WARNING: This article carries a high geek rating!
WIRED Magazine interview Redfoot MD Tim Smith on its new cutting-edge computer software. Read the full article below:
‘Change is afoot for Redfoot
It pays to be quick on your feet – and no business knows that better than the footwear industry. The Bacup Shoe Company, founded in 1928, supplies all types of footwear to some of the best-known retailers on the high street. Over 6 million pairs of footwear are shipped out to retailers each year.
Old doesn’t have to mean old-fashioned, though. Bacup’s Redfoot Shoes brand is innovating in design and construction. The Flexi Sole uses thermoplastic rubber construction to create evening shoes that fold in half to fit in a handbag during the day, and can be folded 151,000 times without wearing out.
And moving with the times is not just about design. When Bacup, in common with other western shoe manufacturers, moved its manufacturing to lower-cost countries, it shifted its focus to importing and logistics. The availability of warehouse space and skilled personnel in their location led them to diversify, creating a warehousing arm, Alpha Rework and Warehousing, in 2002.
One way to improve
Alpha Rework found that its systems needed an update to compete. Data had to be entered manually, and turning that input into outputs of useful information was a difficult process. As a medium-size business, Alpha Rework needed a more sophisticated business solution than spreadsheets on local drives – but not the size and expense of a big-business business application.
The solution was SAP’s Business One package – the SAP solution for small-to-medium enterprises – with a dedicated module for apparel-and-footwear businesses.
Using Business One, small-to-medium firms can pull every facet of their business into a single system. Data entry is automated and accelerated, and transformed in real time into valuable information. Live stock-level information, sales figures and gross margins can be exported to provide a minute-by-minute picture of the business’ health and performance. And, after analysis of that data and information, the tools for improved decision-making and customer service can be delivered where and when they are needed – even to mobile devices.
Making the warehouse work better
Alpha Rework successfully installed SAP Business One in just two weeks, and the differences were immediate. The manual data input became a thing of the past. Stock control was automated and the movement of stock was made more efficient and effective. Customer-service representatives could access customers’ entire history on demand, helping to understand and serve them better, and they could manage a larger number of online credit transactions, keeping the business running smoothly.
“We now have up-to-date, incredibly valuable financial information about our cash position and sales figures at out fingertips.” Tim Smith, managing director, Redfoot Shoes
After its successful run-out at Alpha Rework, SAP Business One will also be implemented at Redfoot Shoes. The improvements in access to business information that it offers will have positive impacts across every department, from accounts to design.
By taking data out of Excel files held in siloed departments and making it transparent and available, Redfoot Shoes will ensure that the right interdepartmental decisions are made first and made fast. SAP Business One is helping another small business to find its feet, and to run like never before.’