Based in Verwood, Dorset, Spire Technology Ltd Their ever-expanding product portfolio, which currently stands at over 1500 products, offers a wide range of IT equipment from some of the biggest and most influential manufacturers in the world.
Through our many projects together, Spire and Solweb have developed a long-lasting partnership that first began in 2005 and continues strongly today. Solweb have developed solutions for Spire that remain in the heart of their business, including a Sales Order Overlay, Reporting Functions and a fully integrated e-commerce website, which in itself has seen a growth of over 400% in recent years. One such solution involved the redevelopment of a Returns System, which would be directly integrated with not only their accounts system, but also their website!
Spire Technology had been using a custom-built Returns System that was powered by a Microsoft Access database for many years, which had rapidly become unstable and limiting for an organisation of their size. We were asked to redesign their system and to ensure it was fully integrated with the Access Dimensions database, allowing them easy access to Customer Reports and Order History. It was also essential that the development was broken up into multiple phases in order to split the development costs, and to allow the application to be reviewed after each milestone, with new features discussed prior to release.
The core of the system consists of easy to use functions allowing the returns departments to quickly record a traceable RMA Request, and raise the required documentation. The new system looks up information direct from their live production system to ensure data can be located quickly and with a noticeable reduction in errors. The addition of a Credit Note Authorisation window available to specific users, provides them with a holding area where final returns can be authorised and signed off before further action is taken. Additional validation checks ensure items cannot be authorised that are above the sales price, and suggestions will be made if there are any potential errors. A final Transaction Reversal window enables administrators to alter any movements that may have been authorised, but circumstances have changed.
Another important aspect is a re-print centre which allows all documents that been automatically generated throughout the returns process to be accessed and reprinted should this be required. This section, combined with a full audit trail, provides the management team with a full overview of the historical data against each returns request, highlighting repeat customers and products that generate large amounts of administration.
Once the Spire Returns System had been implemented, it was easy to notice the improved efficiency of the new process, as well as a huge reduction in errors and therefore costs. The ease in which the application was implemented and refined has helped streamline the returns process and has been embraced by everyone involved.
Furthermore, a new stage of development is already in the planning stage which will fully integrate their website with the Returns System, allow RMA requests placed on the website, to automatically appear in a quarantine area within the Returns System.