Discover how this retail SME enables older workers with tailored-technology.
M.G.M Meridian Traders is a retail store in Dunlop Street that has operated for years, competing with similar shops both in the vicinity and virtual. This SME, which hires four staff, faced both cost pressures and challenges of scaling up sales as more consumers move to online shopping.
Mohamed Jafaraly, the proprietor of M.G.M Meridian Traders, said, “We have to be more competitive and cost effective to be profitable. Achieving Return of Investment is not easy just with the retail store alone. As e-commerce is taking up most of the market share, we need to have a strategy to manage the thread from that too.
Large companies are coming in with automated and robotic based warehouse management and delivery system. Hence we need to find our own ways to find the way or turning profitable by automating at least some of the business processes.”
Introducing Technology in a Traditional Work Environment
With three older employees, M.G.M Meridian Traders was mindful that it needed to automate its manual processes that these employees had gotten accustomed to as they had worked with the company for a long period of time. Some of these manual processes included stock receiving, stock check, phone orders, delivery preparation, inventory check, delivery and creating invoices.
M.G.M Meridian Traders hoped to use technology to reduce the time spent in filing of paper documents and communicating in tracking of order, delivery and inventory status.
The new system also needed to integrate between departments and automate invoice entry, which was currently done manually with approvals being communicated personally or by phone, occasionally leading to inaccurate data presentation and delayed data availability.
Lastly, the company wanted to streamline its reports of the daily/weekly/monthly booking orders to make better business decisions.
Jafaraly added, “We needed to have an online ordering system also to improve the sales. We could then operate our distribution cost effectively via the warehouse which is much cheaper than the retail store. Once we had our online ordering system, we would be able to increase the sales and improve the payment collection too.”
Finding the right solution for their needs
To digitalise its processes, the company explored services under an IT solutions vendor and was convinced that the latter’s electronic ordering system via a mobile app or web would be suitable for its business needs. Another deciding factor was the fact that this vendor’s mobile apps solutions had already been rolled out in several other establishments and had proven its effectiveness and efficiency.
With support by NTUC’s Employment and Employability Institute (e2i) through the WorkPro Job Redesign initiative, M.G.M Meridian Traders implemented several digital services to help its older employees. Some modules it invested in for its app were Customer Registration, Product Management, Catalogue Management, Shopping Cart & Checkout, Order Management, Promotions Management with Discounts, and Mobile Apps.
Under the new system, its older employers currently receive the documents electronically, and instead of returning signed documents to office, the signed documents are e-filed upon customer’s acknowledgement. The Automated Data Entry using the new system has saved 60% of the employees’ effort and time.
What other plans are in the works?
“Currently we do not have any e-commerce portals for our clients to place orders either for delivery or events. We are planning to develop an online ordering system on web and mobile to open a new revenue stream for our trade. This will increase the sales as more customers are ordering online these days. We will be integrating the online payment with a delivery company to make sure the products are delivered at the customers’ doorstep at their convenient time.
Tech-savvy customers can place their order using their own smartphones after downloading our app. For those who are not able to use the app, my employees will be trained by the IT vendor to assist these customers,” Jafaraly elaborated.
“While Singapore government advocates Smart Nation 2020 and industry transformation roadmaps, we are doing our part to scale up our capabilities too to be on the same page as the nation’s drive towards a digital economy,” he concluded.
For more information on M.G.M Meridian Traders, call 6635 7072.