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How Smart Red Can Reduce Admin Time & Resource by 91.8%?

Category: Uniform Management

Yes, we did just say 91.8%. The procurement and distribution of staff uniforms, PPE and workwear is a complex and demanding process. On the face of things, you would imagine that the management process would be the same across the board. This is not the case, however. Every organisation we deal with is different. There are many variables within the procurement and distribution process that are as unique as the organisation itself.

This month, we ran some research with one of our partners to find out what challenges they were facing. We wanted to assess exactly how much time and resource is saved using the Smart Red Garment Management System.

Uniform Management: Reduce Your Admin Time by 91.8%

The results even surprised us!

For the case in point, in a typical week, Smart Red reduces admin time from a total of 14hrs 35mins to 1hr 11mins. That’s 13hrs 26mins saved per week – 698.5 of valuable manual hours each year! That is a massive decrease in time and resources of 91.8%.

What could you achieve by freeing up that amount of time?

Here are just some of the challenges that were identified in our partner’s uniform procurement & distribution process:

No. of employees

Employee numbers fluctuate on a weekly basis and the larger the pool, the more complex it becomes. Regular communication with HR is required to inform the Uniform team on how many new starters will be joining each week, to ensure they’re fully kitted out with the right uniforms - often before their first day on the job. In addition, it’s just as vital to know how many people have left employment. These people need to be removed from the uniform management list and, potentially, the return of their uniform needs to be organised.

How Smart Red Makes It Simple

Smart Red links to internal systems, such as an Active Directory and, if required, opens and closes access for staff accordingly using existing login details. There is also an optional process to provide new starts with temporary access to the portal to order a full wardrobe before they commence employment.

No. of department wardrobes & items involved

An organisation may need to procure thousands of different items to cover the whole workforce. Plus, each department may have its own ‘wardrobe’. Let’s use the aviation industry as an example. The wardrobe of a Baggage Handler is completely different to that of the Cabin Crew. And Check-in Staff uniforms are different to those worn by the Catering team. In addition, gender (including gender neutrality) needs to be taken into consideration when providing department uniforms. The more departments with different wardrobes, the more intricate things become.

How Smart Red Makes It Simple

Staff are added to the portal and given a login. Their profile connects them to their specific job role or department. When they login in, they ONLY see the uniform items relating to their role/department. Items are also filtered by gender (if specified). This eliminates the chance of people ordering or receiving the wrong items.

Some organisations and suppliers may already store their product and order information in an ERP system. With Smart Red it is possible to connect to that using an API. This means that information can be shared across both platforms in real-time.

Paperwork, Allowances & the Approval Process

When a staff member needs to place an order, generally they will collect, fill in and return a manual request form. The form will then be checked for errors. If errors are found, then manual intervention is required to contact the person and rectify them. Once there is satisfaction that the form is accurate, the request needs to be rubber stamped and the order is manually added to an internal system. If the request is rejected, then the staff member needs to be contacted and either be asked to pay for the item, or at least to discuss why they are going over allowance.

Quite often, allowances will be in place for each employee to maintain budget (usually at department level). Over time, this can become difficult to track. Uniform spend often increases across the business as a result.

Once an order is approved, it will often be set aside and then passed in batches to the supplier or internal stock warehouse for fulfillment. When batches of uniforms arrive, they must be checked in and sorted and the employee contacted to notify them that it’s ready for collection. This is another repetitive, manual process.

At year end, when it is time for budgets to be considered, it is almost impossible to track where things have gone right or wrong across a large pool of employees wearing different items.

How Smart Red Makes It Simple

ALL of this is fully automated with Smart Red. There is no paperwork because the platform records and stores all actions in real-time. Automatic push notifications are sent at all required stages to notify of order status changes, including the notification to collect.

Uniform Allowances are set against each employee by job role. When they order within allowance, the order goes straight to the supplier/internal stock warehouse for fulfillment - without any need for manual approval. People can place orders out with allowance too. Those can be routed through a team leader, or line manager for approval, further discussion, or rejection.

Usage and allowances are tracked against the employee and this information feeds into a powerful reporting area. These reports help to quickly identify potential areas of concern or overuse. They can also help in setting more realistic annual budgets.

Supplier(s) Involved

The complexity here depends on the contract(s) that are already in place. How many suppliers are involved? What processes and systems do they use to ensure that stock is available when required? What internal systems do they use to track stock and provide notifications? What targets have you agreed to satisfy all of the above?

How Smart Red Makes It Simple

Smart Red platform can integrate with one or more ERP systems for live stock & inventory data. In addition, with the extensive reporting mechanism inbuilt into the platform, granular reporting on all areas and targets is achieved easily.

Human Error

Everybody makes mistakes. Human error is a fundamental part of life, and whilst that can’t be fully eradicated, it can absolutely be minimised. The more manual processes involved in the procurement and distribution process, the greater the margin for error.

How Smart Red Makes It Simple

Human error is minimised simply by reducing the number of manual processes involved. Smart Red largely automates the ordering and distribution process, reducing both the margin for error and the time/resource wasted.

Sizing issues & returns

Discrepancies in sizing is apparent to everyone. If you’ve ever bought a t-shirt online, you’ll know that US sizing is different from EU sizing is different from Asian sizing. Suppliers work to very fine margins and therefore buy stock from different distributors. Sizing can change from item to item and when people place an order for their unforms, some will order things on the larger side to be safe, some will order as expected and some may even order items that, when they arrive are much smaller than expected.

Without any indication on what the ‘fit’ is like for a particular item, there is an element of trial and error involved. This only serves to increase the volume of items that are returned as unsuitable. These must be returned to the supplier (or held as local stock) and a new order put through for a replacement. This extends the lead time involved in getting the right products to the right people.

It can be very frustrating for everyone involved.

How Smart Red Makes It Simple

Not only is the returns process handled paper-free and efficiently through the platform, there is also a built-in size-indicator system that can be managed at product level. When staff navigate to an item, they see an indicator that tells them if, based on feedback, sizing is as expected, smaller than expected, or larger than expected. This enables them to make a more informed decision on which sizes to order.

Get Smart! Get Smart Red

The question shouldn’t be whether Smart Red is for you or not. The question is, if you don’t already have Smart Red in place, why are you refusing to decrease time and resources by 91.8%? This is a platform that, once in place, pays for itself many times over.

You can listen to our Head of Sales talk about this in more detail on the YouTube clip below. We’re ready to discuss your processes and to tailor Smart Red specifically to your needs. Get in touch with our sales team now 


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About The Author

Hi, thanks for reading this article. I'm Big Red Digital's Managing Director and have been with the company since 2012. After starting my career in one of Glasgow's busiest advertising and design agencies, I made the natural shift to web design and digital marketing. I'm passionate about getting the very best results for our clients.

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