Software spotlight: September roadmap update

Here at James and James, there’s been a lot going on over the last few months. We’ve rolled out a tonne of new updates for ControlPort, helping our clients to get even more use out of the platform, and further optimised our operations inside our fulfilment centres to allow us to get orders out with even more efficiency. Today, we’ll give you an overview of what’s been happening since our last update, and give you a taste of things to come.

New releases

Clearer business insights

New client feature

We’re always trying to make important data more accessible – and more useful – to our clients. With that in mind, we’ve moved a bunch of reports to the Insights menu to make them easier to find if you’re in a bit of a hurry.

Here’s a list of reports – new and old – that you’ll find under Insights:

  • Inventory
  • Product Analysis
  • Product Insights
  • BBE Insights
  • Return Reasons
  • Delivery Insights
  • Postage Margin

Removed packing slips

Environment

We’ve made another significant step towards our sustainability targets by removing packing slips for the vast majority of orders. Over the last 40 years, forest covering an area the size of Europe has been destroyed. If we continue at the same pace, an area the size of Italy will continue to be lost each year. By removing packing slips, we’re doing our bit to reduce deforestation and consumption while helping clients achieve their own sustainability targets, too.

It’s a small change with significant environmental benefits. Each year, the removal of packing slips will:

  • Save 375 trees
  • Remove 15,000 kg of paper waste
  • Save 4,100 Kwh of energy, equivalent to 9 barrels of oil
  • Prevent 27kg of air pollutants from being released
  • Save 31,500 litres of water
  • And, as we grow, so will these numbers!

Larger orders – such as those on pallets or heading to retail stores – will continue to be provided with a written packing list. Customs documents aren’t affected, and for carriers that still require paper packing slips, we’ll of course continue to print them.

Label printing changes

FC operations

We’ve changed the point in which we print address labels in the packing process, which has reduced the time it takes to apply the label while also increasing the accuracy of the pack. Our pack accuracy was already industry-leading (99.997% accurate), but we’ll be continuing on with these minor changes until we’re as close to 100% as physically possible!

Sort codes on shipping labels

FC operations
Historically, a significant number of delayed orders were caused by sorting errors that occurred when we passed parcels onto our carrier partners. To help alleviate this issue, we’ve introduced new sort codes on shipping labels. This change will reduce the amount of human error associated with sorting by allowing for fully automated sorting equipment to handle the job instead. For our clients, this means a further improvement to parcel deliver-ability and a reduction in delays.

Wholesale orders

New client feature

We intended to release our huge anticipated wholesale orders update at the end of September, but decided to delay the feature by a few weeks to squash some last-minute bugs and iron out a few more kinks. The goal of this update is to make it easier for our clients to raise wholesale orders through our system. We’re happy to announce that the update will now be released on Monday 17 October, with highlight features including:

  • A new ‘Add Order’ screen
  • New order types for wholesale, ‘Destruction’ and ‘Rework
  • Replacement of ‘Amendments’ with ‘Order instructions’
  • More detailed information on wholesale orders, such as collection and delivery times

And really, that’s just the tip of the iceberg.You can read the full details of our wholesale orders update here.

What does the future hold? 🔮

Our tech team are working on a number of exciting new updates that we’ll be rolling out in the lead up to Christmas and beyond. While we have no definitive release dates to share just yet, here’s what you can expect from James and James in the coming months.

Coming soon: Gift Cards

New client feature

Due to popular demand, we’re working on a new Gift Card feature that allows you clients to design, create, and sell gift cards through James and James. Key features will include:

  • Customisable gift card design, which clients can edit themselves
  • Prints on 4×6.5” (100x165mm) label, which can be stuck inside a physical card
  • Prints at pack, so no more queuing and no chance of errors

We’ll share more details on this soon!

Coming soon: Packing Instructions

FC operations New client feature

We pack thousands of different SKUs every day, composed of many different sizes, weights, and materials. As you’d expect, not all items are packed in the same way, and some clients have very specific requirements on how we should pack their items, and the packaging they’d like us to use. To help make it easier for clients to provide us with Packaging Instructions, we’re building a new preference sheet that allows clients to tell us exactly how they’d like each of their products to be packed. It’s a change that will make our clients’ lives easier, as well as our own!

Coming soon: Further ControlPort UI updates

FC operations

Last month, we improved the overall look of the header and side menu, and we’re going to make further improvements to the User Interface (UI) going forward. We’ll be taking a phased approach to the updates, with our picking interface being next on the list, then packing, and following that, returns. We’re in the process of deciding which interfaces will be prioritised for makeovers following picking and packing.

Coming soon: Even more reporting!

New client feature

Our platform is unique in the amount of data it holds. It’s our job to programme the platform to display the most useful data to your business, and the work never really ends on this front. With this in mind, we’re going to be adding a bunch of new reports to ControlPort, as well as more detail to some existing reports. While we don’t have exact details to share just yet, watch this space for additional business intelligence insights coming your way soon!

Coming soon: New user – Supplier

New client feature

We’ve had a lot of clients express interest in allowing their suppliers to access ControlPort so they can add an Advanced Shipping Note (ASN) for new deliveries, without being able to see other sensitive data held within the account. Therefore, we’ll be adding a new user type for your suppliers to use with heavily restricted permissions. You will be able to generate a unique login for your suppliers, granting them access to ControlPort for the sole purpose of adding ASNs, and nothing else.

This change will help keep your data secure while providing you with a convenient way to re-delegate adding ASNs over to your suppliers.

Coming soon: Returns improvements

New client feature FC operations

The final update we’ll be discussing today is improvements to our returns process. Part of this will come from the UX overhaul we mentioned previously, in addition to a bunch of new functionality inside ControlPort. The aim is to make it easier for you to use returns data to better inform your product range, returns policies and product information, with the purpose of helping you to reduce costs associated with returns and, of course, improve your customer experience.

Stay tuned

As you can see, there’s been a whole lot going on with our technology in recent weeks, with some super-exciting plans for the future. Our software updates page is the best place to read about technology at James and James, and it’s the place to come for roadmap updates, new feature announcements, and more. We’ll speak to you again soon!