Michigan based Hoss Athletics, Inc. has been a leader in the sport uniform space since 2000. Representing over 100 school districts nationwide, Hoss collects and processes over 10,000 team uniform orders each school year, not to mention the non-school teams Hoss supports.
Until recently Hoss utilized paper order forms to collect uniform requests from each student they sold a uniform to. Overwhelmed by the volume of manual processing it took to meet increasing demand for Hoss uniforms they needed a way to streamline the ordering function.
According to Jeff Hayes, CEO for Hoss Athletics, “While we were excited about the increasing number of school districts that partnered with us each year to outfit their teams, we were being consumed by the effort it took to manage the administrative part of our fulfillment process. Managing paper orders was quickly becoming more of a core process than producing quality garments. Not only was there a logistical issue with managing that many paper orders, we also had to key all of that information in to an obsolete database system”
To compound the obvious problems associated with large volumes of paper, Hoss also needed a better method of tracking student sizes and preferences, as well as contact information for each student. “We found ourselves starting over each year, collecting the same basic data on students that we serviced in previous years.”
Hayes new that if Hoss was going to sustain its current growth rates they would need to improve their order fulfillment processes starting with the way that they received orders.
“Paperless Forms seemed like the ideal solution to our problem. Not only could we digitize the ordering process, but Paperless Forms allowed us to store, analyze, and leverage our order data to exploit growth opportunities…and the cost to get up and running was negligible.”
Among the challenges that Hoss faced with the proposed conversion was the difficulty in getting the schools, students, and parents on board with a new ordering method. Because the new digital forms would go directly to the students and their parents, faculty at the schools felt that they were pulled out of the ordering process. Moving away from paper forms, which were traditionally vetted through school administrators, meant there would be an increased opportunity for errors and possible misappropriation. The schools needed to maintain strict control over the ordering processes as well at the associated costs.
School faculty in charge of administering annual uniform purchases were also concerned with whether or not students and parents would be willing and able to logon and complete forms online as opposed to completing a simple one-page paper form and returning it to the school office.
Additionally parents and students would need to be computer literate enough to complete the new forms online. For most students the technical aspect would not represent a major problem. However, many of the parents were from the pre-tech era and were not as comfortable switching to a digital ordering format.
IN THE END
In the end Hoss was able to create an order process within Paperless Forms that gave school administrators complete visibility and control over the ordering process without them having to spend countless hours collecting forms. Faculty members uploaded the names and contact information of all eligible students, and were given daily updates on completed forms. They were also able to set up alerts in Paperless Forms notifying them of unresponsive students. As an additional service to their customer Hoss is now also able to return valuable order data back to the school systems in the form of spread sheets and reports.
Because parents and students were able to access the new order forms by simply clicking on a link in a text or email, without downloading any software or taking any other action, the response rate and turnaround time on completed forms improved significantly. In many cases the new digital forms were completed within minutes of being sent to respondents.
According to Hayes the implementation was a success. “The process of converting to Paperless Forms went much more smoothly than I expected. All we had to do was create the forms we wanted to use and set up a few alerts to let us know when forms were completed. Now we’re able to process several times the number of orders with half the staff we previously needed”. An additional, unforeseen, benefit of the digital migration was that the school systems that Hoss serves each saw a significant reduction in their labor costs related to administering sports programs. “Paperless Forms entirely eliminated the need for our school administrators to handle paper orders.”
To learn more about how Paperless Forms can help accelerate you business processes please call 866-256-6900.