Global Timber Products goes digital for future expansion
Updated: Mar 30
Located in a newly purpose-built, four-acre site near Stafford, Global Timber Products is a rapidly expanding timber business which has seen successive 20% year on year growth since its beginnings in 2009. Due to expansion and the need for future-proofing operations, early in 2020 the team at Global Timber decided some changes were needed to modernise not just the look, but the underlying capabilities of the business..
As well as a new website and updated brand look (currently underway and due to be unveiled soon), the team knew an upgrade was needed from the existing Sage-based operating system to something with more scope for growth.
Planning for the future
Suki Bains, Specialist Sales Manager at Global Timber, describes the selection process as exhaustive – and not helped by the emergence of a global pandemic.
“We looked at all the main systems on offer in the market,” he says. “I’ve worked with several other systems in the past, but we wanted to make sure we chose something that would be just right for our business. And even more than that, we wanted to work alongside a team who understood what we’re about, and who we knew we could trust to respond to our evolving needs.”
The system they eventually chose was Merchanter (as you may have guessed), our new cloud-based ERP system designed specifically for timber and builders merchant, steel stockholders and all other merchant businesses.
The software itself is built to be flexible, so it works equally as well for any type of trading business. It also allows a huge amount of customisation, so you can very quickly switch between metrics, weights, lengths, split packs and so on. And because it is built specifically for merchant businesses, the stock management and optimisation features are extremely advanced, while being simple to use.
Instant access – from anywhere
“We were able to demo the system remotely, and we were impressed at how easy it was to use,” says Suki. “We loved that it’s available from absolutely anywhere, on any smart device, so for remote access it’s really useful.” And of course, with the issues that Covid has created, that accessibility has really come into its own.
Due to the digital nature of Merchanter, everything from demo to installation can be done remotely, keeping merchant staff safe and their business healthy. But as well as being safe and convenient, it is also much faster than the implementation phase of a traditional system, and even training can be done remotely to get all staff up to speed faster.
A changing marketplace
It has become increasingly apparent that merchant businesses need to embrace digital technology to keep up with the pace and demands of modern trading. For some that’s not a big leap, but for others who are still using manual or older legacy systems, it’s a lot to think about. But with evolving consumer expectations and the challenges imposed in 2020 by the Covid-19 pandemic, digital transformation has moved on from a distant nice-to-have to an immediate necessity.
Greater efficiency is needed to combat cost pressures and remain economic
Merchants need to operate more efficiently to avoid being uneconomic. With pressure mounting from Brexit and Covid, supply chains are subject to significant interruption and forecasting has never been more difficult. Merchants must embrace new ways of creating efficiencies in their own operations to help combat those challenges.
Intelligent software to streamline process and drive efficiency
Global Timber offers deliver of products within 24-48 hours as standard, and as the business scales up, so the demand for efficiency grows with it. The team hopes that the new software will help deliver that, and many other benefits besides.
“The biggest winner for us was just how efficient Merchanter is,” says Suki. “It will save us a huge amount of time, on paperwork, reporting, stock management, operations, everything, making us a more efficient and productive business, with much faster availability. Ten-25 customised it for us as well, and the system is easily adapted as we grow. And it was remarkably cost-effective.”
The flexible pricing structure of Merchanter means that merchants can simply select the levels of access required for each user, making it affordable to have every member of the workforce using it for seamless integration and connectivity. When everyone from delivery driver to MD is hooked up to the same system, the information in that system will be better, and more up to date, than if only a handful of people are using it.
When designing the new ERP system, we consulted many of our customers and talked to people throughout the industry to make sure we were building the system that merchants both needed and wanted. We knew it wasn’t enough to make it effective – it had to be easier to use, to take out as many of the daily stresses and frustrations as possible. We even brought in an experienced video game designer to make sure the user interface is as engaging and simple as possible. Ease of use is absolutely critical for us – the easier the system is to use, the more people will use it, which in turn improves the quality and accuracy of the information, which leads to better decision-making and ultimately, better business.
A service partner for the long haul
We have always been rather proud of the long-term relationships we have with our customers and we really do consider each of those relationships to be a true partnership.
“Customer service was also an important part of the decision,” say Suki. “Ten-25 seemed really well suited for us – honest, down to earth and really flexible and responsive. We’re a very people-centred business so it was important that we like and trust the people we work with. I asked around and their other customers spoke very highly of them, so we felt confident about going with them.”
Aww, shucks. But seriously, we think it’s important to get along with the people you’re working with day to day. Taking on a new ERP system is a big decision, and you need to know you’re working with a service provider who will really go further for you and take a personal interest in your success.
We are thrilled to have Global Timber on board as part of the Ten-25 family, and we wish the team every success for what is looking certain to be a very bright future.