The first Sussex Beds was opened in 1981 by John and Sandra Pickering in southeast of England. Today, it remains a family business with thirteen stores across the region. Its success is due in no small part to their great products, excellent customer service, and knowledgeable staff.
Recently the business found itself at a crossroads. Management devised an ambitious ten-year plan to have 80 stores in total and to increase their £10M ($12.2M) turnover per annum to £100M ($122M). The plan included a clear strategy and achievable annual targets. But they realized their IT and technology would not support their ambitions.
Sussex Beds engaged Freeman Clarke IT Director Les Davidson to align the business’s technology with its strategic objectives—namely, to provide a platform for growth while ensuring the highest levels of customer satisfaction.
Freeman Clarke quickly found ways of increasing efficiency. One important move will be to replace the old business systems provided by multiple versions of SAGE with one streamlined solution from NetSuite. This consolidation will make it much easier to access information across the business, and management will no longer have to manually consolidate data at the end of each month.
Freeman Clarke also identified ways to improve customer service after the sale. If a customer calls with a question, service reps struggle to access an order, and customers lack a way to track their delivery. The new system will be transformative, making it much easier and quicker to answer questions. And Freeman Clarke is working closely with the business to implement an additional innovation: real-time delivery updates, which will further improve customer service.
In the past, the delivery of IT support was overseen by Finance Director Matt Pickering. Freeman Clarke managed the selection and onboarding of a new IT service provider, to both enhance cyber security and allow the FD to focus on the business transformation—reducing the pressure on him while reducing risk for the business.
Currently Sussex Beds is poised for growth. Their Freeman Clarke IT leader has developed a technology roadmap to support the ongoing business transformation and is working closely with the C-suite as part of its steering committee, providing guidance and IT leadership.
With the help of a Freeman Clarke IT leader, Sussex Beds is looking forward to achieving its ambitions while maintaining its focus on their customers.
“Freeman Clarke is extraordinarily beneficial in helping us evaluate what the business needs, what systems are available, and how to assess suppliers. It’s been a revelation, and we’re avoiding so many potential problems having a Freeman Clarke IT leader on our team.”
— MD Steve Pickering
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