When you’re running a small online business, what’s the fastest, easiest way to grow your business and save money? Automation, according to Lenny Kharitonov, President of Unlimited Furniture Group, a furniture retailer.
Kharitonov says his company was among the first in the furniture industry to automate the online order fulfillment process.
“The furniture industry in general is not very technology savvy,” he admitted.
The Unlimited Furniture website markets products from a variety of manufacturers that ship them directly to the customer. Before automation, the Unlimited Furniture team and its vendors handled every aspect of the transaction manually using a combination of spreadsheets and Google docs. Now customers can order online, and the details are instantly sent to the vendor. Once the vendor ships out the product, Unlimited Furniture automatically receives all of the information about the shipment and updates the customer without any manual involvement.
This automated process:
- Prevents mistakes. “When you do things manually, it’s subject to human error,” Kharitonov said. “For instance, somebody could put in the wrong quantity or wrong color; it could be done on our side or the vendor’s side.”
- Eliminates duplication of effort. Before automation, Unlimited Furniture would enter a purchase order manually then send it to the vendor, who would enter the same information manually.
- Saves money. Automating order fulfillment has slashed Unlimited Furniture’s administrative costs 40%.
- Speeds delivery. Orders are processed real-time now, instead of waiting for someone at Unlimited Furniture and the vendor to manually process it.“The quicker the service you give the customer, the more likely you’ll get repeat business,” Kharitonov said.
“We want to grow the business. We don’t want to spend all our time processing orders,” he explained. “In this day and age, it’s assumed that’s automatic, but it’s not. I know a lot of our competitors are still doing it manually.”
Watch the full interview and find out more about the power of automation here: