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Coventry-based welding supplies business, Sphinx Industrial Supplies, has seen online sales spike by over 300% during the recent lockdown, thanks to a newly integrated eCommerce website driving sales.

The family-run business, which began in 2005, felt the time was right to upgrade its website to assist in its continued growth only last year. Little did the team know how significant that newly-integrated eCommerce system would be for its business during 2020, following lockdown.

Recognising that clients wanted consumables (such as PPE, tools, paints and more) in addition to welding machine services, Sphinx Industrial Supplies, has grown organically to 11 staff members and now offers a catalogue of over 12,000 products.

As the company grew, and its product lines and customers increased, Sphinx Industrial Supplies realised that it could no longer rely on the manual processes it had been using previously.

To achieve its plans of extending the trade counter, showroom, services and website, Sphinx Industrial Supplies needed to digitally transform its operations. The company asked its technology partner of five years, OGL Computer, for a solution that would both centralise and digitalise all of its business processes.

OGL Computer recommended its ERP software which offers integrated CRM, stock control, order processing, accounts and purchasing ERP (enterprise resource planning), combining all of Sphinx Industrial Supplies’ business processes, including its new website, into one system. This has proven to be particularly beneficial over the past quarter, as Sphinx Industrial Supplies’ Finance Director, Sophie Donnelly, explains:

“The website has saved us. It was just processing orders because people could see what we sold and the stock we had. The website kept us ticking over the whole time. Online sales revenue increased by 300% during that period, it’s been manic. We are now getting multiple orders a day on our new website and it’s only been live a year. We also get a lot of calls from prospects looking at the website, so we need to take that into account when looking at its value - it’s a great promotional tool.”

Nick Davies, Head of Software Development at OGL Computer, continued: “OGL Software has become an enabler for a number of SMEs. We have the technology and know-how to simplify and streamline operations, leaving our clients to focus on sales. Our solution for Sphinx Industrial Supplies has made order processing, purchasing, eCommerce, warehouse management and pricing structures more effective and profitable.”

By integrating Sphinx Industrial Supplies’ entire business processes, OGL’s Software has removed the manual processes of order management and stock handling. Rather than relying on staff to remember what customers had ordered, OGL’s Software makes it easier for Sphinx Industrial Supplies’ to find and review previous customer orders quickly, or check stock in real-time, to enhance customer service, making managing a multi-channel operation more efficient.

Sophie Donnelly said: “There was just no stock management in our previous system so our stock was all over the place because we couldn’t keep track of what was coming in and going out. The phone is always going and the first thing the customer wants to know is if something is in stock. We couldn’t give the answer and would need to manually check and call them back, which I felt was just unprofessional.

“All our back orders were done manually, we all had to remember what customers had ordered and when they needed it and as we got busier and busier, that became a big challenge. We have a trade counter too which had an A4 folder where we recorded customer orders. I’d then have to sit for two weeks just pricing all the handwritten notes and invoicing. I wouldn’t do any of my sales or finance role because the paperwork was huge. You couldn’t view customer pricing previously, so you’d have to look through customer paperwork, it was just impossible to keep on top of.”

OGL Software has also assisted in streamlining Sphinx Industrial Supplies’ operations and managing all of its sales channels, by providing accurate real-time stock data, reducing time spent on administration and improving customer service, enabling the company to expand without having to employ more people.

Sphinx Industrial Supplies’ team now has full control of the warehouse, through OGL Computer’s warehouse management system (WMS), which makes management of the warehouse space and hiring staff easier.  

Sophie Donnelly continued: “One of the biggest compliments we get is ‘that was so quick’ when receiving orders. If a local business wants an item that’s in stock, we can pick it and get it on the van in the hour. I recommend OGL Software to everyone. It has really helped us get our name out there. Only our customers knew us before and having this system has helped to put us on the map and show people what we can do. It has bought in an abundance of custom far and wide, not just in Coventry. It has been really good for us as a company.”

Kate Buckle
Article by Kate Buckle
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