Over 40 years ago, L.T. Hobbs began supplying steel roofing sheets to his fellow farmers. Today, his son Tony has grown Southern Sheeting into a £20 million roofing and cladding business.
Supplying products from specialist manufacturers around the globe, the firm distributes sheeting, cladding, decking and related materials to builders across the Southeast and Midlands regions of England.
Back in 2018, the business was going from strength to strength – but that success was coming at a price. As Tony explains, the firm’s IT system was struggling keep up with the pace of growth:
‘We were running Microsoft Small Business Server in a backroom store, with a basic business ERP system from Intact Software. It was clear we’d outgrown our hardware and software. I was keen to stay with Intact, but I wanted to move to their flagship product, iQ. So we brought Freeman Clarke on board to oversee this crucial migration.’
Freeman Clarke’s Principal, Ian Gates, assessed the firm’s infrastructure and put a plan in place. Over the following nine months, all the company’s systems were updated. Email and documents were moved to Office 365 and SharePoint respectively. In-house telephone services were migrated to a hosted iPX system. And to ensure its security, the business ran its first successful Cyber Essentials Plus audit.
During this period, our Principal also mentored the firm’s only IT professional, ensuring a smooth implementation of iQ in Microsoft Azure. The result? The new system, complete with a CTI add-on, was completed on time and budget in March 2019. In fact, during the Covid pandemic, the firm was able to operate all of its business with no interruption. That’s testament to the vision and people skills of our Principal.
The new IT infrastructure has been vital to Southern Sheeting’s rapid growth over the last five years. The company has maintained its profit per employee whilst expanding its activities and doubling the number of staff. And as the firm targets a growing proportion of online sales, systems investment will be key to successful expansion. As Tony says:
‘Freeman Clarke delivered our first e-commerce website in early 2021, and we’re planning an expanded site for 2023 that offers even better customer journeys. A new CRM is on the way, plus we’ve opened a new depot as part of a nationwide expansion plan. Without Freeman Clarke on our side, none of this would be possible.’
Plain English board-level briefings focused on technology strategies to deliver competitive advantage and business success.
You can unsubscribe at any time.
Call us on 0203 020 1864 with any questions.
Co-Founder and Director