Case: Online Plastics Group

Online Plastics Group

Using WooCommerce to direct manufacturing processes?

We’ve been in continuous collaboration with Online Plastic Groups since 2017. Over the past two years, we have deployed over 200 updates. Many of those aimed to streamline processes. We have, among others, automated the process from inquiry to order. Also, we have arranged that WooCommerce now, directs some of the cutting machines. And we’re quite proud of that!

The Project

Online Plastics Group specializes in marketing custom cut acrylic sheets within Europe. They manage WooCommerce webshops in six countries and closely cooperate with three acrylics wholesalers. Their customer base consists of businesses, schools and private citizens. And we have been working with them continuously since 2017. 

Fast delivery is one of their top value propositions. Therefore, most of our optimizations aim to cut back manual labor. Ever since we teamed up, we have deployed over 200 optimization releases in the code. Too many improvements to describe one by one. Therefore, we’ll focus on the two optimizations that have been most impactful.

Online Plastics Group shipping costs

The goals

Quote to order

The Online Plastics Group management team was looking to automate the process from requesting a quote to placing an order as much as possible.

Before we deployed this optimization, customer service representatives had to manually create a quote for clients who were eligible for volume discounts. To create such a quote, they had to request estimations from several wholesalers first, and calculate margins next, and then send out the quote. And when a client returned a (digitally) signed quote, customer service had to manually enter all products again to create an order. This whole process took 2-3 days on average. Ample room for improvement.

From order to shipment

There was lots of room for improvement in the process from order to shipment as well. Many tasks were carried out manually. For instance:

  • loading orders from the various webshops;
  • sorting orders into product groups to enable cutting machine operators to work as efficiently as possible;
  • collecting orders and preparing them to be shipped.

Our client wondered if it was possible to save time by printing the orders and then using a barcode to load them into a production system. Great question!

Online Plastics Group shopping cart

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The approach

From inquiry to order

To automate the quote process, our client needed agreements with wholesalers on fixed volume discounts. In the meanwhile, we designed a more efficient workflow.

From order to shipment

Because we tie up systems all the time here at Level Level, we wondered if there would be a way to skip the printing and scanning. No better way to come up with ways how to make that happen, than by watching the process in real life. So, after a visit to the factory, as well as several in-depth conversations, we were able to draft up the solution we had in mind.

“You immediately get what we’re looking for, contribute ideas actively, and make sure we’re not skipping important steps in the process. It’s smooth sailing.” 

Max Bisseling
Online Plastics Group

The solution

From inquiry to order

We have optimized the quotation process by tying it into the webshop, with a twist. When customer service representatives are logged into WooCommerce with the right credentials, they now can not only add products to a shopping cart, but also to a quote. Moreover, for larger orders, tiered volume discounts are automatically applied. Customer service reps can e-mail the quote straight from the software. And after confirmation and payment, this quote is automatically turned into an order.

From order to shipment

To make this optimization happen, we have developed an advanced custom connection that works like a tablet app.

A few weeks ago, every cutting machine has gotten a designated tablet with this app running on it. Every morning, orders from all webshops are imported into one of the tablets. The software then sorts the orders by product group. That way, cutting machine operators know exactly what product to cut next.

Moreover, a designated printer automatically creates a sticker so that it’s easy to know what product it is and what order it belongs to. As soon as a product is ready for shipment, the distribution department gets an alert. Based on the size and the weight of the order, a courier is selected and notified. Lastly, every step on the tabled-app gets synchronized to WooCommerce. That way, the Online Plastics Group team can monitor the process in real-time.

The result

From inquiry to order

A quote can be in production in a matter of minutes as opposed to in a matter of days now. It made the customer service team happy. Creating a quote has become a lot more effortless and more fun. There’s no more double work and no more manual calculations.

From order to shipment

There’s been a huge reduction in manual labor. As a result of this optimization, average production in the factories has increased with a whopping 50%.

Online Plastics Group mobile

Integrating the quote system into WooCommerce allows us to work more efficiently and to serve our clients even better and faster.”

Max Bisseling
Online Plastics Group

Continuous development

We have an ongoing collaboration with Online Plastics Group. As a result of our close cooperation, we continuously add ideas for optimizations to the backlog. At the start of each sprint, we jointly review the backlog, and pick the items we’ll work on. 

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