Steve Bales
Stephen Bales

Member Article

Tradebox UK Ltd shares a client’s challenge to manage growth through online retailing

Cell Pack Solutions designs and manufactures custom-made cell packs and industrial batteries for commercial customers, while its consumer division supplies batteries by mail order for everyday applications.

Managing Director Eddie Czestochowski set up Cell Pack Solutions as a one-man business in 1998. It was a brave move that has paid dividends. The South Shields business, now a limited company, has continued to grow in size and scope and today employs 20 people.

The internet has been a huge boon to Cell Pack Solutions. Within a few short years, the ecommerce website at www.cellpacksolutions.com was accepting orders for downloading to the company’s Sage 50 Accounts system.

With this channel visibly bringing in the business, Eddie Czestochowski
sought to extend the ecommerce model to third-party platforms in
order to reach a wider market. He describes the enviable problem this
created: “At first, it was simple to take the few orders coming in via eBay and manually enter them into Sage 50 Accounts. But our offering clearly hit a need and we were soon up to fifty orders a day, which was unmanageable.”

Eddie goes on to explain, “I constantly warn prospective online retailers that it’s not enough to generate demand; you have to satisfy it, too. Otherwise, you end up with disgruntled customers and poor feedback on the online marketplace.

In our case, we soon recognised that we were struggling to cope
with the high administration levels required. We wanted to replicate the
automation and integration inherent in our own in-house website and thought there must be a solution out there.“

As luck would have it, Tradebox Finance Manager was in
development, just across the Tyne in North Shields. The solution downloads orders from ecommerce platforms and creates all of the financial entries required in Sage 50

Not only are orders acknowledged and billed efficiently, the solution ensures that management information, on sales and stock for example, flows into Sage 50 Accounts, to create a rounded picture of all transactions.

In 2006, Cell Pack Solutions became one of the first Tradebox customers. Eddie looks back to the smooth implementation, commenting, “It was all done online and was a very simple process.” Since then, Tradebox Finance
Manager has become an essential component of the company’s IT infrastructure. “It’s fortunate that it’s so reliable, as we’ve become very
dependent on it,” says Eddie.

There is also the reassurance of Stephen Bales and Phil Brookes established Tradebox in 2003 to help businesses maximise the opportunities being created by ecommerce. They identified the many challenges facing retailers taking their business online: integrating online sales into their back office accounts system, identifying what has been sold, getting the item
efficiently picked, packed and shipped, and maintaining control of stock purchasing and management.

“The number of ecommerce-related invoices has more than doubled in a single year from 24,000 to 56,000. There is no way we could manage this escalating demand without Tradebox Finance Manager.”

Knowing that the Tradebox team is only a call away: “The support from Tradebox has proved to be second to none. If we ever want to try something new, they provide an invaluable safety net. They also regularly canvass our views to ensure the solution stays aligned with real users’ everyday needs.”

Eddie cites the example of Tradebox devising a work-around to import data when Amazon proved less amenable to integration than eBay. The benefits
Cell Pack Solutions has experienced measurable benefits from deploying
Tradebox Finance Manager. The solution downloads orders into Sage 50 Accounts automatically every hour.

Time previously spent on administration is eliminated and the
accuracy of the data has increased. But most significant to Eddie is the
sheer volume of business that can now be handled: “Over the course
of a good weekend, we may receive about 500 orders via the various web platforms and the number of ecommerce-related invoices has more than doubled in a single year from 24,000 to 56,000. There is no way we could manage this escalating demand without Tradebox Finance Manager. It has enabled us to streamline our post-sales activity and has saved us hundreds of hours of work. Without it, we’d have to employ a team of four people purely
for data entry.”

Recognition for the company’s achievements has also been a welcome side effect, as Eddie notes, “We’ve recently won three major honours at the South Tyneside Enterprise Partnership Awards and being able to handle higher volumes of sales through our Tradebox solution has certainly been a
contributing factor.”

Interestingly, although the third- party ecommerce platforms chiefly target the consumer market, which accounts for 25% of the firm’s business, they also attract industrial customers and, therefore, help fuel the growth of both divisions. Eddie is enthusiastic, too, about the benefits of the Sage Developers Programme: “Buying from an accredited Sage Developer gave
us confidence in the quality and longevity of the solution. In the first instance, the Developer to whom we were entrusting our business had the Sage seal of approval. Then, over, time, as Sage evolves the core software, Tradebox knows what’s coming down the line and can keep their solution in sync.”

This was posted in Bdaily's Members' News section by Stephen Bales .

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