SP Group

A leading producer of POS for many high street brands.

Type
Publicly Traded
Industry
Marketing print
Founded
1999

Automated processing project:

UK print supplier leaves Excel headaches in the past

SP Group Group is a leading supplier of print to the UK retail sector, working with many well-known high-street brands. We were asked to investigate the feasibility - and to then deliver - a standardised, technology supported, process for the creation of production files from various forms of client data.

Background

SP Group was having to manually process volumes of disparate data from their clients into a format suitable for their production teams to print, collate, pack and dispatch. Each account team followed a different process to manipulate the data their client was providing - this prevented staff moving between teams.

The heavily manual process was incredibly labor intensive and left SP exposed to errors. For staff, it was particularly frustrating when after spending a day or more manipulating and checking data; the client would make a change and they would need to start over.

Our brief

  • Investigate the feasibility of each team following the same process
  • Build a technical solution that enabled all of the teams to work the same way, including:
    • Start from the client data - no manual processing
    • Validate the data being provided
    • Produce standard reports for the account and production teams to verify the data
    • Produce bespoke reports for the clients
    • Produce standard production files

“We will always tell you upfront if we don't believe something is suitable or cost-effective for your business”

Challenges

  • Disparate client data
    Each of SP Group's clients submitted orders in a different format - the new system needed to be flexible enough to handle all of these and more in the future
  • Accommodate SP’s evolving processes
    SP Group constantly refines its processes to improve efficiencies - we needed to provide a system that could evolve alongside them

Our solution

  • A standard way of working for each team - import the data - check the reports - get sign off - produce the production files
  • A bespoke system which used a plugin architecture to import data in various formats from various clients
  • Standard reports for `sense checking` the results
  • Configurable bespoke reports for clients
  • A web-based application ensured users were always running the latest version and ran any time-consuming processing on a cluster of servers - leaving the users computer free for other work

“Each project has unique challenges to overcome – constructing ‘tailored solutions’ is the only way to guarantee the outcome suits the business”

Outcomes for SP Group

SP Group received a bespoke, automated data processing system that was designed to evolve with them whilst accommodating the needs of their current and future clients.

  • Man-hours returned to the workforce
    Replacing the manual manipulation of data (usually in Excel) with ‘repeatable, automated processes’ saved several hours per order
  • Faster service to clients
    SP were able to respond to their clients in minutes rather than days thanks to the automation
  • Safeguarded reputation (and avoided costly mistakes)
    The automated processing combined with standard and bespoke reports meant that SP were far less likely to make mistakes or get into production with incorrect data - this was the biggest benefit

The flexible configuration of importers and reports meant that SP were able to modify the system to support new clients and changes in their processes and their clients data without external support - however we're always here when they need us.

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