As a small and medium-sized business owner, don’t you sometimes feel that you’re spending more time pushing back against operational issues rather than actually growing your business? I completely empathize with you. In one of my previous businesses, I ran a custom t-shirt printing business called Drooling Apparel. Jumping head-first, I learned more about managing a business and stock levels than anyone could teach me.
My name’s Benjamin Yee and I’m the founder and CEO of EMERGE App, a cloud application for order, purchase and inventory management. My business software is used by well over a thousand small and medium-sized businesses around the world. And I’m proud to say that we’re helping customers solve tricky and difficult inventory management issues every single day.
The business landscape is fast changing for distributors, wholesalers and traders. What was acceptable or the norm a few years back is simply not enough to keep ahead of the competition in 5 years. So you’re using some office productivity suite and spreadsheets for your business? Bah, the future is cloud applications and integrations for inventory management.
Today I’m going to talk about how our customers are using EMERGE App in clever and innovative ways. Sometimes they’re using it for purposes that we never intended or planned! But using lateral thinking, working with our flexible modules, and rolling out our web-based platform, customers are solving business pain points in their own unique way. Let me cover some for you.
It Was About Inventory Management In The Beginning
In the years since I launched EMERGE App, I’ve noticed a subtle shift in the way clever businesses are using our inventory management software. In the beginning, it was about solving immediate stock woes. You know, moving away from spreadsheets and actually getting an accurate number for stock that is available for sale now.
Throw in multiple warehouse locations, multi-currencies, and international language support, and EMERGE App was a pretty compelling solution for global trading and distribution businesses. Plus it helped that employees got an immediate productivity boost from keeping all their business records in the cloud. No more hunting for files saved across local and remote computers.
But something beautiful happened in the past year or two. Customers were embracing EMERGE App and adapting it to solve their own unique business issues. As you know, business software needs to be general enough so customers can pick it up and run with it. Too broad and it won’t solve anyone’s problems. Too narrow and you’re only going to sell to those in the mining industry. Do you know what I mean?
Turning Water Into Inventory
One customer is using EMERGE App’s simple manufacturing feature to assemble plastic bottles and caps and fill them with clean water. They issue and schedule production orders so that raw materials (including water!) are sourced from different warehouses, and then store the finished products in another warehouse.
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Plus, they get to take advantage of EMERGE App’s batch tracking and expiry date feature. This is a must for those in the food and beverage industry. Batches along with expiry dates can be defined so that water bottles can be traced and recalled in the unfortunate event of contamination or an outbreak.
Once the finished products are stored in the warehouse, sales reps treat the bottled water just like any other physical product. They issue quotations, create sales orders and email them to customers — all from within EMERGE App. Needless to say, our web-based platform means that sales reps only need a web browser to check on inventory and the order progress from anywhere they might be.
Ice Cream in the B2B Scene
In EMERGE App we offer this free B2B e-commerce platform called EMERGE Cart. You basically create purchasing accounts for your best customers. With this customers can place orders with you 24/7. They don’t need to email, phone or fax their orders anymore. Plus you get the benefit of error-free sales orders deposited straight into EMERGE App.
Well, we’ve got this amazing customer using EMERGE Cart to help them send orders directly from their ice cream shop to their factory! Now, this is creative. Ice cream customers place their orders for the number of cartons and flavors they want. Their shop then uses a purchasing account in EMERGE Cart to put orders into the system. The factory gets the orders and fulfills them.
Their operations team uses the rest of EMERGE App to push the workflow along. Using the Receivables module, their staff track payments on customer invoices. They can filter them by overdue or paid statuses. This means they can manage their trade credit by monitoring outstanding and due invoices, and gently nudge those that are overdue.
Sowing For Future Generations
My last example is an interesting biotech one. They’re in the business of importing and distributing seeds for growers. Part of their business deals with plant genetics and they provide services to the agricultural industry using proprietary methodologies. As you can imagine, they need to accurately track the movement and whereabouts of thousands of sacks of seeds!
They’re using EMERGE App as a central depository of all their business documents and records. Previously, they were using spreadsheets to manage their quotations, orders, customers, suppliers, products and price lists. These files were saved locally and in the cloud, so they could never be sure they were editing or updating the most recent file.
Best of all, leaving the heavy lifting to EMERGE App means that they get to spend more time where it matters in their business. This means managing business relationships with customers and suppliers. Their staff used to be bogged down with data entry tasks. Now they just follow the intuitive workflow in EMERGE App from quotations to orders and shipments.
I’ve shared with you three ways in which real customers use EMERGE App in creative, unexpected and unusual ways to solve their business problems. These very same businesses know that cleverly using technology is one method to keep ahead of the competition, and to constantly evolve the business. What other creative ways can EMERGE App help your business?