How an Artisanal Boutique Company Stays Ahead of their Competition - Business Insight - Canon Singapore


    How an Artisanal Boutique Company Stays Ahead of their Competition

    We live in a world where the future is digital. Technology is advancing at an exponential rate, and more companies are embracing automation to help streamline their business processes. How can SMEs move away from backward business operations and keep up with the times to stay competitive?

    Speaking on MoneyFM 89.3’s segment “Business Forward with Canon”, Mr. Ryan Huber, Managing Director of Huber Butchery, shares how Canon’s solutions have helped propel his business into the twenty-first century. Listen to the podcast here.

    Like every other SME, Huber’s Butchery was in a comfortable place – a humble second-generation operated store with trustworthy staff members, serving unique artisanal cuts to a clientele that ranged from home cooks and hotels to restaurants.

    But Managing Director and owner, Ryan Huber, knew that staying in their comfort zone wasn’t enough. With prescience and foresight, he wanted to make sure that his company stayed relevant in today’s competitive business landscape through means of automation and digitisation. And achieve that he did, with the help of Canon’s business solutions in 2016.

    Evidently, there were concerns to consider, particularly for a boutique company such as theirs: would automation dilute the uniqueness of their artisanal business?

    Digitising Documents

    Thankfully, Ryan found a way to bring his company up to date while still ensuring that the brand stayed true to its tradition and craft. A keen evaluation of his business processes made him realise that it wasn’t his product that needed revisions, it was another key part of his company that directly needed an upgrade – their accounting paperwork.

    For Huber’s Butchery, it can sometimes be hard to keep papers organised, especially with more than a hundred orders per day. That’s more than hundred invoices, purchase orders, delivery orders and debit notes, all containing key information to ensure that customers’ orders are delivered and invoices get paid. Before adopting Canon’s document handling system, Huber’s staff had to manually file these documents in order and rifle through the stacks of boxes to retrieve papers when required. Ryan concedes that this proved to be a time-consuming back-end process that took up a lot of man-hours.

    With Canon’s help, document storing, sharing and retrieval is now a breeze. Printed documents now bear a 2D barcode, allowing their paper files to be digitally organised by just scanning this barcode. Document retrieval is also much easier with keyword searches and clients can easily receive their invoices through email. Gone are the days of sifting through boxes and folders – the document handling process is now much more efficient, with significantly fewer paper cuts as well.

    Reaping the Benefits of Automation

    For Huber’s Butchery, the tangible benefits of automation were obvious. With Canon’s document handling solution, the artisanal butchery saves about $10,000 a year on stationery, including papers and toner ink.

    Monetary benefits aside, Ryan also highlights the non-tangible perks that digitisation has rewarded them with, a key advantage being the amount of time saved for the company. For one, Canon’s fast printers have helped cut their printing time by about 90%. The printer’s eco-stapling function not only makes manual stapling redundant but also contributes to their corporate social responsibility efforts.

    But beyond these ostensible advantages, Ryan also notes that Canon’s document handling solutions have helped save precious time for both back-end and front-end staff. In fact, he speculates that digitisation has helped the company save half a day of man-hours for both groups – an impressive feat for a boutique butchery. Now, their accounts department has more time to focus on more important tasks, such as ensuring that clients make payments on time. Invoice requests can now be responded to quickly and conveniently and the butchery’s clients are now more punctual with their payments; the number of late payments has fallen from about 20% to 10%.

    These benefits extend to their sales department too. Prior to digitising with Canon, Huber’s salespeople also had to contribute certain man-hours to do menial administrative work, making sure that their customer’s orders are processed and delivered correctly. Now, with digitised documents, their sales coordinators have more time to provide value-added services, such as spending more time talking to their customers. This proved especially constructive for customers who were initially unsure of what they want – by spending more time understanding their needs, customers are more likely to be satisfied with their orders. With that, Ryan estimates that the number of returns has reduced from more than 100 to about 10 per month since automating.

    Overcoming the Fear of Change

    One main concern that many SMEs have when considering automation is the inevitable employee backlash. For Huber’s Butchery, many employees were comfortable with the old system and had expressed doubts about adopting new methods. This resistance, however, was well-managed by Canon’s service team, says Ryan.

    To reassure them that digitising was for the better, the Canon service team gathered Huber’s employees for a training session. Contrasting the old and new processes, they identified the specific changes that were to be made and walked the employees through the process meticulously. Not only were Huber’s employees more receptive to these new methods, the conscientiousness of the Canon service team helped these employees gain confidence in and embrace automation in their daily processes.

    Advice for SMEs Looking to Automate Processes

    Digitisation and automation was a no-brainer for the company; in hindsight, Huber’s Butchery would likely have suffered in the long run if they stuck to their old ways, professes Ryan.

    For companies thinking of automating, Ryan has three key takeaways:

    1. It is key for top management to pave the way towards digitisation. Leaders of the company have to be open to change and be prepared to lead their employees towards this change together as a company.
    2. Working with a good partner makes all the difference when automating. Canon’s provision of top quality equipment and thorough training made the transition for Huber’s Butchery much easier.
    3. Finally, companies have to be prepared to weather a period of pain and hardship in the initial stages of automation. However, with perseverance and a good business partner, this period of hardship will soon pass and your company will reap the benefits of digitisation in due time.

    ​​​​​​​Huber’s Butchery is clearly a success story for SMEs looking to automate their business processes. With Ryan’s words of advice, small companies too can embrace digitisation and reap its many benefits. Contact our Canon professionals here to find out how our solutions can make your business more efficient and productive.

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