Reducing operational noise with enterprise software

"Everyone can refocus on their core tasks."

In the2nd part of 2015, Hoogenboezem furniture began the phased implementation of Colijn IT’s new software package for the furniture industry: iONE. Shortly after the summer of 2016, the integrated webshop on also went live. We sought out Martin Hoogenboezem to ask specifically; what are the experiences and what does it yield?



    • Family business
    • Founded in 1921
    • Nine home furnishing stores
    • Member of the International Furniture Group (IMG).
    • Collections from IN.HOUSE AND XOOON, among others.

Continuously in motion

Hoogenboezem is at the time of writing one year live with some of the functionalities (screens) of iONE, namely: Sales, Checkout, Purchasing, EDI and Logistics. Gradually, they added other business processes to this and thus over time; Delivery Notifications, Webshop and Customer Portal were added. Services and Delivery Planning will be added in the near future. So it’s an environment in constant flux, which is why we’re a little on the early side for certain parts to ask about the results. Fortunately, Mr. Martin Hoogenboezem is someone who always has his finger on the pulse of the organization and therefore has a good idea of changes taking place. And -because we are direct Zeeuwen – we asked him first of all about his sales….

He wisely met this question with a cautiously formulated answer; Hoogenboezem Furniture obviously notices that the market is really picking up and clearly sees this reflected in the results. In particular, the initiatives developed (by Hoogenboezem as well as by industry associations) and the investments made during the “quiet period” are now paying off handsomely. One of those investments is the switch to iONE furniture software and the purchase of an integrated web shop from Colijn IT. The benefits for Hoogenboezem lie mainly in direct cost reduction, information management and increased efficiency which of course positively affects the operating result. We will zoom in on each of those benefits in more detail in this article.

"On average, we work 10% more efficiently, even 20% for administrative functions since switching to iONE."

Martin Hoogenboezem I owner


In particular, “efficiency” is an abstract concept that any supplier of B2B (ICT) solutions will claim will have a positive impact on it. What we want to know (and hopefully you too), is: where are the efficiency benefits of iONE and how big are they? Mr. Hoogenboezem comments: “On average we work 10% more efficiently, even 20% for administrative functions since switching to iONE.” This improvement is mainly achieved by reducing “operational noise,” allowing everyone to focus on his or her core tasks and even allowing tasks to be picked up again that previously remained dormant or could only be partially performed. This noise is greatly reduced when the software can accurately track business processes and guide its users in them so that errors are avoided. Also, the screens are logically and clearly laid out and have more options. This allows staff to find desired information and perform tasks in a pleasant and quick manner. All this makes for much less control and overhead on the operation; “that makes a huge difference.”

Other contributors to “operational noise” are, of course, the customers themselves; services, complaints, comments and questions can be a huge distraction and therefore, by definition, very inefficient. Especially when they must be picked up between ongoing tasks. You reduce this form of noise through improved information management, or: communication. By automating communication to the customer about such things as item information, inventory, order statuses and delivery information, the retailer is pulling the initiative and staff is less interrupted by ad hoc inquiries because the customer has already proactively received this information. One can think of various automatic notifications via mail or text message, but of course also the information the customer can access on the web regarding product specifications, stocks and sight locations. Staff themselves are also better informed because unambiguous information is available at all times and everywhere. “iONE imparts a certain professionalism that radiates to the staff and thus to the customer,” said Mr. Hoogenboezem.

Although efficiency gains can theoretically be expressed in hard currency, this is more difficult in practice because the time and resources saved are usually invested directly in other things. For example; the days saved in checking sales orders can now be spent on new concepts and ideas to boost sales. While undeniably of great value, Mr. Martin Hoogenboezem cannot put an absolute amount on this.

"iONE imparts a certain professionalism that carries over to the staff and therefore to the customer."

Martin Hoogenboezem I owner


Direct cost reduction

For the direct cost advantage on the procurement side, this is a different story, as it is readily measurable. Hoogenboezem calculated, based on interim reporting, that ordering errors decreased from about 3.6% to about 0.4%. Thus, although Hoogenboezem’s 3.6% error rate was already significantly lower than the average at the start, we are still talking about a reduction in the error rate of as much as 90% within the first year of working with iONE. Of course, the wrongly ordered products usually still have some value, but one will always have to write off a good percentage on them. The sum of these write-offs is the tangible savings from reducing error orders. However, the savings go even further because less warehouse space is occupied and because of the handling & administrative overhead saved.

Of course, business software can only facilitate this, but that in itself does not save money. We therefore asked Martin Hoogenboezem how they were able to realize these nice savings: Ordering errors are generally prevented by (1) stimulating the self-responsibility of the person entering the order (the salesperson), (2) by own effort by adding the correct reference questions per item and (3) by properly checking the order recommendation. Thanks in part to the user-friendliness and facilities provided by iONE, Habufa’s EDI catalogs and IMG’s extensive article files, salespeople’s insight and therefore self-responsibility have increased. Of course, this also fits into our business philosophy and is something we are consciously working on.”

A small calculation example

Suppose your company purchases products worth two million euros annually. Of these, 5% turn out to be incorrect, which you then sell at an average discount of 40% off your normal calculation factor of 2 (excluding VAT). A 90% reduction in the probability of error in that case would save: €2,000,000 x 5% = €100,000 x 2 = €200,000 x 40% = €80,000 – 90% = €72,000 annually!


Integrated webshop

In addition to our furniture software, Hoogenboezem has also been using an integrated webshop from Colijn IT since Q3 2016. Although Hoogenboezem has chosen a solution where no orders can be placed on the web shop, the effects are already noticeable, even after only 3 months after going live(time of writing). Previously Hoogenboezem already had a website where article information was imported by means of feeds, so in this case we cannot make a comparison between a “standalone” and an integrated webshop. Nevertheless, Mr. Hoogenboezem that the new web shop offers advantages as a result of full integration with iONE. The new Web shop offers much more information when it comes to stocks, view locations and check the published collection. As a result of this richer information, we see, among other things, a 38% increase in page views and a 27% increase in visit duration compared to the same period last year. This increased “engagement” is purely organic (i.e., without additional marketing incentives), as Hoogenboezem had an adwords campaign running last year where it currently does not. But, what really matters in the end is what they see back in the store: “We find that we are attracting more people directly to our stores through the web shop and that visitors are well informed in advance. I also suspect that, as a result, there are proportionally fewer “viewers” and more “buyers” walking into stores and, as a result, the efficiency of salespeople on the store floor goes up. We also get rid of our showroom models much faster and easier because people are much more focused.”

Despite the fact that Hoogenboezem has only fairly recently implemented iONE and the integrated web store and that certain processes still need to be automated in the near future, great results are already visible. We want to emphasize that these results are above all a result of entrepreneurship, vision and courage from Hoogenboezem itself. That our furniture software can play a facilitating and supporting role in this is something we are very proud of.


more efficiency

thanks to information management

fewer errors

all processes automated

lower costs

90% fewer error orders


anywhere, anytime access to business results

What customers say about us

– Satisfaction with iONE: 8

– Satisfaction with the integrated web shop: 8

With great thanks to Martin Hoogenboezem for sharing this information with us and with you.

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