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JIA HOME + Surefront

Surefront enables industry-leading productivity and unparalleled sales. Tasks that formerly took JIA HOME 2 weeks now take just 30 minutes.

jiahome-HANDYLIVING

Topline Success Metrics

  • 40% shorter product development cycle from an average of 5 weeks per product to 3 weeks.
  • 10x faster quote customization JIA HOME’s sales teams can search and select products from their catalog, build a customized quote, and send it out to their customer within 30 minutes –– 10x faster than using Excel spreadsheets before.
  • 150% increase revenue per employee (RPE) Surefront helped JIA HOME reach $3 million in sales per employee.

How JIA HOME became the most technically advanced wholesaler

Setting the stage

In 2020, a global pandemic was wreaking havoc on the retail industry. Suppliers and retailers faced an unprecedented staffing shortage. Workers began falling ill or staying home with sick family members. So the production/shipping workforce was significantly under-staffed and empty retail shelving became a common phenomenon.

Suppliers suddenly had to learn to operate with fewer staff on hand. Leaner operations often meant increased chaos. Imports and exports were significantly diminished, and buyers were left scrambling to find new manufacturers to produce products. Since suppliers couldn’t meet with buyers in-person, organizations that weren’t optimized for electronic communication faced challenges retaining relationships.

But as the pandemic raged on, demand for home furnishings was higher than ever. The home furnishings industry reached $420 billion in sales in 2020. Although JIA HOME was experiencing unprecedented demand, the team’s buyers were still relying on emails with PDFs and spreadsheets attached to interface with factories. The result of the back-and-forth emails? Lots of data entry, data re-entry, and data loss. It could take weeks to finalize just one PO (purchase order).

“We have seen that while other suppliers were greatly restricted by the lack of in-person meetings and opportunities to collaborate with retailers. Our sales, in fact, doubled.”
Alex-1
Alex Ernenputsch

VP of Sales, JIA HOME

 

The challenge


At the time that JIA HOME implemented Surefront, the company’s operations mirrored the retail industry standard. Finding the necessary information for a single product often took a whole day for one salesperson.

Issues at a glance

  • Buyers were making decisions with pencils and notbooks for $500,000 purchases
  • Extensive back-and-forth between emails and Excel for every single PO
  • Data requirements checklist printed for each buyer's office to ensure they supplied vendors with necessary information
  • Buyers has to print documents for accuracy and signatures for product orders to be legally binding
  • Signed documents were manually scanned into PDFs in order to email them to factories
  • The "Why" of each product was being lost in extensive, siloed communication process with external partners
  • Buyers would send 30+ emails to product development team
  • Three to six weeks, 20-30 different version of Excel documents and 100s of email exchanges just to get one product from the ideation phase to initial purchase order
  • Buyers were spending just 25% of their time actually making purchases and 75% of their time was spent in a purgatory of Excel, email, and print sheets in the process of trying to bring products to life
“Each new product used to take more than a dozen emails and spreadsheets. We’ve eliminated those with Surefront.”
kristine-fernandez
Kristine Fernandez

Creative Director, JIA HOME

JIA HOME had already invested heavily in an enterprise resource planning ERP (SAP) solution. However, the technology that was then available was only designed for internal use between employees. There wasn’t a PLM that enabled team members to interface with customers, factories, and external partners on a centralized platform. 

JIA HOME's complex product details were housed in local storage drives, making them inaccessible when needed. It took 30 minutes to add each new item to the database, so JIA HOME's 3,000+ required a single buyer to spend a quarter of a year on clerical work just to get all of the necessary data online. Buyers were trapped at their desks, mired by endless clerical processes of data entry.

Does it sound like this would result in lost data, vendor relationships, and sales opportunities? It did. Although JIA HOME was entering 2019 with impressive sales, the team didn’t have the right collaboration tools to process the necessary level of data. Legacy project management platforms such as Microsoft Project and Asana lacked retail-specific planning tools.

JIA HOME needed an all-in-one product lifecycle management tool. Surefront is the only product lifecycle management tool that was invented by a retailer to meet the industry's complex collaboration needs, both internally and with external factory partners. But collaboration wasn’t the only advantage. Surefront also offered purchase order (PO) management, product information management, smart catalog functions, requests for quotes (RFQs), merchandising software, and a highly visual interface where retail buyers could engage with quotations and sales orders.

 

The solution

 JIA home onboarded Surefront in June of 2019. Within less than 8 weeks, Surefront’s PLM was fully online, streamlining JIA HOME’s communications between their product development, sales, and retail teams.

 
“I increased our speed to market by over 50% using Surefront for our product development and sales cycles. It has been an absolute game changer.”
Melissa-Flippen
Melissa Flippen

Account Manager, JIA HOME

Since implementing Surefront, JIA HOME no longer has to grapple with the collaboration issues that plague the rest of the retail industry. Products are brought to market faster, more efficiently, and with fewer bottlenecks along the way. 

The product development team at JIA HOME has to collaborate with dozens of factories to develop hundreds of new products each month. Emails and spreadsheets lacked the efficiency necessary for a growing home furnishings business. But Surefront’s customizable quote forms and made it easy for JIA HOME’s cross-functional teams to construct and organize product collections. JIA HOME’s product developers can now easily create hundreds of new products within just a week –– that’s 10 times faster than the month that it took before they implemented Surefront!

Surefront’s built-in chat function replaces outdated email threads to help suppliers quickly tie conversations to products, quotes, or orders. All of JIA HOME’s product and pricing data is now in one easy-to-access system with robust in-app product visuals. Anyone can click on a product, quote, or order to see all of the relevant images and conversations about that item. Communicating on one visually robust, centralized system has helped reduce touchpoints and rework at JIA HOME. It’s reduced the time it takes to bring each new product to market from five to three weeks.

The result? Industry leading productivity and unparalleled sales. More products are being developed and brought to market, so the sales team has opportunities to reach new customers in new categories. Surefront’s custom exports and integrations can send data to other systems with ease. Before Surefront, organizing collections and linesheets took JIA HOME 2 weeks. It now takes 30 minutes. Since implementing Surefront, revenue per team member at JIA HOME increased by a whopping 150%, or $3 million in sales per employee.

 

Surefront PLM + JIA HOME

Success Metrics

  • 45% less time spent - Reduced the overall time of input needed for product lifecycle by an average of 40%-50%.
  • 40% faster product development - Decreased the length of product development cycle by 40%, from an average of 5 weeks per product to 3 weeks.
  • 400x faster SKU setup - Setting up products in systems used to take 3-5 days per product. With Surefront, it takes five minutes.
  • 10x faster quote customization - JIA HOME’s sales teams can search and select products from their catalog, build a customized quote, and send it out to their customer within 30 minutes –– 10x faster than using Excel spreadsheets before.
  • 50% increase in employee satisfaction - Remote product development, sourcing, and sales teams reported a 50% increase in their levels of job satisfaction.
  • 150% increase in revenue per employee (RPE) - Revenue per team member increased by 150%, to $3 million in sales per employee.

Implementing Surefront on the front end of the pandemic gave JIA HOME a competitive advantage when responding to the industry-wide worker shortage. JIA HOME was able to reduce the manual input, time required, and data artifacts involved in multiple business processes, including: new product ideation, producing, RFQs, sampling, and selling.

 JIA HOME’s product development, sourcing, and sales teams were able to reduce their headcount by 50%. The company reduced the number of employees from fifteen to nine. JIA HOME’s product development and operations teams used to require six to seven people to do $12M in business. They now have just four people creating $30M worth of product.

We aren’t talking about cutting down on human interaction. Quite the contrary. By streamlining all business communications onto one centralized platform, Surefront enables an increase in inventory volume and decision-making. JIA HOME’s team is able to utilize their brain power where it's most needed, for use in trend sourcing, relationship building, and strategic sourcing decisions.

Surefront reduced turnaround time, helping the JIA HOME team take 342 individual SKUs from concept to offer on a total of seven different programs in just ten days. What could adopting a centralized PLM system built for and by the retail industry do for your business? 

Surefront’s PLM can increase your speed to market on retail goods by 70% or more. If your business is ready for faster speed to market and up to 150% more revenue per team member, contact our knowledgeable sales specialists to learn more about what Surefront can do for you!

About JIA HOME

JIA HOME is at the forefront of design as an industry-leading supplier of home décor. The company was founded in 2001 in Pasadena, California with the goal of creating the strongest assortment of products across multiple categories, including furniture, storage & organization, and decorative accessories. JIA HOME partners with some of the world's top retailers –– such as Ross Stores, T.J. Maxx, Walmart, and Dollar General –– delivering high-quality and trend-conscious products to millions of homes across North America and Europe.

Visit the JIA HOME to discover more

 

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