In a competitive market Riva Paoletti have got their mantra right - look after your customers, or someone else will. The Leeds-based firm have been supplying household linens to major retail chains, mail order groups and independent retailers across the globe for more than 30 years and have seen the business go from strength to strength, but their priority remains the same - the customer always comes first.
From relatively humble beginnings selling curtains to market traders in 1973, the company has grown beyond all expectations and now occupies 54,000 square feet in Seacroft,Leeds.
Riva Paoletti is proud of its heritage and of having survived huge changes within the industry. They regularly show at the Design Interiors exhibition, held every January at the NEC in Birmingham and credit such shows with them move into different markets and maintain their stronghold in a very competitive sector.
The Riva Paoletti range includes duvet sets, rugs, cushion covers and pads, tea towels and curtains. Aside from cushions, which are finished on the premises, all stock is bought in pre-packed and bar-coded from Asia, Europe and the Middle and Far East.
Riva Paoletti implemented Reflex Data Systems' textile-specific Mertex system in 2002. Among its many functions, the system allows the company to closely monitor their stock of cushions, of which there are many colour and size variations. During the complex filling process Mertex can locate the components in the warehouse and more importantly, show where stock is low.
Riva Paoletti use Mertex for stock management and have been impressed. It has increased the speed at which orders can be turned around and places valuable information at the fingertips of the staff - essential elements of good customer service.
The Mertex system also gives the purchasing department accurate data on where stock is located and which products are running low. Mertex can also scan cartons onto the delivery vehicles. Guidance is given on where stock should be located to ensure efficient use of space and optimal stock accessibility. There are 1,000 locations and approximately £2million of stock at any one time in the Riva Paoletti warehouse so the team now let the system tell them where to pick from. Over time Mertex will group similar stock together in one area, making picking much more straightforward. It can also devise a 'picking route' with the use of hand held scanners to guide the warehouse staff to the next item to be picked, always using the shortest route to the next location to ensure maximum speed and efficiency. Director Guy Beswick said: 'I was looking for a system that would help us increase operational efficiency, manage stock better, and further develop our high standards of customer service. 'We've been using the system for some time now and have been very impressed by it's ease of use and the vast array of functions - we feel the system helps us run a more efficient business, which in the end, benefits our customers.'
More recently, Riva Paoletti have spent time in discussion with Reflex over the options for electronic communication with customers, to minimise the administrative task of manually entering customers' orders onto the system. Guy Beswick believes that there will be benefits for both the customers and the company in adopting automated ways of communicating such as this.
Looking ahead, the team at Riva Paoletti are focused on maintaining their high standards of customer service and their reputation for premium quality products at affordable prices to take the business from strength to strength.
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