RC Willey Home Furnishings Improves Efficiency and CX With EDI Solution
RC Willey Home Furnishings is a Furniture Today Top 100 retailer owned by Berkshire Hathaway and based in Salt Lake City. Offering exceptional selection, value, and service for over 80 years, it currently operates 13 stores and three distribution centers in Utah, Nevada, Idaho, and California. Unlike many home furnishings retailers, RC Willey sells appliances, consumer electronics, and flooring in addition to furniture and mattresses.
In a market space driven by ever-heightening customer expectations, having the right products in place at the right time is essential to success. And with online shopping’s growth since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, rapid fulfillment has become even more important for RC Willey.
“In the COVID market, it’s become a race for product,” says Stuart Peterson, vice president of supply chain with RC Willey Home Furnishings. “The faster you get orders in, the faster you go to the head of the line. Speed in ordering is critically important in today’s market.”
Peterson continues, “On the vendor side, without EDI there could be backlogs in the process of transferring a purchase order from a PDF into the vendor’s business system. Those backlogs might delay an order by a day or two, which could mean it misses that week’s production cycle and now the delay is 10 days.”
Manual processes can’t keep up with today’s demand swings and can result in delays and customer frustration. “[Without EDI] We’d have bottlenecks in our order entry process, and we’d send POs to vendors more slowly," clarifies Peterson. "Those seconds and minutes add up when you’re talking about 10,000 orders."
According to Peterson, ongoing COVID-19 supply chain impacts have led to “backorders like I’ve never seen before.” As a result, customer communications have taken center stage.
A TrueCommerce-ecUtopia customer since moving from a legacy EDI provider in 2016, RC Willey used the full power of the solution to handle the situation. It's now using the platform to exchange EDI 850 POs and EDI 855 PO Acknowledgements with vendors, and is currently implementing EDI 856 Advance Ship Notice (ASN) support.
TrueCommerce technology has been crucial to supporting RC Willey’s ongoing operations.
“TrueCommerce-ecUtopia helps us streamline out fulfillment delays,” emphasizes Peterson. “The more efficiently things flow, the better for our customers. Plus, because we’re bringing product in faster with fewer errors, we can handle more volume and put more business through our system with our existing staff.”
TrueCommerce-ecUtopia’s real-time visibility into the supply chain makes it easier for RC Willey to keep customers appraised of delivery dates, order changes and other important information. This helps ease customer frustrations with delays, which are sometimes unavoidable.
“Automation and accuracy are really important to our order flow,” Peterson states. “One of the key benefits of TrueCommerce-ecUtopia is more consistent and better order tracking, with fewer errors. The ability to see where product is and know when it will arrive at our DCs is critical to our customer experience.”
RC Willey is in the process of extending its TrueCommerce-ecUtopia investment with support for EDI 856 ASNs. The detailed delivery information in ASNs will further improve visibility into inbound shipments, provide physical shipment specifics to aid delivery preparation, and more.
“ASNs will automate our order tracking even more, and also give us more accurate shipment arrival dates,” notes Peterson.
However, ASNs are only one of several digital transformation projects on the table for this home furnishings leader.
“There’s a lot more opportunity for us to leverage TrueCommerce’s technology,” Peterson says. “It's a partner that can take us into the future, with new applications and features that can make us more efficient. I’m grateful for it.”
Another compelling option for RC Willey is TrueCommerce-ecUtopia’s drop-shipping support, which can automate and accelerate sending POs and shipment data to vendors for individual consumer orders placed online.
"Our online business has more than doubled in the current market, and is a key channel for our advertising, promotions and brand awareness,” indicates Peterson. “I confidently recommend TrueCommerce-ecUtopia to people who ask, and it’s nice to see how familiar people already are with it in our industry.”
Ronald B. Sellers is senior vice president, TrueCommerce ecUtopia Division, a platform that enables collaborative trade and supply chain management capabilities between retailers and suppliers of all sizes.
Related story: An EDI Solution Spurs Growth for Cavender’s
Ron Sellers, co-founder and chief revenue officer of TrueCommerce-ecUtopia, is a technology advocate and leader for the home furnishings industry. With more than 25 years of industry-related experience, he offers significant expertise as a committee member of the Home Furnishings Association (HFA) and sits on the Executive Advisory Council for WithIt, a women’s leadership development network for the home and furnishings industries. When Ron is outside of the office, he can be found on his Harley Davidson cruising the streets.