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Zapier saved my sanity

Bringing your digital world together to streamline your business processes.

Are you looking for ways to streamline your business processes? In a world where there is a ‘system’ for this and a ‘website’ for that very soon, you end up with a list as long as your arm of all the places and things you need to do to simply do your day to day job.

Small businesses don’t tend to have the funds to pour into a hugely expensive system that does everything under one roof. They end up using lots of sites to accomplish the things they need to do.

Real-Life Example

One of my clients who runs an eCommerce business came to me, desperate to reduce the amount of time that they spent with their order dispatch workflow. The process was as slick as it could be without any form of automation so we set about integrating their various platforms and systems to see what could be managed behind the scenes.

Ok so on the surface that sounds really easy… however when you’re handling several orders per day and there is only two of you doing everything – things get forgotten.

They were making silly mistakes in their haste to get things out of the door quickly. It could be as simple as putting the wrong item in a bag, missing out one thing from a large order or even simply just forgetting to insert some marketing material.

There isn’t much of that which could be automated as it’s down to human error. What I could do was remove a lot of the wasted time around the edges of that process to make them less stressed.

Getting SaaS On Thier Ass

So this here is the systems that they are using to process through their orders:

  1. Magento 2.0: Where sales came in from
  2. Tookan: To schedule jobs for the drivers
  3. Gmail: For their emails
  4. Twilio: For their texting

There are quite a few systems there and all of them play an important role in their workflow. However, to streamline their business processes I had to find a way to remove some of the manual input required in each of these systems.

This was the old workflow:

  1. Print out order (Magento)
  2. Stick it on a board on the appropriate day for the delivery (Printer)
  3. Type up an email to the customer (Gmail)
  4. Book the job onto Tookan ready for the delivery driver (Tookan)
  5. On the day of delivery, they would send out an SMS via Twilio
  6. Once delivered would update Tookan
  7. Upon return manually mark the order as shipped (Magento)

This was a massive waste of time with all the manual intervention required and it was no wonder that they needed to streamline and automate their processes.

The Solution

Using the power of Zapier and it’s ability to take data from one system and push it to another I was able to change their old workflow to this:

  1. Customer places order [no effort]
  2. The order goes into Trello pending list [automatic]
  3. Staff member adds a delivery date to the Trello card and drops it on the ‘Ready’ list [small effort]
  4. The packing slip and invoice get’s printed thanks to Google Print Services [automatic]
  5. Personalised email gets sent to the customer advising of delivery date [automatic via Gmail]
  6. The job gets sent to Tookan with all the customer’s information ready for the driver [automatic]
  7. SMS get’s sent to the customer when the driver is on their way [automatic]
  8. When the driver marks the delivery as complete it gets marked as complete in Magento automatically.

That is literally it… From 5 things they had to do manually down to 1.

The Future

After about six more months of running with the new streamlined process, they came back to me again wanting to prepare to go multichannel. This was a massive step for them and they knew that this time they had to get things ready BEFORE they started selling.

With a slightly larger budget this time we opted for Linnworks to manage all of the orders from the three channels (Magento, Amazon and eBay) and manage all the texting, updating and printing for us.

This also allowed us to do something else, to introduce quality checking. Linnworks has the ability for you to have to scan in each item for each order, therefore, making sure you have everything you need and aren’t missing anything!

Overview

This is the power of automation – having multiple systems is NOT a bad thing in today’s business world however having a well-designed process that removes as much human interaction as possible is what can make or break a small business in its early days.  

Want to know if I can help your business with automation? Then get in touch and let’s see if you can save some of that precious time!

Affiliate Disclaimer:

Some of my links will be for affiliate services or products, I only recommend them if I feel they are worthy of my viewers and every little helps to bring home the bacon!

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