Footwear Distributor Tin Shack Drives Success With Order Management Software

Sarah Leung
April 13, 2015

Tin Shack is the exclusive Canadian distributor of top footwear brands like Glerups and Blundstone, working with over 700 retailers throughout Canada. Kimberly McDermid, Tin Shack’s Communications Manager, recently offered us insight into what led the company to a sales order management solution and how she made the most of their onboarding process.

The Former Life of a Tin Shack Order

Tin Shack’s previous methods of order writing, processing, and fulfillment will probably sound familiar to many wholesale businesses, regardless of size or industry. Order writing was done with a paper order pad, and field sales reps would have to take time after a busy day to enter them into an excel spreadsheet, which was then emailed to the back office. As McDermid herself explained, “I’ve personally been a rep myself, and there’s nothing worse than coming home after a long day on the road and putting in orders. On the back office side, orders would come in via email, fax, and phone calls. Inventory information was never available, and order submission delays were common, resulting in an abundance of backorders. The entire process looked something like this:

  1. Order is written in the field on a paper form.
  2. Order is entered into an excel spreadsheet and emailed to the back office.
  3. Someone in the back office rewrites the order on another order pad and adds it to a designated paper tray.
  4. A stack of paper orders goes out to the warehouse, where orders are picked and packed.
  5. Paperwork comes back to the office, where orders are then invoiced.
  6. If backordered, a separate paper order must be written up, and it goes back out to the warehouse to start the process again.
  7. When finally completed, the order is entered into the ERP system.

With a paper trail miles long and time sunk into order re-entry, McDermid and the Tin Shack team knew that there had to be a better way. They decided to invest in a sales order management solution, and McDermid took the reins with onboarding.

Maximizing the Onboarding Process

A great onboarding experience is designed to help new users not only begin using a new technology as quickly as possible, but also to really understand how it works. It goes back to the “teach a man to fish” parable––only true understanding creates a lasting impact. At Handshake, we’ve found that a combination of brief video tutorials, knowledge base articles, and one-on-one guidance with a customer success specialist is the most effective mix to help new users onboard Handshake as quickly and painlessly as possible. The goals of video tutorials and knowledge base articles are:

  • To help new customers understand how the technology works inside-out.
  • To maximize time spent with Customer Success Specialist and serve as a lead-in for smarter, more value-add questions and conversations.

At Tin Shack, McDermid wanted to help the company get past their paper trail days sooner rather than later, and quickly saw the benefits of this mix between detailed tutorials and more in-depth conversations with their Customer Success Specialist, Stephanie. “Stephanie guided me through the entire process. I like to see what the big picture looks like––to understand how everything really works. I need to know how to answer my internal team’s questions, and the video tutorials were so easily laid out. Going through it step by step made the whole process a lot easier,” says McDermid.

Looking Forward to Life with Sales Order Management Software

Nowadays, McDermid is one her way to becoming a Handshake pro, and Tin Shack is looking forward to operating more smoothly than ever. Updated inventory data will be available to sales reps on the road, and orders will be written on iPads, rather than paper order forms. Those digital orders will automatically sync with their back office system, drastically cutting down visit to order time. By cutting out data entry and possible errors in the transfer of information, the company will become more proactive with their customer service teams and be able to concentrate on more revenue-driving tasks. For McDermid, “It’s about peace of mind...knowing that you can accomplish more than all those tedious little tasks you had to rush through to get things done.” Do you have questions about Tin Shack’s experience with onboarding sales order management software, or your own experiences to share? Let us know in the comments below!