From a manually managed company, with a €100M annual turnover, to a fully Odoo ERP solution, with the Ventor barcode scanner mobile app
Puuilo is one of the leading Finnish department stores selling tools, constructional goods, and other utilitarian products. The company was founded in 1982, when its owner started the business by selling wooden toys at open-air marketplaces.
Nowadays, this company is running a huge chain of stores all over Finland to provide their clients with a wide range of goods, such as construction goods, car accessories, tools, pet food, gardening equipment, and household items.
This project was implemented by our close partner from Finland, SprintIT. They had invited us to set up their integration with barcode scanners and optimize Puuilo’s warehouse processes to work with hardware in a more efficient way.
Before starting the project
Needs and pains
Puuilo had been growing fast during the past 10 years, and no one had time to analyze and define their real IT needs. Their requirements sounded like this: “We probably need to improve conversion rates of webshop visitors…” or, “Maybe we could tighten up our logistics planning…” or, “We need to find a way to make our shipping processes faster.” This is nearly typical for any big customer’s description of requirements nowadays.
After an initial analysis to identify all requirements, the following pain points, often familiar to many other businesses, were identified:
- Too much manual work, for example, product prices had to be updated manually to four different systems
- Business-critical product data was maintained in thousands of Excel sheets and stored on personal hard drives
Enriched product specifications were updated to the webshop manually
Stock information and inventory values were not available
- Too many IT vendors and servers were involved in overlapping processes and tasks
- Uncontrolled unreliability in available data caused double-checking of every detail
- Unreliable sales and orders information
All of this showed very clearly that Puuilo needed to renew their business processes and implement a new enterprise software from scratch. Manually managing the business, with 120,000 products, almost 20 warehouses, €10M of imported goods directly from China, and an annual turnover €100M became absolutely unbearable.
After defining all business needs and creating a new architecture for the future system, the owners of Puuilo had to choose a vendor.
- To easily find all product information, with enriched data
- To have prices absolutely right in every sales channel all the time
- To know what and how many products are in stock
- To get reliable, real-time financial reports
- To save all business-critical information for clearly documented and usable availability by everyone who needs it
- To define IT strategy and overall ICT architecture for Puuilo, rather than relying on ad hoc IT procurements
The New IT Architecture for Puuilo
Choosing a vendor
Puuilo briefly reviewed over 50 different systems and solution providers, calculated their overall costs for the next 3–10 years, and checked reliability and reference cases of short-listed vendors. Their clear decision was to go with Odoo ERP.
Odoo was chosen as a core framework. SprintIT implemented integrations with the following: a PIM system, POS, a webshop, a marketing tool, a financing tool, 3rd party logistics companies, designed automated purchase workflow, and more. You can find more details about this in our speech given on the main stage of Odoo Experience 2018.
We then started the integration of handheld mobile devices with WMS for tracking product movements in warehouses.
The Puuilo Scope of Work
Barcode scanners integration
We needed to implement a mobile app that would allow more than 150 active users in 25 Puuilo offline stores. In the beginning, we had the following requirements:
- Support of up to 200 handheld devices that Puuilo already had in use (Newland N2S and N7000R).
- Continual users access to a certain set of functions for managing inventory stock with the barcode scanners.
- Ability to easily resupply products by creating POs directly from barcode scanners to ensure a stable and continuous product flow. Regular orders have 300+ lines.
- Ability to receive goods delivered on orders of more than 300 lines.
- Ability to see all information about a particular product or a location for 100,000 products and 10,000 locations.
- An intuitive interface and simple UI to reduce user errors.
- An ability for users to access rights management (set up on the Odoo side).
- A high level of stability for working all day, seven days a week, with no crashes or hangs.
The Ventor app
At that time, we already had a solution – the Ventor application; it was perfectly suited to Puuilo’s requirements. We decided not to reinvent the wheel but integrate an existing solution we already had on the market.
The Ventor app is the simplest way to connect handheld computers to Odoo
Managers at Puuilo liked the app for a few main reasons:
- The app has a clear UI with large “easy to click” buttons and straightforward logic in all of its operations.
- It is a fully customizable app for all business needs.
- It is a proven solution: 1000+ mobile users around the world use Ventor.
- Support of Odoo Community Edition (OE is also supported, including in the latest released Odoo 12 and the upcoming Odoo 13).
The main goal was to slightly adjust the mobile application to the customer’s mobile assistant. We updated the UI and business logic of using the new app to meet all original requirements. As a result, we gave the managers and workers of Puuilo a specially branded version of the app.
Now, they have easy access to product information, including images, product availability across all shops, and forecasted QTYs in specific locations. Updating QTYs on hand can be done in just one click, and making a procurement request for any product at any warehouse is now done conveniently and quickly.
Watch the demo working inside a real Puuilo production database with 100,000 loaded products in this short video.
You can try the app for free with your database. Download the demo APK here
Results of the Ventor app integration
After the project was successfully implemented, the workers at Puuilo complete all warehouse operations using barcode scanners only. No more paperwork. For the last year and a half, about 150 scanners are working at least 12 hours per day in 25 shops, updating more than 100,000 lines every day via the Ventor app.
The result of collaboration among the SprintIT and VentorTech teams helped managers at Puuilo to painlessly replace all their old systems into a new one, without a break in sales time. Odoo was deployed as the core system with integrations to POS, BI, PIM, eCOM, FINA, and handheld mobile computers.
Scalability of the new system allows Puuilo to grow fast as a company. At the end of 2015, when the project started, Puuilo consisted of 15 stores and an online store. Now, in 2019, 27 offline stores around Finland and online stores in Finland and Sweden are all a part of Puuilo.
Thanks to the efficient project management efforts by SprintIT’s team, the implementation of the new system went smoothly and allowed Puuilo managers to get tangible results in the first months of the project’s operation.
If you have questions, please feel free to ask them in the comments section below.