Retailer improves customer service and automates supply chain processes

Saved time

By eliminating repetitive manual tasks

Greater consistency

Through standardization

Company Background

bol.com is one of the most popular online retailers in the Benelux region. It offers merchandise in categories that include music, film, electronics, toys, jewelry, watches, baby products, gardening and DIY. The store has more than 12 million active customers and sells more than 30 million products. Since 2011, bol.com has opened its online storefront to partner retailers, and more than 30,000 retailers have now sold products using their platform.

Business Challenge

As an expanding business continually seeking to broaden its offerings and increase revenue, bol.com had challenges coordinating processes across its supply chain. The retailer needed to more efficiently handle complex inventory, accommodate a steady influx of new suppliers, and manage downstream logistics and fulfillment. In addition, bol.com wanted to ensure next day delivery, enable customers to track their orders, and create accurate forecasts.

Leon Verhagen, Director IT Operations at bol.com, says “Our numerous streams of new products demanded a complex array of daily activities. For example, our customers rely on the product information on our website. Our more than 30,000 partners all deliver different amounts of product information, such as product availability, pricing and delivery times to us at different intervals, from every 10 minutes to every hour. We have to immediately extract the information we need. If our site isn’t up-to-date, customers may turn to another retailer.”

In addition, tasks such as partner onboarding were being completed manually. Since no reliable standard practices were in place, the company was creating a customized approach for each new partner. These inefficient processes meant that bol.com was unable to quickly scale operations without deploying additional resources and greater costs.

Solution

bol.com turned to Redwood to automatically connect and orchestrate all facets of its supply chain processes end-to-end. Redwood’s modular automation allows bol.com to define automation processes once and reuse them, eliminating needless duplication, ensuring consistency and reducing errors. It’s event-driven architecture acts as the events occur, thus supporting real-time applications and enabling bol.com to make more informed decisions with timely, accurate data.

In this way, Redwood breaks the costly cycle of firefighting and manual intervention across business and IT processes, thereby speeding them up and improving accuracy and reliability.

In addition, bol.com uses Redwood to ensure the right supplier information is extracted and sent in the correct format to the online catalogue; orders are received and checked in line with stock and delivery times; and orders are seamlessly pushed to logistics.

Co Konings, Technical Application Administrator at bol.com adds “With so many applications and dependencies, Redwood has become the key that ties them all together – we don’t have to rely on manual tasks which may result in human errors.”

Results

bol.com has been rapidly increasing its customers, partners and products. Automating key business processes ensures the company now has a standard partner onboarding process and can quickly and accurately process new suppliers and the product data they provide.

Konings says “Automation has become the key that ties our applications and dependencies all together – we don’t have to rely on manual tasks which may result in human errors.” Verhagen adds “Without automation, we would need at least 10 more workers to manage all the different processes in our ecosystem. Today we only occasionally draw on one of our resources to support Redwood activities.”

As a result of its streamlined processes, bol.com ha web store in the Netherlands.

"Redwood allows us to deliver the highest level of customer service, with less effort and fewer resources than if we were working manually. Redwood is the heartbeat of our processes, and it would be a challenge to work without it.” Leon Verhagen, Director of IT Operations, bol.com

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