BlueBox - More than floors, blogs and serial numbers!
With technological change advancing at the speed of light, each month requires that we take note of the latest trends, and then apply them with the intention of progressing further as a business. With the above in mind, this month sees The BlueBox launching our first official blog. Additionally, we are extremely pleased to showcase one of our new customers, "More Than Floors." Also we will be focusing on serial numbers in our whitepaper summary, briefly reminding everyone out there about the release of BlueBox 2, and finally as always we will be highlighting the latest website which our web team has just wrapped up.
The BlueBox Blog
The BlueBox has just launched it's first official blog. We have been looking at creating a blog for a number of months now and we debated about whether to make the blog customer specific or for global consumption. The decision was made to do both, but to start of with a global blog. Our blog currently features thoughts, discussions and arguments about various business system and IT related issues. Most of the issues that are highlighted in our blog are technical topics which have been raised in our whitepapers. Please feel free to visit our blog to air your views, comments and opinions on the topics that are up for discussion.
View The BlueBox blog.
BlueBox Welcomes "More Than Floors" on Board
We are pleased to showcase "More Than Floors" as one of the customers that form part of our new customer group. "More Than Floors" is a flooring and flat pack furniture warehouse, that has 25 years of retail shop fitting and construction experience. The company essentially manufactures wooden floors, carpets, kitchen and built in cupboards. Their products are suitable for all types of renovation and their factories can make almost any custom design. Currently the company is based in Centurion, Pretoria and has four major retail chains. However, their vision is to expand nationally over the next few years. "More Than Floors" is currently utilizing our BlueBox ERP system technology. One of the benefits which is driving "More Than Floors" to use our Business System Database is our POS (point of sale) feature. Our POS solution can capture key transaction data, such as sales, sales cancellations, voids, refunds, purchase of gift certificates, service transactions, and creation of special orders. The system also validates item information, automatically calculates total purchase amounts, and processes payments, which allows cashiers to give customers their full attention. It also allows one to manage their price list centrally, and as a result this ensures that tills are always current. Register management control is also made easier by our system. Thus managers can easily track and attend to cashier theft or poor handling of cash. Moreover The BlueBox Business Database has inventory management built into their POS system. Consequently, this ensures that inventory levels are always current, stock is able to be pinpointed, and stock on hand as well as alternative product information is available via the BlueBox portal. This ideally provides time for employees to focus on improving customer service levels.
Serial Numbering - The Simple 'Big Ask' for Stock Environments
It is quite surprising how often we get queries about serial numbering, and whether our system can either handle, or provide them. The question usually crops up after long discussions about the intricacies of stock management and how the BlueBox will be the tool that gives them the ability to finally deal with their many stock management issues. There is a pause and the question is asked in a half whisper, as if it it almost too much to hope for that we also “do serial numbers”. The awe, in our minds, is misplaced. To us, the intricacies of comprehensive stock control, which the BlueBox Business System handles with ease, is far more worthy of admiration. Serial numbering is simply a nice additional feature which adds value to the whole stock management process. Although not the most complex of subjects, our customers interest in the topic makes serialisation worthy of a brief whitepaper.
The Application and Benefits of Serial Numbers:
Visualise this situation. Bob works in the Customer Returns section of his business, which manufactures machine parts and provides sub assemblies to their customers. One of their customers, returns a faulty sub assembly. On stripping the sub assembly, Quality Control finds that a single part has a manufacturing flaw. The part is replaced and the sub assembly is returned to the customer, now working. Bob waits with baited breath hoping against hope that there are no other comebacks. He is not sure whether the other parts that were created in the same batch were also flawed, and they certainly can't afford to strip every single sub assembly to check that the part is okay. Hopefully the problem is once off. To have multiple returns will severely compromise their reputation for providing a high quality product.
Coincidently, across the street, Fred works in the Customer Returns section of a similar business; and even more coincidently, they are faced with a similar problem. One of their customers, returns a faulty sub assembly. On stripping the sub assembly, Quality Control finds that a single part is defective. The part is replaced and the sub assembly is returned to the customer, now working. Fortunately for Fred, the parts, and the sub assemblies themselves were provided with serial numbers on manufacture and assembly respectively. Fred checks the system to see which batch the defective part was produced in and checks a sample part from that batch to see whether it is also flawed. Unfortunately it is. Fred identifies all the other parts from that batch and removes them from stores. He goes on to use the system to identify all the sub assemblies that are affected. The ones that are still on site are removed from Finished Goods and stripped, while Customer Services contact all customers that have received sub assemblies with parts from the defect batch, and arrange for replacements. Thanks to serial numbers a potential customer relationship crisis has been averted.
The situation above, although contrived, provides a relatively solid example of how serial numbers traceability can make a difference not only to Customer Relationship Management, but also to business efficiency and cost control. The cost of having to test, or recall, every single product because a few are found to be faulty can be astronomic from not just a labour perspective, but also from a lost sales perspective, a repeat sales perspective and an opportunity perspective. Applied in a pharmaceutical distribution or manufacturing context, serial numbers literally saves lives. How often have we heard of batches of medicine being pulled off shelves because it is found to be contaminated.
There are other applications too. When was the last time you tried to get support on a Microsoft product and weren't asked for a serial number? Serial numbers are very useful for identifying counterfeit parts, stolen goods and managing the warranty process. What about stock valuation? Serial numbers can assist with controlling whether more expensively produced or purchased stock is sold first or last.
The benefit that serial numbers provide is, in a nut shell, an audit trail for stock items, in conjunction with stock item traceability. What is clear is that the usefulness of the application of serial numbers is as broad as ones imagination.
Read on about serial numbers ... more.
BBlueBox 2.0 Reminder !
Just a reminder to everyone out there that BlueBox 2.0 will be officially released at the Futurex show in May of this year. We would love to see you there! :-)
Show dates are as follows:
15 - 18 May
Website Development Services - Website of the month!
The development of the "FAIR" website was primarily for to provide a global resource for journalists investigating Africa. The website provides visitors with the ability to read regular stories on the latest African headlines, as well as locate other international journalists via their area of expertise.
There are a number of membership benefits on the site for journalists such as liaising with publishers and media houses, chatting with colleagues all over Africa and the world, receiving regular updates on events and career opportunities, as well as links to legal and trauma support, just to namea few. In addition to the site being user friendly, the images of hunger, pain and distress are more than likely to have an impact on online visitors.
Should you feel that your website could do with an expert overhaul, drop Shaun Retief an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.