The largest quality furniture store in the South East of England.
Back in the last years of Queen Victoria’s reign, Ernest Fishpool took out the then huge loan of £85 to go into the furniture business on his own. Over a century later that business – Fishpools Furniture – is still based in the same location, Waltham Cross, Herts, and is now the largest quality furniture store in the South East of England.
Fishpools’ main facility comprises a 90,000 square foot store, while its nearby Hartford warehouse is of the same footprint. Featuring thousands of homeware products and gifts, the retailer has a large stock to look after covering everything from bedroom to bed linen, beds and flooring.
Our receptionist scans everything in, it’s automatically filed – and then what paper we do receive gets recycled.
TIME EATEN UP BY ADMINISTRATION
Up until 2014, the business stored all financial information and correspondence manually. This meant time had to be spent in paper-heavy business processes and workflows, recalls Alice Norris, its Operations Director. The process had an effect on Fishpools’ ability to deal with queries, while inefficiency was clogging up the system.
Alice and the rest of her management team recognised that a more digital way of working would be valuable for the company – and the decision was made to embrace an electronic filing culture.
“It came down to managing growth,” says Alice. “The amount of filing was leading to blockage – but the business hadn’t stopped growing.”
EASY SOFTWARE UK has been providing document & content management solutions for over 17 years, so working together seemed the obvious next step.
For the last three years Alice has been working with Enterprise Content Management (ECM) leader EASY Software UK to help deliver that digital transformation. Alice had had previous exposure to EASY and so felt its software would be a great fit for what she wanted to achieve.
“We didn’t research too many other ECM options because I had used EASY, I knew how it worked – and I knew that it would work for us,” she says.
In preparation for the changeover Alice had already started to get important internal Fishpools paperwork barcoded as she knew this would make future EASY-based archiving a more streamlined process.
What’s happened since EASY came on board? Scanning and storage of Fishpools’ financial documentation is the answer – a task that includes everything that comes in through the front door for the busy SME’s purchasing and invoicing needs: Fishpools processes about 800 sales orders and delivery notes and about 400 invoices per week.
This now means team members are as productive as they can be, as client, supplier and order information is far easier to store and search electronically than searching through filing cabinets, she notes.
Alice explains that one of the biggest benefits is the time saving. “The amount of time that has been saved by senior members of staff like accountants, the finance director, myself, and at our distribution centre to be able to get access to delivery notes, is huge,” she confirms.
It’s also proving hugely valuable for Fishpools to have all relevant sales, purchasing and financial information always available from an efficiency and regulatory point of view. “As the finance team has to produce a wide range of compliance documentation, to be able to sit in the office and have everything on a screen right away to meet our obligations is a lot easier than having to search out documents.”
How is this digital way of working helping the Fishpools customer? If they ever need to contact the firm Fishpools is able to respond immediately, which translates to immediate customer support and problem resolution, she says. Order security is also improved, Alice states, as everything is archived away.
SIMULTANEOUS & REMOTE ACCESS
Another benefit is increased physical space at the company, which is freed up as it’s no longer taken up by cabinets. In fact, as a result of the switch to Document Management, Fishpools has four extra desks in the office: “If we did not have this space we would be looking at extending, which would mean huge expense.”
The team has been able to free the equivalent of a full time employee now EASY is in place. “Our receptionist scans everything in, it’s automatically filed – and then what paper we do receive gets recycled.”
And in terms of working with its chosen DM partner, “EASY has been very helpful, and on the support side whenever we have had issues it’s been very prompt in coming back.”
Summing up the benefits of working with EASY, for Alice and this well-respected British family business, “We got a return on investment from EASY, absolutely.
“We will continue to use EASY as the move to digital clearly benefits our business and we expect our use of it to grow with us.”