Obaby

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Leading UK baby brand sets sights on global expansion after “phenomenal” growth with OrderWise.

Established in 2002, manufacturer and distributor of nursery furniture, Obaby, has grown to provide an award-winning range of baby products to major UK retailers. Since implementing OrderWise in 2020, the family-run firm has enjoyed a 30% year-on-year increase on outbound orders and is now set to expand into Europe and the Middle East.

The Requirement

Obaby is one of the most in-demand and recognised baby brands in the UK, supplying major retailers such as Argos, Wayfair, The Very Group and JD Williams.

“A number of things make Obaby stand out. Service level is really important for us, which is second-to-none, it’s really high. We’re very innovative and we have everything designed in the UK and we’re constantly pushing the boundaries in furniture manufacturing.”

Lewis Strellis, Procurement Analyst

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The changes in distribution caused increasing pressure on Obaby’s warehousing and logistics operations. Recognising this, the newly appointed Managing Director, Sally Lewin, sought to improve and streamline these processes to facilitate business growth.

Before we had OrderWise, we used a predominantly accounts-based software. So, whilst we used it for our stock and invoices, we still used to rely heavily on spreadsheets which are very data-heavy. It’s very time-consuming to update it, you don’t have live data unless you input it. So, the forward planning was very hard. I did think there must be an easier way.”

Sally Lewin, Managing Director

Sally began researching for a software system that could manage all these operations. In addition, the new solution needed to support Obaby’s work on drop-ship and create an EDI link to their major retailers.

 

Due to its in-house product designing resource, Obaby is extremely proactive when identifying new trends and creating new products. A quality they are heavily reliant on to stand out in the market.

Since launching in 2002, Obaby has expanded into multiple product ranges and has significantly increased its customer base. In addition to its own evolution, Obaby has had to react to drastic industry changes.

“The industry has evolved quite a lot over the years. Predominantly, most of our suppliers or retailers would have stock in-store. Now, we have to warehouse most of the products in-store where we have to deliver directly to the end-users by a dropship.”

Sally Lewin, Managing Director

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Implementing OrderWise

Obaby was confident that as a single, centralised, fully integrated ERP and WMS software solution, OrderWise would successfully manage its varying operations without the complications of multiple platforms.

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Stock Control

OrderWise’s integration meant that Obaby’s previous laborious, manual spreadsheet-based stock management processes were unified into a central platform and automatically updated in real-time.

“Having spreadsheets to look at the stock, you would always have to rely on one person to send our
information through to the warehouse and to the sales team. It’d all be different information coming from different places. Whereas now, everyone can look to see when we’ve got new products coming in, when stock items are coming in, how many back orders are on the system, it’s all in one place.”

Sally Lewin, Managing Director

Although OrderWise is a single, central solution, it can be accessed on a variety of platforms. Obaby uses handheld devices to access the system which saves hours a day in the warehouse.

“The best thing is I don’t have to lug new stock intake into the main warehouse to process it. I can process it on OrderWise with the device that’s connected to the Wi-Fi. Easy.”

Don Briggs, Service Centre Assistant

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OrderWise’s stock control functionality has also transformed how Obaby manages stock processes with its retailers. With OrderWise’s real-time data automation and accessibility, Obaby’s retailers are receiving a much-improved customer experience, subsequently boosting profits.

“One of the main successes that we’ve achieved with OrderWise is the transparency and visibility into stock for our retailers. In today’s ecommerce market, it’s vital that stock is transferred to retailers and visibility is there in real-time. OrderWise has helped us achieve that, which has helped drive sales accordingly.”

Lewis Strellis, Procurement Analyst

Kitting

Due to the nature of Obaby’s product range, which is predominantly nursery furniture and room sets, 60-70% of Obaby’s products are manufactured, stored, sold and despatched as kits. To manage this within their warehouse and logistically, Obaby utilises the OrderWise Kitting module.

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All kits are coded and can be adjusted automatically when delivered or returned to the warehouse and despatched to the customer. Codes can be applied to the whole kit or to the individual parts.

“It eliminates errors because it is under one code and set up in the background. Otherwise, if it was all manual, human error would be inevitable. As the kits are under one code, we know the correct item is set up. Then we know our own consumer is going to get the correct product.”

Lewis Strellis, Procurement Analyst

Sales Ordering Processes

The omission of manual data entry and rekeying across multiple, disconnected platforms has also streamlined sales operations.

“The sales team would have to key in manually every order to different portals, loads of EDI systems and
emails. Now, the majority of the orders are there and ready. It tells you if it’s in stock, out of stock, what it’s
waiting on, if it’s on hold due to the credit limit, or anything like that.”

Daniel Thorpe, Accounts Supervisor & HR Assistant

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With Obaby’s sales order processing automated and streamlined, OrderWise has enabled the business’s sales team to spend more time focusing on lead generation and customer service.

“The biggest impact OrderWise has had is visibility and efficiency. Everyone can see everything, it’s all on the screen and it refreshes quickly and automatically every time you change a tab. Pushing out automated reports, despatch notes, notifications. Everything is saved.”

Lewis Strellis, Procurement Analyst

Returns

While Obaby’s continued growth was increasing sales and profitability, it was also increasing the volume of returns in need of processing. Before OrderWise, this was another, time-consuming manual operation.

“I used to process returns on a spreadsheet, but now I process everything on OrderWise. With the handheld device, which is really efficient, I literally undress the pallet, scan them all in and update the system. Happy days, I love it!”

Don Briggs, Service Centre Assistant

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In addition to being far more efficient, the OrderWise Returns module provides the Obaby team with end-to-end traceability on all returns.

“OrderWise helps us track returns from start to finish. We put it on, we contact the customer straight
away using the CRM module and it keeps track so we can keep the customer updated.”

Bethany Watson, Customer Service Administrator

Customer Service & BI Alerts

OrderWise provides the Obaby team with a complete, real-time overview of all customer and prospect activity including orders, returns and the different stages of contact.

“OrderWise delivers us regular updates, letting us keep on track of our orders, our returns so we can keep the customer up to date, at every single stage. With OrderWise BI Alerts, we are notified exactly when a return comes in. So, we can get the customer’s refund or replacement ready as quickly as possible. It’s really good to make sure everything is delivered on their promise dates or we’re not missing anything.”

Bethany Watson, Customer Service Administrator

With OrderWise’s end-to-end traceability, the customer service team have immediate access to live business data across the organisation which has boosted customer satisfaction and response times.

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“Customer service is vital to Obaby and it’s one of the things we really wanted to work on. So, to simplify our procedures means we can answer questions more quickly and end up with a happy customer who isn’t waiting for a response.”

Sally Lewin, Managing Director

In addition to streamlining Obaby’s customer service operations, OrderWise has also saved time for their retailers. Through daily automated stock feeds and end-customer email updates, Obaby can provide their customers with a premium experience to match their quality products.

“Within our stock feeds we provide to our retailers, we include expected due dates, which uses the promise dates from the purchase orders so the system ties in within each area. Also, with the retailers, with sending out the orders ourselves, because we dropship for them. We provide the consumer with delivery information automatically using the system such as, your order has been shipped, here’s your tracking number.”

Lewis Strellis, Procurement Analyst

Accounts

With operational efficiency increasing across the entire business, this also required greater resources from Obaby’s back-office accounts team.

“OrderWise has helped make the month-end processes a lot more streamlined. It’s got all the prepayments saved in there and keeps it all in one place which is very nice. The invoicing side of things is really straightforward due to the automation. It frees up our time so we can look at other things that we’d never have the time to do before. So, it’s opened our eyes up to the things we can do differently with loads of different areas of the business. It’s very interesting.”

Daniel Thorpe, Accounts Supervisor & HR Assistant

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The Future

“The growth in Obaby over the last 12 months has been phenomenal. Our outbound orders have grown 30%, year-on-year. We were processing 800 orders a week, now we’re over 1,000 orders a week consistently. This year, our team will pick and pack and despatch over 110,000 parcels which is phenomenal saying that there is only five of them out there. Everything is really good at Obaby and we’re pushing and growing every week.”

Lewis Strellis, Procurement Analyst

Before OrderWise, the Obaby team struggled to accurately forecast and forward plan. Now, the business
has no hesitations when planning for the future as they utilise the most up-to-date business data to ascertain their pipelines and goals.

“We plan to keep on innovating and pushing boundaries. Currently, we are very successful in the UK, and Obaby’s long-term strategy is to expand in to Europe and The Middle East. With OrderWise, we’re confident in achieving this.”

Sally Lewin, Managing Director 

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In addition to business growth, OrderWise has also enhanced the experiences of the Obaby team and improved their work conditions.

“With OrderWise it’s smoother, easier and nicer. It’s a better work environment.”

Don Briggs, Service Centre Assistant

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