Managing 20,000 stock items, spread over three Australian states, is no easy job.
That was the scenario that was presented to us when we first met with Pabs Furniture Rentals in Sydney. How do we help them manage this stock, both in terms of where it sits in the rental phase, but also tracking the lifespan from the time of purchase to the time items are retired?
Pabs have 40 staff in three locations around Australia - Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne, with the core of the business sitting around three different offerings - property styling, corporate relocations and events
When we first met with Jason Wyliee we discussed some of the motivation and focal points of wanting to develop a custom solution. These centred around the following aims:
Like all projects we develop from the ground up (although we do start with our development framework, Nutshell), the starting point is to go through a reasonably extensive analysis and design phase.
This involved meeting with Jason to discuss his requirements, we also met with a number of the team to learn what they do on a day to day basis and how we could make things more streamlined for them.
We document all the "use cases" or tasks that each person need to do, then designed wireframes of how the screens would look and function, making sure we had the correct workflow. This was wrapped up into a System Requirements and Design document — the "blueprint" for development:
We even provided Jason and the team with a video walk through the wireframes explaining how they work and showing what the system would be like to use.
Even though we develop using an Agile project management method, the better the upfront design is, the easier it is to develop it right the first time.
What worked particularly well on this project was having Jason highly engaged throughout. He was on the ball right the way through the project, giving feedback as we went, which made the ability to get things right straight off the bat that much better. This is what Agile is all about.
The development phase went very smoothly and within a couple of months we were deploying the solution firstly in the Sydney office. Jason has since introduced it into the other two offices/showrooms and in total there are around 20-25 users on a daily basis.
Post deployment we have continued to make refinements, with a number of these centring around reporting. With the level of data now in the solution, its important to get reports out so the business can fine tune their processes.
This was a textbook project, the need was there for a custom solution, and FileMaker was the perfect fit.
The solution was up and running in a short period of time, it was well received by all the team, and while you can't measure the exact improvement, Jason reckons there's a lot less chance of mistakes now, it's easier to follow the business processes and they're more efficient. We always know it's a winner when they start talking about the next cool thing to add to the app...