DART Tool Group is a power tool accessory business launched in 2008. Based in Fife, DART works with manufacturers across the globe to provide quality power tool accessories engineered for professionals.
They have traditionally supplied independent retailers within the construction industry, but they are now expanding towards national accounts and online channels, with significant growth targets. In short, the business leadership was looking to double its revenue over a three-year period, and they understand that IT and technology are crucial to their plans for growth.
DART found themselves with a set of aging IT systems that were proving to be increasingly costly and not meeting the needs of the business. It was at this point that DART engaged Freeman Clarke’s Mark Hollidge and Tim Higginbotham as co-CIOs to provide expert advice on how the IT strategy could support and enable reaching the business’s goals.
A key first step was for Freeman Clarke Principals to provide an overall risk assessment so that a targeted IT action plan could be developed. In conjunction with DART’s lead team, they then created a plan that addressed the risks and issues whilst ensuring that the IT capability met business needs and could scale in line with growth plans.
Freeman Clarke CIO Tim Higginbotham’s strategy was to replace DART’s heavily customised software with a more relevant set of cloud-based services. The strategy also focused on helping the business find the right support partner to ensure that DART could capitalise on their new IT capability for the long-term growth.
With new systems and suppliers, DART had the right foundation to move forward without their IT systems being a barrier to success. Whilst the improvements benefited the business across the board, automating manual processes, and creating greater customer focus, other benefits were delivered in three key areas:
✔️ Supply chain forecasting. Freeman Clarke transitioned DART from bespoke Access databases to a high-end forecasting tool. DART now has a much better picture of how much they need to order and when. They’re also more efficient with stocking, minimising both storage costs and the risk of lost sales when stock runs out.
✔️ Warehouse management. DART were using a paper-based process picking and dispatch process. Now, with barcoded shelves and mobile devices, warehouse processes are much easier, and information is seamlessly integrated with carriers.
✔️ Reporting. The IT leadership team made improvements to the way reports were generated. Now all of their customer, sales, operational and finance data is held in one location, enabling easier reporting and KPI measurement.
✔️ Mentoring. Tim has also helped build up DART’s in-house IT team capability through mentoring and recruitment. With a capable internal team, DART now delivers a reliable, business-focused IT service.
Matthew Wilkin, IT Manager, said:
‘Working with Freeman Clarke gave DART access to a wealth of IT knowledge and support, to help us specify IT platforms and systems that would enable us to exceed the business requirements not only for now but also for the future. DART is now in a position where we can quickly scale our systems to meet the needs of our customers and the business. Tim was a fantastic leader and mentor for myself helping me to develop skills and ways of working that will help DART and myself to reach our goals.’
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