Strong and continuous growth for over 30 years at tool and machinery supplier Axminster Power Tools has resulted in an expanding mail order business. It has a catalogue of 640 pages and 15,000 items supported by an e-commerce website. To help improve efficiency and customer service, the company invested in K3 Business Technology's Elucid multi-channel software and recovered the cost in just two months. Customer service also improved dramatically with back orders slashed by 75% and order picking accuracy boosted to over 98%.
Type power tools into Google and up pops Axminster Power Tool Centre as the main source of such items in the UK. Axminster supplies tools and machinery to trade professionals, DIY and hobby enthusiasts mainly throughout the UK, Eire and Europe, but also to customers around the world.
Since the business was established in 1972, Axminster has built on a foundation of strong customer service. Year-on-year growth has created the need for continuous developments and, during 2004, warehousing has been substantially expanded, a new purpose-built retail outlet has opened its doors and a new web site is to be launched.
Axminster Power Tools has used Elucid multi-channel business software since 2001 when its existing software needed to be upgraded because of rapid expansion. It was an opportunity to introduce a system that would handle increased volume, enable the company to improve efficiency and customer service, and be capable of further enhancements. With 640 pages and over 15,000 items, Axminsters annual catalogue
bursts with products sourced from all over the world. The catalogue, supported by an e-commerce website which welcomes well over a million visitors a year, offers the most extensive range of tools, machinery, accessories and consumables stocked in the UK.
From its early days selling from a tool shop in Axminster town, Chairman Bernie Styles and MD Ian Styles have built a business that has responded to change. From retail only, it grew by selling through exhibitions and mail order. The business was so successful that it acquired more premises, expanded the warehouse and diversified the retail outlet. The warehousing and mail order business was moved to new premises, still in Axminster, during the 1990s. As mail order took off, the company built another warehouse and a small factory for the growing engineering arm.
Throughout Axminsters expansion, the Styles have maintained their family business values, emphasising the importance of providing extraordinary customer service. This is a philosophy shared with the Elucid team and, since the companies formed a partnership, they have worked well together.
Axminster selected Elucid software because of the enthusiasm and commitment of the team. At that time, MD Ian Styles highlighted the exceptional service given by the company. Axminsters initial confidence in Elucid paid dividends when the cost of the new system was covered within eight weeks of going live. Other benefits included a reduction in back orders of 75 per cent, order picking accuracy of over 98 per cent, and most orders were met in full and despatched within 24 hours.
The supportive relationship between the two companies has been maintained as new developments have required enhancements to the system. As Axminster continues its rapid growth, the need for quality information technology solutions to support the business will become even more important.