We could never have achieved this level of business without QuickBase. It has become an irreplaceable resource thats core to our entire business.
Peggy Harris, President
Demand for printed circuit boards is at an all-time high, yet many American companies lack the manpower and expertise to source, negotiate, and manage relationships directly with the Chinese manufacturing companies that supply them. Thats where RedBoard Circuits comes in. The Phoenix, AZ company has built a highly-customized process to manage the importing of circuit boards from quote to delivery, offering its clients a turnkey and transparent experience. Supporting that unique process is a unique technology system built on the QuickBase platform. By replacing manual procedures with online automation, RedBoard streamlined operations, reduced errors, and maximized productivity all of which helped the company generate $8 million in sales with a staff of only four employees.
RedBoard Circuits is an importer of printed circuit boards (PCBs) to OEMs and contract manufacturers in the United States. It's a rapidly growing business that juggles offshore manufacturing partners and complex customer requirements to produce high-quality yet competitively priced PCBs for gaming, medical, and technology applications.
The company provides its customers with a wide range of PCB technology and can deliver PCBs within 48 hours. But with its small staff of four full-time employees processing more than 100 orders per month, automation became a mission-critical initiative.
Among the challenges, RedBoard needed to improve the accuracy of the quotes it was receiving from offshore manufacturing partners and manual data entry of specifications and a heavy reliance on email was leading to slowdowns and errors.
"Most of our job was getting quotes out and processing orders. Yet we would email files out to three different manufacturers and get three different quotes back and some were incorrect," says Peggy Harris, president of RedBoard.
The company invested in the development of a customized app to process quotes, but the new system wasn't fully automated and manufacturing partners outside of the United States couldn't access it.
To drive greater efficiency, Harris looked for a technology solution that could streamline its processes and workflows. RedBoard ultimately selected QuickBase and hired VeilSun, Inc., a QuickBase Solution Provider, to build a complete system that would automate and centralize quote and order management between U.S. staff and offshore manufacturers.
"We looked at the big picture and built a plan from there using our BluePrint process. Within a few weeks they had an entire front-to-back system that is built to scale for the future," says Rich Crum, Managing Partner, VeilSun, Inc.
Instead of separate systems to manage different workflows, the QuickBase order tracking app traces everything related to customer orders, from initial specifications to quotes from manufacturers and through to delivery of the final order including shipping costs.
To reduce errors caused by emailing order specifications to factories, RedBoard's staff enters the specifications into QuickBase, where they can be accessed by manufacturers who then upload their quotes directly into the system. Everything that is needed to quote and manufacture PCBs is centralized within the app, including Gerber files and part numbers.
Customers are kept up to date in real time via order confirmations that are triggered upon order receipt, and automated reports are sent out weekly with order details and status. If errors are seen, corrections are made before production begins. When orders ship from the factory, customer notifications are generated that also alert RedBoard staff to invoice the order.
"There are many different variables in circuit board manufacturing, and if we let even one piece of order information slip, then we're not going to keep that customer for very long," says Harris, on the critical importance of accuracy and responsiveness to her business.
Dashboards provide customized data views based on roles, so staff and manufacturers can access the information that they need, while sensitive customer and financial information is protected from unauthorized view.
With the entire order history tracked within QuickBase, reports can be generated to see profit margins calculated by job and sales personnel can log in to their dashboards to pull reports on their commissions based on sales.
Since launching their QuickBase online order tracking app, employees at RedBoard spend less time dealing with errors and delays and more time enjoying process optimization that helped them generate $8 million in sales in 2014 without having to increase staff.
Email communication that was time-consuming and inefficient has been replaced by QuickBase automation that keeps offshore manufacturers and customers up to date in real time on order details and status.
Bandwidth has been optimized, thanks to the process automation and centralized information access provided by QuickBase that has eliminated much of the manual work that consumed staff time and resources.
Errors in quotes from factories have been reduced now that specifications are centrally shared and easily accessed between U.S. and offshore collaborators.
Less time is spent on administrative tasks because stakeholders can track orders online in less time using fewer resources, and sales personnel can run their own commission reports without having to request the information.
And profitability of jobs that was previously unknown is now clear to see because QuickBase reports give insight into job cost versus revenue received.
"With only four people on staff, we could never have achieved this level of business without QuickBase," says Harris. "It has become an irreplaceable resource that's core to our entire business."
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