Furniture Firm Increases Profitability, Supports Growth with Business Management Software

Having outgrown its existing software system, Birlea Furniture needed an easy-to-implement, cost-effective solution that could be customised to the company’s needs. With a relatively small team of 27 serving more than 1,400 regular customers, Birlea Furniture turned a challenging situation into an opportunity. Now, with Microsoft Dynamics NAV in place, the firm is supporting growth and increasing profitability.

Business Needs

To improve operations, Birlea Furniture wanted to replace its existing system, which was restrictive, time-consuming, and labour-intensive. Some processes locked out other users, which created a huge operational hurdle, requiring out of hours support. In addition, the system couldn’t handle foreign exchange, and backup routines were inefficient.

Solution

Microsoft Partner Cooper Parry recommended Microsoft Dynamics NAV. An easy-to-use solution, it could not only solve the challenges faced by Birlea Furniture, but would also support growth with near-instant paperless invoicing and orders, automatic stock reporting, direct home delivery, and mobile tracking.

Sarah Leach, Financial Controller, Birlea Furniture, says: “Migrating to Microsoft Dynamics NAV was remarkably straightforward, especially given that we were moving to a new warehouse at the same time. The support from Cooper Parry was fantastic.”

The comprehensive software included modules that took care of financial management, sales and marketing, purchasing, warehousing, resource planning, administration, and transport organisation. “The solution was user-friendly and easy to pick up,” says Leach. “Moving to Microsoft Dynamics NAV is one of the best business decisions we’ve ever made.”

Benefits

“Because Microsoft Dynamics NAV improved all areas of our business, we can now provide a better service to our customers. We have everything at our fingertips—if a customer calls, we can access information immediately,” says Leach. Aside from revolutionising the company’s business processes, the main benefit has been improved customer service, which in turn has boosted customer retention. This is a significant advantage in a competitive climate, and has helped all aspects of the business.

Greater efficiency. With all information easily accessible in one place, the Birlea Furniture team can make better-informed decisions, and, as a result, fulfil orders faster. Any fulfilment issues are identified early and remedied in good time.

Ease of use. Automatic sales data—on hand dynamically in Microsoft Excel for management review—gives the company’s decision-makers a true reflection of activities in real time, giving them the tools to react immediately to changing circumstances. ”Within two days, our Microsoft Dynamics NAV automatic reporting system had helped us achieve an extra £15,000 in sales, by highlighting product lines not purchased by our best customers. Once we had this information, our sales team could act on it,” says Leach.


Intelligent stock control. The new system has made the monitoring of customer purchasing habits easy. For example, by being aware of an increase in credit note activity, Birlea Furniture can improve quality control and adjust stock to satisfy demand more effectively.

Enhanced accessibility. Microsoft Dynamics NAV allows the easy configuration of levels of access, so it can be set up to suit different types of users with different business roles and needs.

Cost-effective expansion. “Getting our new company—called Sleepy’s Worldwide—set up on our Microsoft Dynamics NAV system took less than a day,” says Leach. Everything concerning both companies can now be handled by the new, fully integrated system, leading to greater efficiency.

Significant savings. In addition to the major economies achieved as a result of saving the team time and making them more efficient and productive, Birlea Furniture has cut its operational costs. Through no longer having to rely on paper delivery notices, purchase orders, and invoicing, the business is spending far less on postage and related labour costs. This is a significant saving given that Birlea Furniture and Sleepy’s Worldwide processes nearly 2,000 invoices and about 200 customer statements a month. The move to paperless fulfilment has also helped Birlea Furniture customers, many of whom conduct their business online. Now, with an auditable trail of sales activity in real time, they find doing business with Birlea Furniture even easier.

Improved cash flow. Leach says: “We can’t invoice until we have proof of delivery. So automatic, mobile delivery advice that’s fed straight into the system means we save two to three days and can invoice sooner, helping cash flow.”

Increased margins. “We can analyse profit margins much more easily now,” says Leach. “This means we can be more intelligent with our buying and increase our overall profitability.”

Enhanced control. Because the new company was easily integrated into the Microsoft Dynamics NAV system, managers can now get a clearer picture of both companies’ activities in real time.

Simple integration with online retailers.Leach says:“It was easy for us to comply and become a reseller for one of the big online retailers because our Microsoft Dynamics NAV system has everything its processes require. For example, we can easily print bar codes for delivery paperwork.”

This case study is for informational purposes only. MICROSOFT MAKES NO WARRANTIES, EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, IN THIS SUMMARY.
Customer Size: Small Organization
Industry: Retail and Consumer Goods; Specialty Retail
Country or Region: United Kingdom
Solutions:
  • Microsoft Dynamics NAV
Organization Profile: Birlea Furniture is a United Kingdom importer and distributor of furniture. Established in 1997 and based in Derbyshire, the company employs 27 staff and has around 1,400 customers.
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