass us when a particular item was running low. Or the stock would be counted and updated on the system, but not flagged to alert us to place a new order & therefore the purpose was defeated.
However, fast forward a couple of months and the flagging system is working well alongside requisition sheets and everyone has come to grips with the new system. You may think you have all eventualities covered when designing a new system in theory, but it isn't until it's implemented and used on a daily basis that any issues or required functionality come to light.
Once everyone had conquered their fears of the new stock control system we decided to keep the ball rolling and introduce the new order processing system.
The idea behind this new system was for both the office and the warehouse to have more up-to-date information on the status of each order, current and future, and to consolidate the 2 departments. With this came new scanners, printers, tablets and screens to display all the order information in real time.
It involves the warehouse team getting their own printed copies of any orders. as the orders come in, and the list of current orders being displayed on screen for them. This also means they see future orders as well as those going on a daily basis. The current system meant the warehouse team were just presented with lists of what was to go that day - one in the morning, one at lunch time and a final one at 3pm. Instead of the office team preparing these lists, they now simply click a button to import any orders into the new software and while they print an original office copy , a dispatch version/packing list is also sent to the warehouse printer. Both the office and warehouse have scanners/tablets to update the status of each order as it is being worked on.
The new system was explained to everyone in the office and warehouse together. There were a few questions asked, a few final tweaks and everyone smiled and nodded. We could sense a bit of nervous anticipation however, as this meant MORE CHANGE!
The next day there were a few setbacks as we discovered that some team members hadn't fully understood and weren't scanning the orders in as "in progress" etc. Some future orders were also being prepared too early as they didn't realise they were also getting future orders now. We of course had anticipated a few teething problems and so every order was being double checked to ensure there were no problems anyway. Practice makes perfect after all!
Fast forward a few days and we decided we'd ease into the new system instead by meeting in the middle. For the first few months the office would double check all the orders that had to go that day and then release the copies to the warehouse. The office would also separate any future orders to ensure nothing got dispatched too early.
There were also a few other hiccups with the system itself such as incorrect images being displayed and the 2nd copy of the order going astray in "space". However, this is why we have an original copy of each order & every order was also double checked (we don't like to leave anything to chance!) It's also why we chose to roll the new systems out in the quieter summer months, as we have the time and resources to react.
So fingers crossed that in another couple of months everyone will be wondering how we coped without this new system. However, a couple of months means the end of November, which means Christmas hampers and Christmas dispatches are a whole other ball game!