Paul Branch, the owner of Abbeygate Tiles and Bathrooms in Bury St. Edmunds, is just one of a growing number of companies in the UK’s tiling sector that have chosen Kerridge Commercial Systems to provide their IT systems and support.
Abbeygate Tiles and Bathrooms is a family-run, independent tile and bathroom retailer. Founded in 1986, the company serves a mix of trade and retail customers and prides itself on very high quality service and an extensive product range.
Paul Branch has purchased K8, the business management system developed by Kerridge Commercial Systems (KCS) specifically for retailers, merchants and wholesalers of all types of building products.
Following a recommendation by one of his biggest suppliers, Branch was also reassured by the fact that K8 is used extensively in the tile supply industry and liked the idea of using a system that was designed to manage his specific type of business.
“What also appealed to me about using K8 was how we could access the software via the cloud,” says Branch. “We won’t have to bother about maintaining the system or having servers on the premises. I think it’s more secure working like that and means we can get on with what we do, rather than worrying about managing our hardware and IT.”
K8 is a fully integrated trading and business management solution that can be delivered to customers via a variety of traditional or cloud-based options. It combines a suite of modules designed to manage sales order processing, purchasing, stock control, CRM, E-Commerce and business intelligence.
Abbeygate could also dispense with their Sage package once K8 was installed as its integrated financial suite means there is no need to use any other accounting software.
“K8 interfaces better with Outlook, saves us time when we upload customer prices and catalogues, and gives us additional and easier reporting capability,” say Branch.
Another satisfied K8 user is European Heritage; a family business specialising in the supply of natural stone, porcelain and ceramic tiles; plus associated building materials such as under-floor heating systems, grouts and adhesives.
European Heritage started using K8 software around 12 years ago. Before then it had a typical system of individual tills and carbon copy paperwork. “Error comes with paperwork,” explains General Manager, Jonathan Nanson, “and technology was moving on. The Tile Association recommended we look at K8 as it had been designed to manage the specific type of products we sell.”
Today there are 18 members of staff using K8 at European Heritage. “Our sales team find it smooth and simple to use and it quickly becomes second nature to new staff,” says Nanson. “They can find products on the system quickly, what customers have ordered in the past - and from what batch - as everything gets recorded in the system.”
“We demand from factories that their materials are batched or we won’t deal with them,” notes Nanson. “K8 enables us to reference the batches as they are logged in to our depot which has a knock on effect as the products are sold, picked, prepared and delivered so products from two different batches never go out together.”
The sophisticated reporting within K8 has also helped the purchasing manager at European Heritage to make informed decisions and to buy more efficiently.
Another K8 enthusiast is Tileflair; which has grown from a single branch business, established in 1972 into one of the largest, privately-owned wall and floor tile distributors in the South of England.
“Our focus is on service. This is reflected in our slogan, Create something beautiful, explains Managing Director, Matthew Johnson. “We make sure we provide a welcoming environment in all our stores so customers are inspired by our room settings and looked after by our staff who are helpful, knowledgeable and, most importantly, genuinely interested in what the customer wants.”
K8 was installed at Tileflair in 1998. Today there are 50 users and the system processes more than 300,000 transactions each year and holds nearly 13,000 product files. The initial need was for a system that could handle inter-branch trading and they could add branches to as the company grew. “Another reason we chose K8,” explains Johnson, “was because whatever you are doing on the system, you are always ready for a sale. You can keep the sales screen open and just flip back to it. Complete visibility of stock and the ability to search for products and add them to an order so quickly and easily were other key benefits. It’s also very easy and intuitive to use.”
Tileflair is now trialling Warehouse Management, another enhanced function. “K8 is letting us get away from an analogue style of management,” says Johnson.
“Instead of relying on someone walking around the warehouse to see where we have some space, we can check this on the computer. It will help us make the most efficient use of our racking and run our warehouses as efficiently as possible.”
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