The Home Office Solutions Group - Case Study pdf  
When Rich Burke, president of Home Office Solutions Group joined the company in 2003, he and the management team set a goal to become a $50 million company in 7 years. To achieve that goal though, they knew that they needed to make significant changes in their fulfillment and inventory control system processes.
Located in Northbrook, Illinois, Home Office Solutions Group is one of the country's largest authorized Herman Miller for the Home retailers. The privately-held company also features established brands such as Steelcase, Bodybilt, InteractiveHealth, Tempur Pedic , Vitra and Panasonic. They sell their products through three Web stores: www.ultimatebackstore.com, www.officedesigns.com and www.homeofficesolutions.com, three retail stores and on eBay.

Home Office Solutions Group analyzed their needs and determined that a system designed to integrate their front and backend operations, including a fulfillment and inventory control system at an affordable price, would solve their problem. They selected the CORESense On-Demand Retail Management Software based on its ability to centralize all channels through one back office, delivered in a hosted model which reduced both cost and staff time.

Prior to implementing CORESense, Home Office Solutions Group operated its three Web stores through a combination of Yahoo! Stores and a lot of paper. As Rich Burke explains, "Each sales person had an Order Template on their computer. When a sale came through Yahoo! or through the Web store, the sales staff would key the order information into the template, print the document and then file the paperwork for pickup by the warehouse. Once the order was shipped, the warehouse would return the paperwork to the staff member responsible for updating the information on our computer system with the status of the customer's orders. This process was time intensive and prone to error. We couldn't grow to the level of a $50 million company with that system in place."

It was especially difficult for Home Office Solutions Group to fulfill their 48-hour delivery commitment to customers on Monday mornings and the holiday season. "There was always a big stack of orders to be entered and processed after the weekend or the day off," explains Burke, "Our commitment to assuring customer receipt within two days became challenging to meet."

Phase 1 of implementing CORESense across their online businesses began with migration of the three Web stores. One of the biggest benefits noted by Burke was an immediate elimination of paper and a 60% decrease in order errors. CORESense automates much of the order fulfillment process and streamlines the system for the sales and warehouse staffs to seamlessly move the orders from sales through shipping. With this new processing system in place, meeting the 48-hour customer delivery commitment is less stressful for the entire staff. An added benefit is that warehouse staff can now spend their time devoted to order fulfillment, not paperwork.

98% of orders come through the Web stores, and due to the highly configurable nature of the product Home Office Solutions Group sells, many of these orders result in a phone call to their professional sales team before the sale is finalized. The CORESense Sales Order Interface gives the sales team a tremendous amount of information at their fingertips, from detailed product information and inventory status to past order data that enables the staff to more quickly handle customer inquiries.

With CORESense, Home Office Solutions Group manages all inventories through a single product catalog. "By centralizing the management of our products in CORESense, we're gathering directional data that is critical for properly managing inventory," Burke said. "This critical information will assure that we have the products our customers want in stock and ready for shipping."

Since implementing CORESense, Home Office Solutions Group has been able to focus its time on projects that achieve growth rather than administration. The need to hire more sales and customer support staff is no longer necessary based on increases in efficiency realized through CORESense. "The fiscal year 2005 was much busier than the previous year, yet the atmosphere was much different," explained Burke. "Previously we were very stressed during the holiday shopping season, with senior staff busy printing labels and providing line support to sales and warehousing personnel on a daily basis. However, during the holiday season of 2005, we functioned quite effectively while generating a tremendous number of orders and reaching a nearly 25% increase in revenues."

Home Office Solutions Group has met its 2005 growth plans and is on target to move closer to the $50 million revenue mark. Burke attributes part of the company's current success to CORESense. "We have lower error rates, better online experiences for our customers and more knowledgeable sales people because of CORESense. This creates happier customers who return more often." Burke continued, "We see CORESense as a partner. Overall it has been a great relationship for us."

Home Office Solutions Group plans to add their three retail stores, eBay and Amazon channels to their CORESense system, integrating all channels through one centralized, end-to-end retail system.