Starlight Bedrooms was taken over by Karen and three other family members in 2018 when its founder retired.
While the business, which has 17 staff, had a good foundation in terms of machinery and a strong reputation in the marketplace, it lacked digitalisation across its operations.
Through Made Smarter’s digital transformation workshop- a fast and fully-funded diagnostic of the business’s product, services, processes and people - Starlight identified key challenges and opportunities, including: establishing data and systems integration, improving its design and ordering process; and optimising part of its production process.
“Our biggest challenge is our outdated, manual and paper-based processes, and a lack of digital connectivity between any of our business operations,” Karen explained. “Nothing talks to each other, processes are unnecessarily onerous, time consuming and inefficient, and expose us to error.”
“For instance our design and ordering process takes anything up to a week, starting with a designer taking measurements manually and talking to a customer about their specific desires for the room, drawing a plan and passing it on to someone else to create a 2D CAD drawing which is then manually priced and posted to the customer.”
Starlight has also identified the manual process of ordering materials from suppliers, often done by fax or telephone, is open to error and lacks traceability. The company also has limited visibility of its stock.
“We made some big changes, making social media central to our marketing strategy and saw some instant success,” Karen said. “But we recognised that to really grow the business we needed to tackle productivity challenges, improve our overall efficiency and reduce waste behind the scenes, while improving our customer experience.”