Modernizing a Classically Successful Business At Bitwise Industries, we keep our friends close, and our clients even closer. In today’s client spotlight, we’ll be showcasing Z Blinds, a successful retail business that came to Bitwise to modernize their existing internal digital tools to optimize the operations for their B2B/B2C business and streamline their workflows. Who is Z Blinds? Founded by Levon Zekian in 1992, Z Blinds works with customers to curate window-covering solutions based on budget–all while a design consultant meets at your home to provide suggestions, review your options, show examples, and provide an estimate. Located in the heart of Downtown Fresno, Z Blinds serves the entire Central Valley, with over 30 years’ worth of happy customers and a healthy staff. When Zekian noticed they were falling short in the behind-the-scenes technology that covered the proposal and invoice systems they used daily, they wanted to reach out to a local tech company for an updated solution: this is where Bitwise Industries came in. The Problem Since its humble beginnings in Zekian’s parents’ garage, Z Blinds was always using business platforms that were behind the curve in delivering accurate and timely data. Though Zekian was working with local university students through a grant and out-of-the country resources, neither were able to deliver the exact solution needed to keep the company running smoothly. Despite outselling competitors by 20-30 percent, Zekian was stuck with a system that required all of the salespeople on his team to “sync” their computers at the main office every day, giving them an accurate view of the current inventory and the correct price–and data was never updated in real time. Sales team members would have to call the office in front of clients to confirm that items were in stock and to clear the current price. All of this, combined with accounting and inventory departments being siloed, requiring staff to physically look up all accounting issues and visually confirm product availability in the warehouse, caused Zekian to recognize the amount of valuable staff time that was lost each day due to these technological gaps. The systems installed were using 13-year-old .Net code that was out of compliance, and in many ways, flat out broken. To make matters worse, the platform was not as user-friendly or as robust as necessary to help optimize existing operations. The Solution Z Blinds needed a local partner that knew how to upgrade their fundamental infrastructure with a custom software solution to accomplish the specific goals the business required, and Bitwise had the answer. The process started with augmenting Z Blinds staff with one of our own, allowing for a “boots on the ground” attitude towards phasing out insufficient aspects of their existing system, while being aware enough of Z Blinds culture to ensure a solution that truly fit their needs. Once our onsite developer had the pulse of day-to-day operations and standard business practices, he got to work integrating a custom-developed program to fix existing bugs and bring Z Blinds into the future. Once that process began, the next step was the modernization aspect of the project. Our developer went through Z Blinds’s existing source code to remove unnecessary elements before implementing the upgrade that allowed all avenues of their business to communicate seamlessly. After their application was modernized and their code was updated, it featured integrations to their accounting software and was compliant with Windows 10. The Benefits When all the systems began to communicate with each other, staff could log in from anywhere to answer questions quickly or even look things up for themselves in real time. The inventory crew was no longer four to five months behind, the sales team could offer accurate proposals while onsite with clients, and the accounting department enjoyed the benefit of extra time by bringing all of these things together into Quickbooks. With a software ecosystem that worked in perfect harmony, Z Blinds no longer had to worry about the loss of valuable staff time, and could just focus on continuing to thrive. Lasting Impact Inefficiencies drain companies of valuable resources. Sometimes it stems from people, the process, or the equipment. Either way, business owners need to measure the cost of the lifetime of their business. Of course, there are ways to squeeze a few cents out of the dollar, but a company’s staff will not get their time back. Those types of frustrations based on lacking technology simply lead to turnover. Like any interior design-type business, the competition is fierce and the margins are very tight. When you represent a specific niche, commercial and residential clients are even fewer. Potential customers have high expectations for the goods delivered and want them at a reasonable price. What does a small- to mid-range company need to compete at a large-scale level? The right tools. Employee productivity can be determined by the efficiency of their workplace. When their productivity standards remain high, so do sales, profits, and satisfied customers. Z Blinds recognized how the deficiencies in their technology hampered their ability to offer the best experience to their staff and clients and sought out a partnership that could provide a forward-thinking solution to modernize and future-proof their technology needs. With this fully integrated final build, they’re able to keep their competitive edge, deliver exceptional customer service, and scale their business. I reached out to Bitwise Industries because I knew they understood our business and could solve our daily inefficiencies with their custom software expertise.Levon Zekian, Owner, Z Blinds Let Us Help Bitwise Industries specializes in custom software development, Contact Center-as-a-Service, and Salesforce implementation and administration. Our technology professionals have deep experience applying cutting-edge technology solutions to help business entities of all sizes navigate the technology landscape to find solutions to optimize their operations. If you’re interested in uncovering the tech possibilities available to your organization, click this link to schedule some time with one of our experts. This blog post was written by Amber Carpenter, Jr. Copywriter for Bitwise Industries. When she’s not writing, you can find her petting dogs and sipping cold brew in front of her local library. Did you love this blog? Subscribe here for new Bitwise blog notifications.