My brother, who oversaw production and design worked in the same room as the embroidery machines. It was loud, messy, and he was always being interrupted by workers who had questions about an order. The business was having trouble keeping track of inventory and making many mistakes on orders, which resulted in lost time and revenue. The constant pressure was putting a strain on my brother and father’s relationship, and they were fighting a lot.
Only a couple months earlier I had left my job at The Village Bank where I had helped develop software to help the commercial lending department keep track of sales. I had seen first hand the impact a computer system could have on a business that was struggling to keep up with demand and thought the same idea might work for my father’s business. I sat my father down and convinced him to invest in a server to act as the central database and to host the web application I wanted to build. I acquired a few old computers as donations and using open source software called Ubuntu refurbished them for use in the family business.
I decided to start with the inventory room, which was a complete mess and lacked kind of organization. T-shirts, which were used to fulfill orders quickly, were stuffed into boxes, so it was impossible to tell what shirts were available. With my brother’s input, I developed a Ruby on Rails application to track the inventory and a simple business process that allowed works to store the shirts wherever was most convenient. Of course, the change did not come easily and my father, along with several workers, ignored the new system, forcing us to recount the all of the inventory several times.
Eventually, the changes started to take hold, and we expand the use of computers into other aspects of the business. I added computers to every room of the business and setup a company email address where they could receive orders. I created a design database where my brother could upload files and settings to help employees configure the embroidery machines. When it was time to start working on an order an employee simply needed to search the web application for the corresponding order number and all the information they needed was right there.Eventually, the changes started to take hold, and we expand the use of computers into other aspects of the business. I added computers to every room of the
By 2012 revenue had tripled and the company was running better than it ever had been. The inventory and design databases helped reduce the time it took to complete certain tasks by roughly 90%, which resulted in a huge productivity boost for the business. My brother could come into work, design through the morning with minimal interruptions and be finished by lunch. All the employees knew exactly what they were supposed to do and where to look for information. My father was even able to build a new office for my brother and a new show room for the customers to wait in. All of these changes cost the company less and show room for the customers to wait in. All of these changes cost the company less than $10,000 in initial investment and showed me, once again, the power a computerized system has to organize a group of people.
© Legend - A Handcrafted Misfit Theme
I’m a jack of all trades that has done everything from business process design to video production to server administration to film photography. I’ve run, consulted on, and wrote a book about Crowdfunding campaigns. I’ve taught myself everything from Ruby on Rails to narrative story structure.
What do all these things have in common?