Company

Union Jack

“Duoplane has drop-shipping absolutely nailed. Without them, we’d be stuck at a certain revenue level. With them, we can manage double the orders with no extra time or trouble.”
Chris Joyce, OWNER AND PRESIDENT, UNION JACK TOOLS
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Challenges

Solutions

Bogged down by tedious and  manual order management and  missing opportunities to grow 

 

When Chris and Cheryl Joyce purchased e-commerce business Union  Jack Tools, they had big ambitions  to improve order volumes and grow  revenue. With a small team running  the entire operation, their time was  precious.  

 

The company’s storefront, hosted on  BigCommerce, was already providing  a good face for the business. It was  packed with quality products and  made the process of checking out and  payment fast and simple for customers.  

 

Order management, however, was a  different story.  

 

The Joyces had inherited a drop-ship  fulfilment model, which should have  saved time, because they didn’t have to  worry about inventory and warehousing.  Unfortunately, it was mired in tedious  manual processes that quickly bogged  them down. 

 

“Order management was a huge challenge for us,” says Chris. “The  individual we bought the business from had been doing everything by  hand—from creating purchase orders to sharing data with vendors—  and hadn’t integrated much in the way of technology to automate key  processes.” 

 

Consequently, the job of transmitting order data to vendors felt like pulling teeth.  Union Jack had to create every purchase order from scratch, trawling through order  confirmations and jumping in and out of multiple systems to find prices, product IDs,  quantities and shipment addresses—and then manually pasting or inputting them. 

 

Adding further friction was the fact that Union Jack offered pre-prepared product  bundles. Items in the same bundle often came from different suppliers, requiring the  creation of multiple purchase orders, before forensically checking that the right POs,  with the correct items and quantities, went to the right vendors.  

 

It was chaos. And the risk of human error was huge.  

 

“When you’re manually inputting so much data, it’s easy to make a  mistake,” says Chris. “A simple mistyped number in a SKU could mean  the wrong color, item or quantity was sent out. A mistake in an address  field would fire a product off to the wrong destination.” 

 

Any error meant more time and cost for the business. With much of the business’  product catalogue made up of large and heavy items, a single error could cost up to  $20 to reship, wiping out any profit in a single hit.

 

Managing the back-end of orders was just as hands-on. Once a vendor had received  an order, they’d email Union Jack back with the invoice and tracking. He’d have to trawl  through the email, open the attachment, and manually key the details into QuickBooks,  being careful not to make a mistake.  

 

Keeping customers manually updated on tracking and shipment was costing Union Jack  even more time. The whole sticky process of order management wasn’t just frustrating. It was pulling  Chris and Cheryl away from value-added tasks such as marketing, merchandising, and  visiting customers that were critical to scaling the business. 

 

“We quickly realized that we couldn’t scale as a business if we kept doing  everything by hand, so we had to urgently shift our strategy,” he says.  

 

“We needed to find a way of automating key processes, but I was worried I wouldn’t find a vendor who understood our specific niche in  drop-shipping fulfilment.” 

“We quickly realized that we couldn’t scale as a business if we kept doing everything by hand, so we had to urgently shift our strategy.”

Automated order fulfilment and a team that understands the challenge of  drop-shipping 

 

As Chris scoured the SaaS landscape for a solution, he discovered Duoplane—which  promised to automate all the manual tasks that had been bogging him down. 

 

“I knew right away that Duoplane was the perfect fit for us, because  they’re 100% focused on solving problems and providing automation for  online businesses who use a completely distributed drop-ship model,”  says Chris. 

 

Duoplane is designed to integrate seamlessly with a company’s existing systems,  making it easy to set up. In Chris’ case, it took a little more work, as he didn’t have key  data stored in a format Duoplane could read.  

 

“I had some initial work to configure vendors and set up users for each  supplier, but I only needed to do that once,” says Chris. “When that  upfront work was done, Duoplane had everything it needed to automate  the manual processes that had been taking over my workday.”

 

Chris received hands-on support at no extra cost during onboarding. Duoplane set up  integrations with BigCommerce and QuickBooks, ensured data was migrating properly,  and even spent extra time getting to know Chris and his business and making sure he  had a complete grasp of the platform. 

 

Within weeks, Chris’ entire order management process was digitized and automated in  the following ways:

 

 

Automated order routing to multiple drop-shipping vendors 

 

Duoplane automatically connects to Union Jack’s store on  BigCommerce, pulls the data it needs to generate a purchase order,  and then sends it directly to the correct vendor. Chris literally has  nothing to do because Duoplane works like a magic wand. 

 

With the unique set of rules that Duoplane created, it even  determines how Chris’ product bundles are put together; sending  purchase orders to the right individual vendors with the right costs  and quantities, with 100% accuracy. 

 

Duoplane is flexible, too. If Chris wants to change prices or  products, it’s simple. Instead of having to worry about making  changes across multiple systems, he inputs the change in one  place—his storefront—and Duoplane collects and reflects that on  the next purchase order. 

 

Automated invoicing and bookkeeping 

 

Duoplane makes life easier for Chris’ vendors, too. Instead of  having to create and email invoices to Union Jack, they simply fill  in 3 fields on a dedicated vendor portal—shipping cost, tracking  information, and invoice number.  

 

Duoplane then automatically creates the invoice and, because it’s  integrated with Quickbooks, exports the details. There’s no more  onus on Union Jack to input bills by hand.  

 

Customizations that match the individual needs of vendors

 

Duoplane enables Chris to create individual rules for specific vendors whenever they need their order data customized. In one example, a vendor asked Chris for a specific line item about  new tariffs to be added to purchase orders. Before Duoplane, that  would have meant added time and manual work for Chris. With Duoplane, they added a custom rule that was conditional on that vendor, automating their request in an instant. 

 

In another example, a vendor informed Chris that customers who ordered 20 units of a specific product would receive a bulk discount. Chris was worried this might be a tricky customization for  Duoplane, but he needn’t have worried. They’d solved the same issue for multiple clients before, so the new rule was created and actioned inside 24 hours. 

 

Chris could hardly believe how much work Duoplane saved him. Just as important to  the busy entrepreneur was the support he received from the Duoplane team at every step.  

 

“Duoplane are problem-solvers by nature and always helpful and flexible,” says Chris. “Sometimes I feel like they must have been around  for 20 years, because whenever I have a drop-shipping issue, they have  a ready-made solution.” 

 

In a matter of weeks, Chris’ order management had gone from tedious and time consuming, to frictionless and future-proofed. 

“I knew right away that Duoplane was the perfect fit for us, because they’re 100% focused on solving problems and providing automation for online businesses who use a completely distributed drop-ship model.”

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Double the order volume and $50k+ saved on salaries 

 

Union Jack’s orders have doubled month-to-month, and revenue has skyrocketed 35%  since integrating Duoplane. 

 

This explosive growth was only possible because Duoplane gave Chris and his team so  much of their time back. Instead of having workdays eaten up by manual tasks, they’re  free to focus on the marketing, merchandising, and customer visits that are central to  scaling. 

 

“Duoplane has put so many problems to bed that we can now put all  our focus on growing the business,” says Chris. “We barely have to lift a  finger on order processing now, so we can focus on creating better SEO,  email campaigns and blog posts that drive our sales and revenue.”  

 

Associated cost savings have been nothing short of staggering. Without Duoplane,  Chris estimates he’d have needed to hire two full-time assistants to manage orders.  With Duoplane’s wall-to-wall automation, that need has been stamped out, saving him  $50k+ in salaries every year. 

 

The cost savings don’t end there. Not least because Duoplane has all but eliminated  human error. 

“Duoplane removes so many potential points of failure and error,” says  Chris. “Before, we’d lose money when we had to reship and correct any  mistakes, but now there are none.” 

 

Duoplane has made it so much easier and affordable for Chris to scale and manage his  e-commerce business.  

 

“With Duoplane, I feel like we could scale to the size of a large corporation,” he says. “We can easily manage double the orders and it  doesn’t cost us any extra time or trouble.” 

 

Overall, Chris appreciates Duoplane’s always-there support just as much as its transformational platform.  

 

“I’ve never once regretted using Duoplane,” he says. “If we didn’t have it,  we’d be stuck at a certain revenue level, because we wouldn’t have time  to spend on the areas that drive retail growth. Duoplane have the drop ship sector absolutely nailed and are a fantastic company to work with.”

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“Duoplane has put so many problems to bed that we can now put all our focus on growing the business.”

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