Tuesday, September 23, 2014
Editor's note: From the typewriter to the propelling pencil to our favorite, the world wide web, inventors and innovators from the United Kingdom have brought us brilliant advances that have changed the way we work all around the world. Over the next few weeks, we’ll share a handful of stories from disrupters and trailblazers in the UK who are using Google Apps for Work to support their mission while growing at faster and faster speeds. Today we hear from Ning Li, Co-founder and CEO of Made.com, an online retailer that offers designer furniture at affordable prices.
Made.com was born in 2010 out of a desire to provide designer furniture for anybody, without a compromise on quality. We think customers pay too much for nice furniture, so we cut out the middleman for the furniture we love. Pieces like the Fonteyn Coffee Table and Lulu Scoop Chair reveal our eclectic, contemporary design selections that don’t demand a high price tag.
Along the way, we’ve sought to disrupt the traditional furnishing industry model, which typically relies on long product cycles, large floor room displays and a slow turnaround. We produce a new design every two weeks — quite fast for a furniture company — and rely on sales data to frequently adjust our inventory — most of which is online. We’ve established a culture that celebrates speed and innovation, and we rely on Google Apps for Work to help our team connect, communicate and collaborate as effectively as possible.
We began using Google Apps during our humble beginnings as three co-founders in a four square-meter room. With no IT staff, Google provided an easy to use technology foundation that has kept pace with our rapid growth to the present day. Now we have more than 150 staff members in four countries, who use Gmail and Calendar as part of our daily routines. Their integration keeps us in sync and on track for meetings with suppliers, designers and our logistics partners.
Since we’re a very visual business communicating quickly about creative decisions is key. Google Drive takes away the frustration of being out of the office, especially when some of our employees travel throughout the world finding furniture designs. Whether it’s reviewing and directing new design concepts in Google Slides or browsing through new trends, our employees have the freedom to work wherever they may be and access the same information they would in the office.
If you’re going to disrupt an industry you need to outpace the competition and constantly delight customers like we’re doing today. You need to work in seamless new collaborative ways with tools that are quick, efficient and simple. For that we look to Google Apps for Work.