Success Story: Workplace Solutions

Using TeamDesign® to grow a business without adding staff


Workspace Solutions started as a small business selling used furniture. “It was pretty much just a couple of people running the business,” relates Mike Hunter, co-owner of Workspace Solutions. The fledgling business sold mainly to people who were renting office space.

Then Workspace began to handle contract furniture. From 2001 to 2007, the business doubled in size. Today, it is still a family-owned business but is housed in a 100,000 square foot showroom/warehouse in Fort Wayne, Indiana.  They have three locations, each with a showroom. Employing a full staff of office designers and professional installers, they serve local and regional companies as well as businesses from coast-to-coast.

“We’re unique,” says Hunter, “because we came up through rental and we still carry mid-market furniture. So we can sell mid-market, used or high-end, instead of offering just contract.”

We needed 20-20 Giza compatibility and Y2K compliance

In 1999, WorkSpace Solutions went through a transition to become Y2K compliant. “Neither the software or the hardware we were using at the time were compliant,” recounts Hunter. “And we needed a true multi-user system. We were using two systems that did not network. Our process was to create layouts, fax the orders, and then input the invoices into the accounting software. This took a lot of people a lot of time.”

“What really caught our eye (with TeamDesign) was 20-20 Giza (CAD and specification software) compatibility. For large jobs, we export all the part numbers, et cetera, out of Giza and import that into TeamDesign. What used to take two people two days now takes a half hour. That alone helped us to not have to hire more staff just to manage proposals. It’s literally a ‘two-click export.’”

Adopting TeamDesign allowed WorkSpace Solutions not only to become Y2K compliant but to take on larger jobs without having to add additional staff.

A versatile, fully integrated system

When asked his favorite TeamDesign function, Hunter chooses specifier compatibility. “You can pick the finishes for each part and put that into TeamDesign. You have to have the specific parts for it to transfer successfully to the vendor.”

TeamDesign has the ability to electronically submit purchase orders to manufacturers. Each line on the order can have many options, for example, chair, gray fabric, with arms, sled-base bottom, etc.  The manufacturer electronically acknowledges the order.

TeamDesign performs a comparison of the two and produces an exception report. The exception report takes the dealer’s purchase order and compares it to the acknowledgement. Discrepancies are noted on the exception report. So, if a cost is incorrect, if a part number is acknowledged incorrectly, if the dealer sent the code for gray fabric but the manufacturer acknowledged it as black fabric—that’s all noted on the exceptions report. This saves the user from having to manually locate the discrepancy.

“I also like the debit/credit memo function, which lets us get an invoice to the customer quickly. We need that because we handle walk-in retail. And inventory. We also stock furniture, so we need that function. It’s just an all-around system that serves every part of our business.”

Learning from other users at regional and national meetings

“I attend the regional and national ECi conferences because I enjoy talking to other TeamDesign® users. The benefit of meeting a gentleman through one of those meetings allowed me to learn to network multiple locations from one system. We usually go to the meetings because we learn a lot from other users. If I can walk away with just one idea that allows me to further leverage TeamDesign, that’s worth the cost.”

In the end, Hunter says, “Today, I’m glad we went with TeamDesign. The return on our investment over the years has been worth it.”