View this article in BOSS Magazine
Discount home decor stores are bargain shoppers’ paradise. “The shop is like a treasure hunt. There are customers who come and stay for hours. They don’t just come and pick up what they need and leave. They browse a little bit.” Specific retailer Josh Seddon points out, Old Time Pottery, operates an extensive network of stores that range in size from about 80,000 to 120,000 square feet.
That’s a lot of pillows, lamps, and rugs on those acres, and Seddon is responsible for building the IT infrastructure that helps keep them on the shelves of 39 stores in 11 states. As Vice President of Information Technology, Seddon leads a team to make the automation moves that will propel the Murfreesboro, Tennessee, enterprise into a new era of commerce.
When we spoke to Seddon, Christmas 2021 was seven weeks away. “While most retailers are still getting their Christmas stock, our stock was fully received before peak season and we’re now killing it at Christmas,” he told BOSS. “The Old Time Pottery digital journey has been an integral part of delighting our customers with full and festive shelves.”
By compiling and grinding the data, the company accurately predicted when inventory would arrive, he said. This allowed the company’s supply chain specialists, as he put it, to play “a huge chess game of moving containers from one port to another and moving inventory from one country to another to get it here.”
To find products similar to competitors’ goods at a lower price to its valued customers, Old Time Pottery deals with small, less technologically advanced companies worldwide that have little or no experience with EDI, APIs or other core technologies. “Dealing with overseas mom and pop suppliers has been a challenge,” he said.
“Inventory integrity is paramount in retail, so the first thing we did was implement EDI.” Next, they implemented an electronic purchase order system. “We found solutions to everything and from that moment on it was just a matter of conviction,” he said. After a two-and-a-half year partnership with EDI providers and supplier base, Old Time Pottery is 100% EDI compliant.
Suppliers abroad were not alone in their reluctance to shed paper. When Siddon joined Old Time Pottery in 2019, purchasing and inventory control systems were largely done by hand.
Seddon worked with newly appointed CEO Jason Schmidt and Vice President of Marketing and Human Resources Colby Swann to modernize their entire system. Schmidt added, “We transformed a decades-old culture from relying on paper invoicing to data-driven decisions. It took time, training, and smart systems. Today, the team is more efficient and makes smarter decisions because of automation and data.”
Now, instead of entering data, Old Time Pottery’s commerce team is focusing on more valuable work. “We empowered them and enabled them to do their job effectively. They are in our office almost every day ordering something new, and that’s great,” he said. “Now all decisions are based on data, and we are improving this process every day as we transform into a multi-channel retailer.”
Before the pandemic, Old Time Pottery was used primarily for shoppers to locate stores. A new website was about a month away from launching in March 2020. Marketing and IT departments were tasked with finding a way to keep their business running. the solution? Get the program to buy online and pick up in the store quickly.
With Siddon’s support, Swann led the team to launch in just 10 days using Shopify. “We wanted to start small with just a fraction of our inventory while testing the software,” Swann said. “It was a huge success, and we’re expanding the program every month.”
Schmidt, Seddon and Senior Director of Supply Chain Bradley Walker have spent the past several months refining warehousing and transportation logistics to save time and improve efficiency. With automated systems and processes, the average item stays in the warehouse less than seven days.
“At the same time, we’ve implemented process audit systems so we can make sure that the temporary gaps we’ve put in place are actually working,” Seddon added.
Mr. Seddon gave this advice to small retailers facing their own technological transformations:
“Be open to change. IT is there to help, it is not there to take things away. There is a stigma, especially in terms of security, that IT is there to make life more difficult. It makes everyone’s life easier. We just need partnerships that show that this is what we are.” Here for him.”
Since 1986, Old Time Pottery has brought great deals and stylish home décor to the homes of millions of people.
Started as a single store in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, we now cover the Southeast and Midwest with 39 stores, each 2 acres…or more!
At Old Time Pottery you’ll find a huge and ever-changing selection of home decor and everything you need to entertain and live in style… at unbeatable prices!
We are famous for our low prices because we buy in huge quantities from the biggest suppliers in the industry.
This, combined with our low cost warehouse style stores, allows us to offer you the best deals on stylish home décor.