About Sphinx Industrial Supplies
Sphinx Industrial Supplies is a family-run welding supplies business that began with just their founder, a welding engineer who repaired machines for clients. In 2005 Sphinx Industrial began out of the need for clients wanting consumables as well as welding machine services. They started with 3 people and have grown organically, increasing their staff to 11 and product range to over 12,000 items.
Their Finance Director explains how “most people don’t know the extent of our supply range. We go out of our way to source products especially for our customers, we have even sold coffee and sugar to a customer before because they didn’t want to buy from anyone else!”
Partnered with OGL since: 2015
Company Location: Coventry
Company Website: www.sphinxindustrial.co.uk
Sphinx grow their business by digitally transforming their operations with OGL Software
Sphinx partnered with OGL in 2015 having realised they needed to remove the manual processes that were holding them back in order to reach their full potential. With big plans to extend their trade counter, showroom, services, and website, they needed a software solution that centralised and digitalised their processes to manage their multiple sales channels and become more efficient and effective.
Prior to OGL Software, Sphinx used QuickBooks which “was terrible”. The Finance Director explained to us that “there was just no stock management in QuickBooks so our stock was all over the place because we couldn’t keep track of what was coming in and going out.
“As the company grew bigger and the number of customers and product lines increased, it just became a headache. It felt like you were working for the system, not the other way around.”
Removing manual processes to improve customer service
The manual processes involved in managing their stock and taking orders meant the staff couldn’t focus on growing the business and instead spent hours doing admin; “all our back orders were done manually, we all had to remember what customers had ordered and when they needed it and as we got busier and busier, that became a big challenge.
“We have a trade counter too which had an A4 folder where we recorded customer orders. I’d then have to sit for two weeks just pricing all the handwritten notes and invoicing. I wouldn’t do any of my sales or finance role because the paperwork was huge. You couldn’t view customer pricing on QuickBooks so you’d have to look through customer paperwork, it was just impossible to keep on top of.”
“OGL Software has helped to streamline everything. We wanted to expand without employing more people and the system helps massively to manage all our sales channels.”
In order to improve their customer service, Sphinx needed a system that could provide accurate stock data and give the team full control of their operations. “I always wanted a system that showed real-time stock. The phone is always going and the first thing the customer wants to know is if something is in stock. We couldn’t give the answer and would need to manually check and call them back, which I felt was just unprofessional. That was the main driver for the new system as well as having a website that would integrate with the system.
“OGL Software has helped to streamline everything. We wanted to expand without employing more people and the system helps massively to manage all our sales channels because we can easily see and control all our stock in one place.
“It’s the little things [that the system does] that work for us that we don’t even think of now, like printing an order confirmation or picking list, that the previous system just couldn’t do. We use the system in everything we do, especially order processing, purchasing, eCommerce, warehouse management and pricing structures.”
Taking control of their warehouse with WMS
A few years after OGL Software was installed Sphinx decided it was time to invest in the OGL Software WMS (Warehouse Management System) to better manage their warehouse space and also make hiring staff an easier task. “The thing with the welding industry is it’s hard for just anyone to pick stock from just a description on a picking list. When you’re picking items like MB15 0.8 tip, it would take years of training to know what that item looked like. Picking had become a serious job and we were looking to hire someone to work in the warehouse, but they didn’t stand a chance without the WMS system.
“The project was huge but definitely worth it. We now have a good process for when stock comes in and you can even tweak the system to make it work like a dream for us.
“One of the biggest compliments we get is ‘that was so quick’ when receiving orders. If a local business wants an item that’s in stock we can pick it and get it on the van in the hour.”
Increasing sales and surviving a global crisis with an eCommerce website
Needing an integrated eCommerce system was a key driver for choosing OGL Software and thankfully the website helped Sphinx to ride out the 2020 global pandemic, increase sales revenue and promote their brand.
“The website has saved us… online sales revenue increased by 300% during that period, it’s been manic.”
“We had a website before for four years and we never had an order. That speaks for itself. We are now getting 8 – 15 orders a day on our new website and it’s only been live a year. We also get a lot of calls from prospects looking at the website, so we need to take that into account when looking at its value, it’s a great promotional tool.”
When looking at the first lockdown period during the pandemic, Sphinx explained, “I think we still would have been here, but we would have struggled. The website has saved us. It was just processing orders because people could see what we sold and the stock we had. The website kept us ticking over the whole time. Sales revenue increased by 300% during that period, it’s been manic.
“The fact that you can see all information in one place [in OGL Software] with the website integration means it’s easy to add items and everything is so visible, that’s what I love about it. You don’t have to go into seven screens, it’s all in one and that makes my job ten times easier.”
Advice for companies looking to invest in an ERP system
“I recommend OGL Software to everyone. It has really helped us get our name out there. Only our customers knew us before and having this system has helped to put us on the map and show people what we can do. It has bought in an abundance of custom far and wide, not just in Coventry. It has been really good for us as a company.
“It was a big step for us, but everyone at OGL held my hand through it and both of us together made a good team to make it go seamlessly.
“For anyone looking to invest in a system I would say do your research and keep asking questions. Visit and talk to customers who already use the system you are looking at – OGL provided those details to me. It is the customers who will give you the honest reviews.
“The whole Sphinx team fully embraced the new system and that’s what you need. We did the groundwork and took it all in our stride and that is what helped it take off. Once you’ve made a decision for your supplier, just do it, you’ll be fine.”
“That fact that you can see all information in one place in the website integration means it’s easy to add items and everything is so visible, that’s what I love about it. You don’t have to go into seven screens, it’s all in one and that makes my job ten times easier.”