The House of Bruar is a family-owned premier independent country fashion retailer in Scotland, which has been operating for nearly three decades. The business specialises in high-end knitwear, homeware, and home goods for the Scottish market. Operating out of a large, centralised office in highland Perthshire, with a large mail order distribution centre 15 miles south, the company serves customers both in-store and through mail orders. The House of Bruar decided in 2021 to fully embrace digitisation and transition to electronic archiving. This case study will explore The House of Bruar’s implementation of Filestream software in conjunction with PFU scanners.
Until recently, The House of Bruar had been relying primarily on paper-based processes and physical record keeping. With suppliers spread across the UK, Europe, China, the Far East and Australia, the staff manage a large volume of paperwork on a daily basis, and found it challenging connecting the dots between the warehouse and suppliers. Due to HMRC requirements, invoices from suppliers also had to be processed and physically stored in one of their eight filing cabinets within The House of Bruar’s main office, which made records difficult to manage and keep track of. The management recognised that their operations could be streamlined by implementing a digital system, managed from their central office.
While The House of Bruar had some office-based scanners already, they weren’t central to operations and had no formalised purpose within the business. Management recognised the many potential benefits of investing in scanning systems and implementing them as part of their employees’ workflows, but also knew the business required a solution that could cater to their particular needs. The goal was to seamlessly connect the warehouse, suppliers, and internal processes all through one centralised system.
To find the best possible system, The House of Bruar evaluated the market, weighing up various options based on functionality and cost. After consideration, Filestream – a document management software provider - recommended PFU scanners that were well-matched to The House of Bruar’s needs. The models selected, the PFU SP-113O and fi-7140, are renowned for their scan quality, compact dimensions, and capability to handle various paper sizes. This matched the needs of The House of Bruar, as they receive documents of all sizes, including invoices, receipts and additional business-related communication. The company implemented the scanning system, consisting of five SP-1130s and two fi-7140s which operate with Filestream software, across all operations and began the process of integrating the devices into their existing workflow.
The scanners proved to be highly efficient and produced high-quality scans, even for documents of all different sizes. With the best-in-class software, scanned documents could be directly uploaded into the Filestream system, allowing an accessible end-to-end process even for first time users. The switch to Filestream facilitated the transition from the paper-based system to a cloud-connected digital system, immediately offering inherent cost benefits and enhanced accessibility to information for all employees and eliminating the need for physical document storage.
The House of Bruar plans to phase out all eight of the filing cabinets that occupy valuable space in their facility. By ensuring every new document that enters the business is immediately digitised, over time the documentation stored physically will become outdated. This is a common practice when businesses decide to digitise, as it doesn’t constitute an immediate and total overhaul of the previous system, but rather a phased approach. This benefits staff, as they can adjust to the new digitised system while the previous physical system still exists for their reference.
While any change can be challenging, the vast majority of House of Bruar’s staff embraced the digitisation initiative and quickly realised the advantages of digital archiving. Head of Finance at House of Bruar, Gary Sullivan, comments: “While we didn’t implement this on the basis of a cost-saving exercise, there are inherent financial benefits to having a digitised system. But the real benefit is felt by our employees, in the time saved which allows them to focus on value-adding tasks rather than admin.” The benefits to staff were noticeable, with more efficient document retrieval and reduced paper waste and clutter around the office. Gary comments, “The scanners are small and unobtrusive and the quality of the scans, compared to those of our previous scanners, is excellent.”
In today’s digitised world, it’s important for all companies to consider digitisation for their own benefit. “We’d wholeheartedly recommend the Filestream system in conjunction with PFU devices to any business. If companies aren’t embracing digitisation and electronic archiving by now, it’s time to do so,” says Gary.
“The scanners are small and unobtrusive and the quality of the scans, compared to those of our previous scanners, is excellent.”
Head of Finance at House of Bruar