The Loft Workshop

Integration

The Loft Workshop is a paraglider service and repair centre. Mike and Claire have been repairing and servicing paragliders since 1989 and have built a loyal following. The loft is the most experienced and highly rated centre in the UK. A paraglider pilot myself I was excited to take this project on.

I was initially approached at the beginning of 2021 to update the original website and to fix email issues. The website was a number of years old and while it functioned some elements weren’t working as they should. The loft was not receiving booking forms all the time, this is how a large proportion of their business came in. We agreed on a price and I set about fixing the emails and updating the site. It was during this time I saw a way of improving the workflow and reducing admin time. COVID had struck and paragliders were grounded. It was the perfect time to get our wings serviced. The Loft was overrun with orders and suddenly had a long wait time for services.

The workflow looked something like this:

  • A customer would go online and book a service by filling in a booking form.
  • The booking form would be sent by email to The Loft admin.
  • Admin would have to contact the customer to inform them of the wait and arrage a time for collection or drop off.
  • Admin would then create a job sheet
  • Admin would go to the UPS website and create a shipment and collection
  • Shipping labels then have to be sent to the customer.
  • The item would arrive for service
  • The service or repair would happen
  • If there was additional cost , the customer would need to be contacted to approve before work could continue.
  • An account and invoice would be created in the accounting system
  • The invoice would be emailed to the customer.
  • Payment was made either over the phone or bank transfer.
  • The a new shipment would need to be created on the UPS website to return the goods to the customer.

This was required to be done three or four times a day every day. Very labour intensive.

Solution

So I built a new site and integrated it with UPS and their accounting software. If the customer requires a UPS collection, one click in the admin dashboard and the shipping labels are created and sent automatically and a pick up scheduled for the same or next working day. An account is created on the website for the customer where they can keep track of the progress, make payments, view invoices and service reports. Need the same service the following year reorder with one click. The loft can send a quote for approval, the customer can approve from their account by clicking the approve button. I developed a workflow and a series of automated emails firing out each step of the way so that the customer is informed of the progress, these extra emails can be opted out of also.

The result was a reduction of one and a half to two hours of admin each day. Not bad!

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