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Case Study: Build Supplies Ltd

Back in 2020, Cornish builders’ merchants Build Supplies chose Merchanter as its new trading and stock management system. With plans for an eCommerce site and a need to drive greater efficiency and profitability in the face of the pandemic, Build Supplies needed a modern, digital system with the capacity and scope to evolve alongside the business.

18 months after our original case study, we caught up with director Mike Tregunna to find out how things are going.

What are some of the challenges Build Supplies has faced over the last year?

"Like many businesses within the construction sector, 2021 was another difficult year for us, with pandemic staffing problems, supply chain fragility and material price increase pressures.

2021 also saw lots of changes and modifications to the operations of our business including new trading software, a new ecommerce website and streamlining of our delivery processes."

Our staff love using Merchanter. The system makes every task, quicker, easier and that bit less painful.

What are you most proud of over the last year?

"We are proud of several things that were achieved in 2021.

We managed to maintain turnover, successfully implemented Merchanter, launched our ecommerce website and vastly improved our stock control and delivery service; but ultimately, managing to stay open throughout the whole year is probably the biggest achievement of all."

What learnings have you taken from the last year?

"With so many changes going on in all areas of the business, there have been lots of learnings and not everything always goes to plan.

For example, we changed the way our collection operations ran to fit around Covid guidelines, moving from self-service to using our staff to collect ordered materials and bring the goods to the customer.

However, customer feedback suggests that they’d rather handle materials themselves and that quicker service isn’t always a priority, so we listened to that feedback and adapted our processes accordingly."

Screenshot of Merchanter ERP software for builders merchants

How did the Merchanter implementation process go?

"Overall, the implementation has been very impressive. As we were one of the first onto the new system so you’d expect some teething issues getting initial data across, but this was dealt with rapidly and the implementation has been smooth.

We’re really pleased with the system and it’s making a big difference in all areas of the business."

What were some of the quick wins that Merchanter enabled?

"Our goal when choosing to implement Merchanter was to improve every area of our business in some way, whether that change was a big or even just a small improvement. And I’m happy to say, there have been lots of wins!

The searchability and visibility throughout the whole system makes every task, quicker, easier and that bit less painful.

Due to the multiple ways in which Merchanter can deal with customer price terms, we are saving at least three working days per month on invoicing and invoice issues, which makes a huge difference and really adds up across the year.

The number of set prices that we have to override is now minimal and the ability to re-issue invoices to any customer within a few seconds saves real time."

Collage of images from Build Supplies Ltd based in Cornwall

What improvements have you observed?

"We have seen huge benefits from our Merchanter system. Time is saved in every business process from quotation through to credit control.

The ability to update the information quickly within Merchanter has improved the following;

  • Quote times – the ability to produce quotes so rapidly and with such ease

  • Profitability – the ability to set product costs that reflect a rising market with such little administration has definitely maintained and improved margins

  • Stock Management – the stock confidence and ad hoc stock countability has seriously improved our stock controls and internal processes for the way that we manage stock. There’s still room for improvement but we have seen massive improvements in stock control and this will continue to improve

  • Operations – improved stock control has led to more complete first time deliveries, fewer unhappy customers and an overall improvement in efficiency which will put us in very good stead for the future with the jump in operational costs such as fuel, energy and supply price increases.

Merchanter has made a massive saving to our business, and improved our profitability significantly. Being able to manipulate cost prices responsively in a changing market, along with the improved stock control and system visibility has markedly improved our cost to serve."

What are the main advantages of Merchanter for builders’ merchants?

  • Ease of use - We have managed to train new staff to competently use the system within a couple of weeks and they enjoy using the system day to day.

  • Efficiency in finding the information that you need to process orders rapidly .

  • Setup times and the ability to link to any printer, work from anywhere, email and document in any format are all massive wins.

  • Our staff love using Merchanter - they comment on how easy it is to use and generally, other than the odd bug or niggle, I hear nothing bad about the system which can only be a positive.

How have you found the move into eCommerce?

"It’s been a relatively slow start in terms of actual orders, but we’re now achieving a steady flow of orders so we hope that moving forward this will improve. We’ve also noticed interest in new areas coming through from the website forms so that’s helping to direct us in new business ideas.

We see the site primarily as our shop window, and it’s definitely helping to attract new customers. There are always teething issues with new sites and we are working with our supplier to resolve these, but I’m confident things will continue to improve as time goes on."

What are your ambitions for 2022? And how can Merchanter and Ten-25 help you deliver them?

"For 2022 we would like to see our stock confidence above 80%.

We would like to see profitability and sales increase even further, and to improve our online sales.

The development ideas we’ve put forward will really help with that and with enhanced reporting, we should really be able to get a handle on the metrics and see the improvements even more tangibly."

We have seen huge benefits from our Merchanter system. Time is saved in every business process from quotation through to credit control.

Are you happy with the service you’ve received from Ten-25?

"Yes, we are extremely happy with the service from Ten-25.

Several of the development requests that we have made have been integrated into the system which we are very grateful for.

There are a few new ideas for developments which we’ve flagged, mainly to help link in with the website, and the growing resource of self-help training videos on the customer portal will be a massive help for us in getting even more out of the system."

We’d like to say a huge thank you to Mike and the team for their positive feedback and for being brilliant customers. We really do take pride in our customers’ successes and it’s wonderful to see Build Supplies going from strength to strength.

If you would like to try Merchanter for yourself, just register here for login details and get 30 days’ FREE access to the online demo system.


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