As the invisible hand behind Torpedo7's rapid success, Accredo Mercury has provided a cost-effective platform on which the online bike retailer has leveraged keen pricing and second-to-none service to deliver outstanding revenue growth.
“Accredo is a very affordable solution to get into and something a small business can definitely afford. It would cost ten times more to achieve what we have with our ecommerce model using other tools on the market.”
Neil Gibb, Systems Manager, Torpedo7
When Neil Gibb joined New Zealand online bicycle retailer Torpedo7 he was tasked with making the start-up company’s ecommerce business crank into top gear. Eighteen months later and with the company’s Accredo Mercury business software system meshing seamlessly with its internet shopfront – Torpedo7 has become arguably the leading ‘clicks and mortar’ business in the country.
The company is now approaching the end of its second year in business and its website receives around 30 million hits a month; it has increased sales 400% and is targeting $20 million sales in the next financial year. It is the type of growth that saw it place seventh in last year’s Deloitte Unlimited Fast 50 companies' competition.
All this has been achieved says Gibb, Torpedo7’s Systems Manager, “by taking the paper out of the order and receipting process”. To do that successfully he had to integrate the company’s website and financial system, and he was uniquely placed to know Accredo was perfectly suited for the task.
“Before joining Torpedo7 I was a software reseller and Accredo was one of our leading financial software systems for the small-to-medium enterprise market. I had put the system into an importer / wholesaler business and had learnt a lot about its capabilities in the process."
Torpedo7 was already a manufacturer and seller of bikes prior to opening its online shop. When obtaining parts for these bikes from New Zealand wholesalers became expensive, Torpedo7 founder Luke Howard-Willis began sourcing them directly from overseas. The business opportunity was obvious: obtain bikes and parts wholesale offshore and sell them through their own portal – a process which cut costs to the consumer and removed many wholesalers from the equation.
After establishing the website, the first few orders Torpedo7 received were printed out on paper and placed on the desk of an administrator, who proceeded to key the information into Accredo.
“Once you get beyond 10 or 20 a day it becomes hard to keep track of each order that comes in and to know exactly how far along the chain each one has moved,” Gibb says.
As word of Torpedo7 spread business growth exploded and it quickly became apparent that manual procedures weren’t appropriate for the online business model. It needed to process orders quickly and accurately.
“As an etailer your competitive advantage resides in the speed at which you can fulfil orders. What we needed to do was make everything as live as possible."
Taking advantage of Accredo’s smart integration tools, Gibb was able to make this happen.
“We used Accredo scripting and EDI tools to suck batches of orders created by website shoppers into the financial system every two hours. Accredo cleverly automated some basic, but very important procedures."
When an item is selected online, the integrated workflow between Torpedo7’s Accredo system and its website manages the purchase from start to finish - checking product availability, confirming the order and adding relevant customer details on the fly. Once the order is picked and packed at the warehouse, an updating procedure within Accredo accurately records and updates stock levels.
It’s a fully automated process that creates only one piece of paper – the packing slip - from the initial order being made to the item ending up on the customer’s doorstep.
“We have achieved an extremely efficient and automated order processing workflow,” says Gibb. “This has allowed us to grow our capacity hundreds of times, without having to add dozens of customer service people to our team.”
“If you want to gain a reputation as being a leader you need to maximise service and drive profitable growth. To do this you need to look beyond MYOB and other basic packages.” Neil Gibb, Systems Manager, Torpedo7
And the growth has been meteoric. From a trickle of orders at the start, the 25-strong team at Torpedo7 can now process 600 orders on a busy day. They have stretched their operation across the Tasman and now have websites dedicated to both the Australian and New Zealand markets.
“Accredo maintains our product and pricing data for both sites, says Gibb. “We have created scripting that interrogates the Accredo database for all stock queries - such as size, colour, etc, which is relayed in real-time back to the site so all information is up-to-date.”
It is the ease with which Accredo can be customised in order to create procedures that optimise the operation of the business, which makes Accredo stand out, he says.
“In isolation all the processes we undertake to get an order out the door are fairly standard, but the fact that we can put them together in sequence without someone having to push a lot of buttons gives us the competitive edge. This is where a lot of etailers fall down.
Torpedo7 has created simple macros within Accredo that have removed time-consuming system searches, allowing its staff to streamline common day-to-day processes - and speed up order processing.
“When we process a phone order, for example, we have devised a sequence of pop-up windows that lets our customer service operators input information without having to navigate to different parts of the system."
Gibb says this is the point of difference provided by Accredo – the flexibility to customise it in the way you want. While there are a number of good basic systems on the market, for the business that wants to invest in doing things better, and smarter, Accredo is the perfect fit.
“To get profitable growth or a reputation as an industry innovator you need to work smarter than the other guys. We invested in Accredo to provide quicker workflow, and we use its reporting functionality to provide in-depth analysis of where our profits come from.
“To do this you need to look beyond MYOB and other basic packages. You need business software which can give you strategic insights, and which you can customise easily to support and enable new ways of doing things."
But, tellingly, Gibb says this ability to customise is not cost prohibitive.
“Accredo is a very affordable solution to get into and something that a small business can definitely afford. We are now a medium-sized operation and have aspirations to grow a lot bigger – I can’t see any reason to change. I believe it would cost ten times more to achieve what we have with our ecommerce model using other tools on the market,” Gibb says.