HOW DO WE HELP OUR CUSTOMERS?

Our stock take with our Ten-25 system showed what a great system it is.  The ease of being able to locate the products and amend locations was fantastic

Grant Fobister -
Specialist ironmongery and industrial supplies SIIS

he people at Ten-25 really listen to what we say. We might mention something we'd like to see the system doing, and a couple of months down the line, they've added it.

Stuart Newman - 
Setra Wood Products

Our system makes it easy for every member of the team to handle any customer enquiry, with no need to dig through lots of records

Chris Curson -
Henlow Building Supplies

SOUTH COAST BUILDING SUPPLIES

THE SECRET(S) OF OUR SUCCESS –

Our customers are the most important part of what we do – they are our “why.” We love getting out to talk to them about how business is going, and we’re immensely proud of their hard work and commercial acumen.
We recently caught up with long-term client Tim Payne, Managing Director at South Coast Building Supplies. We even recorded a little video of some of that conversation – just click play!

 

Rapid expansion requires agile system capability

Founded in 2008, SCBS has expanded significantly in its lifetime and now operates from four main sites: Andover, Bournemouth and two in Southampton. It offers over 3000 product lines to both trade and public customers, from timber and insulation to landscaping, drainage and plastics materials.

There are many factors playing important roles in the success of SCBS, and as with any business, it is the coordinated interaction of all these factors which lies at the heard of its continued growth. From staff commitment to supplier reliability, customer service to accurate accounting, no cog in the wheel can afford to let the side down.

We all know the world of business is relentlessly fast paced. “We can’t afford to waste time,” Tim comments. “Anything that saves time is an advantage; for example, the business software we use is robust, without much downtime. Consistent functionality across the different modules means that once you know how to perform one task, you can do anything else as well – raise a PO, prepare a despatch note, keep track of stock. That means it’s easy for any staff member to pick it up if someone is off sick, and also means new staff can get to grips with it quickly.” Having access to up to date accurate information at all times makes quick decision-making much easier, and better informed.

Construction Worker Lifting Wood Board

Information is everything

One area Tim says has made a huge difference to the running of the business in recent years has been the increased sophistication of analysis and reporting. It’s far easier and quicker to find the information you need using the system than it could ever be doing it yourself. It saves a lot of time and is really accessible.”

It helps Tim run the business on a daily basis and makes many processes far simpler. “You can standardise reports easily and quickly and you know it’s always accurate and reliable,” he said. “You can cut the information any way you need it too, so it has made producing the monthly management report so much easier, with more meaningful analysis that helps to guide us in making better business decisions.”

Tim states that reporting and analysis have definitely made SCBS more profitable; tiny differences here and there, being able to quickly identify profitable business relationships, and nip less profitable scenarios in the bud, all add up to significantly better results. “After discussing possibilities with Ten-25, we’ve recently added a new function which helps us to add restrictions to certain products, which has had a really positive impact on our profit margins. Being able to easily see where the money is coming from – and going – is helping us to do better business on a day to day basis.”

Using the advanced business intelligence software has had a dramatic impact on SCBS, both in terms of efficiency and actual commercial performance. Tim says, “You can standardise reports easily and quickly and you know it’s always accurate and reliable, and it can cut the information any way you need it. It has made producing the monthly management report so much easier, with more meaningful analysis that helps to guide us in making better business decisions.

Congratulations to Tim and the whole team at SCBS – keep up the good work! And remember, we’re with you every step of the way.

ROBBINS TIMBER

Specialist Software for Specialist Customers

Managing Director Richard Bagnall comments, “We’ve never had any issues with the software from Ten-25. It’s great that it has continued to evolve over the years to meet our needs, and the time is right for the next natural progression.”

Robbins Timber is known as a specialist in marine timber, with the company’s roots in Bristol Docks going back to 1750. It has developed its own range of Robbins Elite Marine Plywood, and offers the widest range of timber and sheet material in the country. It also operates in general timber, and has full milling and planning facilities for a comprehensive, and often fully bespoke, service.

However, being so adaptable creates a lot more back-office work, so one particularly appealing aspect of the upgraded system is the new CRM functionality. With comprehensive customer notes seamlessly stored alongside trading history, accounts and ad hoc certification and attachments, the new CRM module will make it easy for any member of staff to deal instantly with a customer query, no matter how complex or unusual their previous ordering.

 

As a trusted supplier, Robbins depends on its existing customers for repeat business, and the CRM system should make that relationship stronger. As Richard Bagnall says, “Anything we can do to make it easier for people to work both with us and for us is a plus. We want to be the very best for our customers; so being able to see what they need on a repeat basis will help that, and give them faster and even more intuitive service.”

Another element which will make a big difference is the Trading Analysis feature. Giving faster, easier and more flexible insight into the data already held within the system should prove a major benefit, providing user-friendly access to the information from whichever perspective is required. “The new Trading Analysis software is streamlined and simple to use, and will be familiar to new users. It is designed intuitively, so you can cut the data any way you want,” says Richard. “You can also look at several sets of data simultaneously – in previous systems you’d have to exit one thing before opening another. This way it’s all visible immediately, which makes it very slick and easy to use.”

Stock management is always critical for any timber merchant, and again, the upgraded functionality of UniTrade360 will help Robbins to manage its supplies even more efficiently. We are also looking at developing a range of enhanced stock management features to help our customers still further, ranging from mobile apps to handheld devices. Every aspect of the system is always fully integrated, meaning all trading information is held centrally on either Cloud or system-based servers, regularly backed-up, and supported with an unbeatable promise of helpdesk service.

Every business has unique demands, and with as many specialist, niche market customers as Robbins, it’s vital to have the right system in place to not only meet customer requirements, but to surpass them, and plan more accurately for the future. UniTrade360 helps the day to day running of operations, with the sophistication and strategic insight to also expedite the year on year growth of the business.

EE OLLEY

THE VERY REAL BENEFITS OF SAVING TIME – HOW EE OLLEY & SONS USE SOFTWARE TO BOOST SALES

When times are tough and every deal is hard won, it’s vital that every penny spent gets as high a return as possible. None of us can afford to miss those trading opportunities when they come up. So when specialist timber importer EE Olley was able to use automated system functions to replace a largely administrative role with a new sales team member, the benefits were felt straight away.

 

Family values, commercial success

Established in 1952, EE Olley & Sons trade from a 1.5 acre single depot in Dartford, servicing London and the South East of England. Over the years it has evolved from a packing case and cable drum supplier to importing and stocking a huge range of specialist timbers, producing challenging timber specifications in both soft and hardwoods.

The Olley & Sons site in Dartford, Kent

It has always been a family-run business, with strong values. New trainee Heather is part of that same family, and it’s always a pleasure to see client businesses continue to grow through generations. We’ve been working with EE Olley for over 15 years now, and we recently caught up with director Mark Jones to find out what’s new.

Given the challenging trading environment throughout the industry at the current time, it’s heartening to hear that sales continue to grow strongly. Tight monitoring of margins and stock ensure profitability also increases all the time, and using features like 360 and Task Centre keep operations finely tuned.

Thanks to automation features in our software, we’ve streamlined so much admin that we’ve been able to employ a whole new sales person!

Mark Jones - Sales Director

Time really is money

Perhaps the biggest area that has benefited the EE Olley business is that of time saving. It’s a hard thing to quantify – how much time is spent on one task rather than another, how much time is saved with a more efficient quoting or invoicing system, with simpler ways to copy or email documents to customers, or what the value is of having more professional documents and images which are easily stored, filed and accessed.

Time really is money – does your business make the most of it?

Recently, the business was able to make a big change to its office staff which has had a significant impact on sales. Making the most of the technology available to them to automate repetitive and time-consuming admin tasks, including quote preparation and conversion to despatch notes and invoices, EE Olley has been able to replace a predominantly secretarial role with a new sales team member. So much time has been saved through faster processes and automated functions that not only has money been saved on an unnecessary administrator, but sales are actively growing thanks to increased resources.

Coupled with tighter stock control and good management reporting to help identify both opportunities and potential challenges, the time-saving elements of the system facilitate a very profitable business. Reducing time and stock wastage has enabled the business to focus on what it does best – supplying specialist timbers to customers in the most efficient, profitable ways possible. In an economic climate where growth and expansion seem like an increasingly tough challenge, we’re thrilled to play our part in seeing clients like EE Olley able to continue trading profitably and successfully, without needing to increase overheads or incur risky development investment.

They say that time is money – and in this case, it definitely seems to be the case.

HENLOW BUILDING SUPPLIES

With over 35 year’s trading experience, Henlow Building Supplies is no stranger to listening to its customers. With an increasing number requesting some sort of loyalty discount as repeat customers over the last year, the directors began a manual system of loyalty card.

Without any promotion or advertising, over 100 customers have signed up for the scheme. However, it relied on each member of the sales team having a very good memory, and made for a cumbersome process, manually inputting each agreed discount. It also made human error a very real possibility.

 

As existing clients of ours, the directors gave us a call to talk it through. The UniTrade system was instantly able to accommodate their requests, and Henlow has now been able to issue cards and key fobs to its regular customers to grant them automatic – and fully tailored – discounts.


Every customer is different, and buys different quantities of different materials. Therefore Henlow is now able to offer a range of discounts to each customers based on their purchasing habits: a carpenter, for example, might qualify for a certain discount on general building supplies, but a higher discount for timber and tools. A painter and decorator will have different needs to a bathroom fitter, and so on. Each card is linked to the system, so with a simple scan or swipe, the full buying history is available to any member of the sales team, and the bespoke discount will be applied. No hassle, no manual input – and no human error.

Director Chris Curson is very pleased with the time-saving system so far. He says, “We are hoping to roll it out officially in February, but have been delighted with it so far. It makes it easy for every member of the team to handle any customer enquiry, with no need to dig through lots of records.”


The loyalty card is not the only new measure that Henlow has implemented recently. Within the last couple of months it has also started using the market-leading Paxar handheld scanning and printing device.

Stock-taking and repricing shop-floor or warehouse products is always time consuming, as we all know. The new handheld device links to the UniTrade system, so it automatically updates the whole system with whatever has been scanned from the shop floor, warehouse or stock yard. Labels for repricing can be printed off on the spot, saving a lot of time and duplication of effort.

Thanks to its integration with the main system, it enables a real-time, accurate overview of all stock to be instantly accessible. Chris says, “We are moving towards a rolling stock-take system which will save us all a huge amount of time. It’s early days but so far we are very hopeful it is going to be a fantastic tool which will save time and effort, and avoid errors in copying the information across.” The device also has a purchasing function, enabling the user to instantly create purchase orders for scanned products, which again can save a lot of time and hassle.

Chris has also been very complimentary about our input throughout these projects. He says, “We started working with Ten-25 because we thought they offered excellent value for money, and have been really pleased with the service. The system is very flexible and has grown with us, and we have a good relationship with the people there. They are always responsive and we know they really listen to what we have to say.

So, thank you Chris! We are delighted to be able to help our clients to provide a superior service to their own customers, and to make their lives that little bit easier.

01202 861606

Peartree Business Centre, Cobham Road, Ferndown, BH21 7PT, United Kingdom

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