Reference: Hantex implements Exact cloud-based warehouse management software

Fabrics distributor pulls down the curtain on out-dated, on-premises sales and inventory software

Quick Facts

  • What: Wholesale distributor of fabrics and creative sewing products
  • Headquartered: Lincolnshire, UK
  • Employees: 6
  • Sales: £1m

Business challenge

  • Hantex is a fast-growing business but until recently its warehouse operations required staff to undertake many order processes manually, which resulted in unnecessarily time-consuming and expensive operations. To support its future growth, the company knew that it needed to upgrade its warehouse management software to automate as many of these complex processes as possible, and remove the need for human intervention across the whole order process. Hantex also relied on a local, desktop-based accounting system, which did not integrate into the warehouse operations and represented an obstacle to the company’s ambitious growth plans.

Results

  • Automation of multiple ordering and warehouse processes
  • Up to two hours per day saved compared to previous system
  • Integrated accounting connected with e-commerce
  • New cloud-based solution that is scalable to support future growth
  • Replaced outdated system with fast, reliable and user-friendly software
  • Intuitive, at-a-glance dashboard functionality enables workers to access comprehensive business data wherever they are

Client profile

Hantex is a UK-based wholesale distributor of fabrics, haberdashery and other products for the creative sewing sector. The company supplies independent retailers and manufacturers in the UK and parts of the EU with a huge range of textiles and related products such as trimmings, threads, patterns, books, beads, sewing notions and sundries – including its own-brand items.

Hantex specialises in introducing brands to new markets and outlets in the UK and EU. The company spends considerable time formulating bespoke campaigns to raise brand awareness for its customers, and a key part of this is to demonstrate a fast and perfectly-functioning supply chain that retailers can trust.

Hantex 2

Challenge

Hantex’s headquarters and warehouse are based in Lincolnshire, and represent the hub of its UK and EU operations. As the business grew, it found that its existing software systems, including accounting and warehousing, were becoming less suitable for its expanded operations. The company functions well with just a small number of permanent employees; however, Hantex found that staff were spending a great deal of time on performing manual processes. While this did not directly affect Hantex’s ability to process orders on time, it was becoming a drain on resources and did not fit with the CEO’s ambition to implement the most efficient working processes across the business.

“My background is in computer science and automation, so I know how powerful these tools can be in creating super-efficient workflows,” said Paul Smith, director at Hantex. “It has been our ambition from the very beginning to run a system that is as free as possible from manual processing, and where customer orders go through without any input or re-entry. In early 2017 we upgraded our web system and had also recently implemented a number of bespoke utilities that provide the business with important new functionalities. The next stage of our strategy was to integrate this with a new accounting and order entry system.”

Solution

Hantex had previously used a desktop-based, on-premises accounting system which provided basic functionalities for day-to-day order processing. However, this software was not sophisticated enough to support automation or to integrate with other critical business systems and data. Moreover, the old system would not be capable of supporting Hantex’s expected growth, and did not support home- or remote-working capabilities.

The company researched multiple vendors before choosing Exact Online, a comprehensive cloud-based distribution and warehousing solution.

The new technology integrates seamlessly with Hantex’s Actinic web ordering and back-office systems, and features customisable elements such as SQL queries from Exact’s third party app provider Invantive. Hantex established a set of queries that take data from Exact and run them through new customisable processes – for example, orders made through the company’s website are automatically sent to Exact, which then feeds stock data back into the web system.

This means that Hantex can immediately identify whether an item is in stock and when it will become available, as well as enabling the company to generate future delivery dates. Hantex is always adding to its fabric ranges, and this system enables the company to market these new products on its website before launch, and still give an exact date for when these items can be ordered and delivered.

Meanwhile, Exact Online features customisable dashboards which give users intuitive, at-a-glance insight into order and invoicing statuses, stock availability, and much else that is critical for day-to-day operations.

Value

“It didn’t take us long to start appreciating the benefits of moving to Exact,” said Smith. “Every member of staff has commented that they feel like tasks now run much smoother with the possibility of errors minimised – for example, by doing away with the need to key in orders manually. Tasks like these were taking an hour or two

of processing time for each worker; today, Exact imports all the sales orders automatically, which frees up a huge amount of time.

“And it isn’t just our workers who see the difference. Because Exact integrates with all our back-office data and other systems, it makes it much easier to provide answers to customer queries such as delivery or availability dates, whether an item is in stock, and what discounts they can achieve. We can now feed this information straight from Exact to the website, so we don’t have to spend time researching and answering customer questions.

“One other key benefit is the fact that the new Exact system is cloud-based. Our business is growing rapidly, so it’s crucial that all our systems have the ability to scale with us; if we had remained with our old systems, we couldn’t have hoped to support future growth without a major investment in physical IT to support the new software. Exact takes full responsibility for every aspect of the new system, from hosting and day-to-day management, to training and integration. This enables us to spend the time and money we save on developing new bespoke utilities and automating more processes as we continue to make the business more agile and efficient,” concluded Smith.

Exact for Wholesale Distribution

Integrate order and inventory management with your accounting & CRM. Save time and gain real time insight into the entire supply chain.

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