Headlam markets, supplies and distributes an extensive range of floorcovering products to independent flooring retailers and contractors throughout the UK, France, Switzerland and the Netherlands.
Headlam approached Gould Hall in 1991 to develop a computer solution in preparation for their entry into the Floorcoverings market. At that time they were a Fabrics based company. Over the last 22 years the company has divested itself of all the Fabrics businesses and has acquired over 50 Floorcoverings companies.
The group's operational strategy is aimed at providing its customers with a comprehensive and up to date range of competitively priced floorcovering products supported by a next day delivery service.
The implementation of this strategy provides Headlam's suppliers with an opportunity to achieve unparalleled market access backed by cost effective distribution.
In order to provide this level of service, Headlam has developed a diverse and autonomous operating structure which includes 52 businesses across the UK and a further five in continental Europe.
The autonomous operating structure is a key contributor to the group's success since it provides an opportunity for experienced management teams to develop the individual identity, market presence and profitability of the business for which they are responsible.
Each business is supported by the group's continuing commitment to investment in people, product, operating facilities and IT. This commitment has underpinned the group's overall development and enabled it to grow into Europe's leading floorcovering distributor.
Gould Hall provides a ‘facilities management’ service to the Headlam group and in addition to developing and supporting all the software used within the business we also manage all their equipment and networks.
The 52 UK based companies trade from over 20 regional warehouses with additional Sales Offices all around the country. Their business in France operates from two distribution centres and 21 service centres and the businesses in Switzerland and the Netherlands each operate from a single distribution centre. All five businesses on the Continent offer an extensive range of products providing full national coverage across their respective countries.
All these businesses operate the Gould Hall ERP solution.
Whilst each business trades separately, the Gould Hall financial systems provide consolidation across the group.
Each warehouse is fully barcoded and the use of Radio Terminals and Radio Printers provides real-time stock control and tracking. The fork-lift trucks have terminals which direct them to the appropriate picking locations in order to select the best roll of carpet to optimize/reduce wastage, the ‘cutting bridges’ are linked into the system to enable them to automatically cut the carpet to size for the order and the ‘sortation machinery’ is integrated to enable the order to be placed in the correct ‘van’ or ‘container’ location for ultimate delivery.
Headlam were pioneers in the development of www.yourfloors.co.uk a web site for the sale of Carpet and Floorcoverings to the public. They signed up thousands of retailers and provided them with the ability to have their own e-commerce offering.
The site was developed by Gould Hall and links in real-time to the back-office warehousing and accounts system, allowing a member of the public to purchase floorcoverings from their local shop. The order is entered into the back-office system as if the retailer had placed the order directly on Headlam for delivery to their customer.
Gould Hall had provided web ordering facilities for Headlam’s Retailers and Fitters for many years, and this new web site allows the operation to be extended one step further.
Headlam also supply Floorcoverings to many of the High Street retailers. This is mainly done via EDI links developed by Gould Hall, but is also available through some of our web based routines.
The most recent development in the Headlam software catalogue is the introduction of a IPAD based app for their CRM system. Over the years Gould Hall had developed the software on a number of different platforms. An IPAQ linked to a mobile phone was the first offering. This was then replaced by a smart phone based solution and then a web based CRM offering.
The app has proven very successful and is now in operation across 350 sales representatives, with a further 100 sales mangers about to be added.
A recent Headlam Report stated
"The introduction of iPads, in conjunction with the development of bespoke software, has given our sales people improved visibility of real time customer data, the ability to access stock files to place orders and provides an immediate flow of information on customer visits to our sales managers. Our businesses’ extensive marketing literature and display information can be contained within the iPad for efficient demonstration to our customers.
We have launched the iPad initiative in the Netherlands and intend to extend it to France and Switzerland."
Gould Hall expects there will be continual development in the production of further apps.
The Headlam Group are Europe’s largest distributor of Floorcoverings. Gould Hall have been supporting and developing all Headlam’s Software, Hardware and Networking systems since 1991. The company has grown from £0 turnover (Floorcoverings) in 1991 to nearly £600million turnover (Floorcoverings – 2012)
There are around 20 large warehouses around the country, the Head Office will be the largest and is currently being extended from 159,000 sq ft to 284,000 sq ft.
Headlam operate in the UK via 52 different trading businesses. All these business are linked together in a national network provided by Gould Hall (in association with BT). The businesses all trade independently via the bespoke Gould Hall ERP systems and the financial statistics are consolidated for Group Reporting.
Headlam also trade through 5 additional companies in France, Switzerland and the Netherlands.
Gould Hall provides multi-lingual versions of the UK ERP system for each of these sites.
Nearly 4 million orders were handled by the Gould Hall system in 2011.
Customers include Carpet Fitters, Small to Medium Retailers, and Large National Retailers to companies like B&Q, DFS and John Lewis.
Each warehouse is fully barcoded. Orders are processed in a 'paperless' Fashion until a despatch note is required. Order are presented to Warehouse staff by means of radio terminals or truck based ipads.
Everything is confirmed by barcode.
RF tags have been introduced into the Rugs warehouse.
Cutting machines have been integrated into the ERP system to provide a fully integrated system.
The computers tell the fork lift operators what stock to pick via the on-board Wireless unit. This is connected in real-time to the Gould Hall system. The location and the pick are confirmed by barcode scans.
After a roll is cut to the size required by the order, a delivery document is printed and attached to the carpet. This carpet then passes along a conveyor belt and is scanned using a gigantic barcode reader connected to the Gould Hall system. This barcode is deciphered and in the example above, the Post Code of the order is analysed and the roll is diverted into a container for National delivery. In the example below, each order is analysed for van delivery so the sortation is that much more refined
The Gould Hall computer system attempts to optimize all van deliveries
In conjunction with Headlam, Gould Hall has developed an IPAD app to handle the CRM requirements for the 350 sales reps and the 100 sales managers. What started off as a web based application has been totally reworked into a native app and successfully rolled out to the salesforce.
In 2008 Headlam and Gould Hall launched the first major national e-commerce floorcoverings web site, signing up nearly 2000 retailers. www.yourfloors.co.uk was a portal where a member of the public could request a 'sample' and place and order. The customer was able to choose a 'local' retailer from one of the closest registered shops to their post code.
The web site was nominated for 'website of the year' in 2009.
Gould Hall built the website and connected it in real-time to the Gould Hall ERP systems controlling the warehousing and stock control. Headlam provided Gould Hall with the 'creative' content.
The e-commerce system enabled customers to request samples to be delivered to their homes free of charge,
Once a customer had decided to order a sample or place a proper order, they were directed to one of the 2,000 retailer sites hosted by Gould Hall. These were simply branded sub-sites.
The latest development between Headlam and Gould Hall is that of LifeStyle Floors.When a retailer signs up to LifeStyle Floors they purchase a set of Point of Sales equipment for their shop. These stands are maintained by ‘merchandisers’ to reflect the latest products on offer. The web site enables the customer to find their nearest Lifestyle retailer and order samples.
The LifeStyle brand has been a major investment by Headlam and is supported by a Gould Hall developed IPAD app which enabled the merchandisers to manage their visits to the shops etc.
Flowtechnology UK is the Premier Fluid Power Catalogue provider within the UK. Since 1983, they have built a reputation as a distribution innovator in the Fluid Power Industry and have supported customers throughout the UK by endeavouring to be a valued resource for Globally Sourced Products, Technical Knowledge and Incomparable Customer Support.
They are the only supplier in their industry to deliver next day with all orders placed up to 10pm*. All orders are consolidated into one consignment, no matter how many times a client orders throughout the day. They can even deliver directly to their client’s customer using their renowned FT Express operation.
Gould Hall has been providing the IT systems and services that support the business since 1997.
Their IT operation has grown from an early standard Order Processing and Stock Control system integrated with a full set of financial modules into a bespoke multi-channel ERP system complete with e-commerce platform and catalogue management system.
The company has invested heavily in systems to enable them to support their No. 1 for service promise. Their large warehouse in Skelmersdale boasts the largest installation of Kardex Automated Storage and Retrieval Systems of their kind.
Gould Hall was able to integrate these ASRS units into the warehousing and stock control system to provide a seamless link with the rest of the operation.
The mixture of products and product types within the warehouse is considerable. Their primary product ranges are Hydraulics, Pneumatics and Industrial. Their product offering comprises approximately 48,000 catalogue items, with access to over 1,000,000 products in total via their supplier base. They will have as many as 60,000 product lines available at any one time.
FlowtechnologyUK sell their products through Distributors and Stockists. They support these ‘resellers’ via their printed Catalogue which is ‘branded’ on behalf of the distributors. Each distributor can purchase catalogues that have their own corporate branding containing ‘list’ prices. In addition to the catalogue each distributor can have an Internet Trading Site (ITS) which mirrors the catalogue and provides each distributor with their own e-commerce offering.
Gould Hall developed an underlying Catalogue Management System that links the graphical/creative product to the back-office database and e-commerce database. We also developed the real-time e-commerce system that allows the hundreds of distributors to place their orders with FlowtechnologyUK in order to take advantage of the order by 10pm for next day deliver – promise. The real-time element is especially important when reserving stock against a ‘basket’ of goods when stock is constantly being picked/updated in the warehouse.
The design of the e-commerce web site is a joint venture between the creative services department of FlowtechnologyUK and the web developers at Gould Hall, with the ‘branding’ all being supplied by the customer.
The ITS offering that FlowtechnologyUK has provided it’s distributors with has also been developed by Gould Hall and allows the distributor to provide the same service offering to their customers that FlowtechnologyUK offers to it’s customers. The FTExpress service means that an order placed on the distributor website will be passed directly through to FlowtechnologyUk’s warehouse for picking. It will then be prepared and packed with the appropriate paperwork as though it had come directly from the distributor.
This technology and software is all provided by Gould Hall as a fully managed service. We have also provided a similar service for the FlowtechnologyBenelux operation in the Netherlands.
FlowtechnologyUK are the Premier Catalogue Provider for Fluid Power products within the UK. Gould Hall has been providing their IT services and software for over 15 years with a bespoke ERP system.
FlowtechnologyUK currently offer over 48,000 catalogue items with access to over 1 million products in total via their supplier base.
The GH Distributor system manages their entire warehouse operation and integrates Automated Storage and Retrieval Systems with Wireless RF Handheld Barcode scanners and printers.
Call centre staff are able to take orders and enquire as to stock availability in real-time, having access to all the customers’ order history and account information
The warehouse is fully barcoded and is split into various picking and replenishment zones. The Gould Hall software manages all the picking and replenishment requirements, a common process each day is for the mornings to be taken up with Stock put-aways and Pick Face Replenishments with the afternoons and evenings concentrating on picking.
An impressive installation of over a dozen 13 metre Automated Storage And Retrieval (ASRS) lift systems help FlowtechnologyUK maintain their No. for Service promise. Each unit contains thousands of stock locations and can deliver a stock shelf in 30 seconds from request. These units are fully integrated into the Gould Hall stock control and warehousing system.
The shelves in a lift system can be configured in many different ways. The location that requires attention is highlighted by the use of lights at the front of the shelf. This is all controlled with the stock system.
FlowtechnologyUK offer an unrivalled service to their customers. Not only can they promise ‘Order by 10pm for next day delivery’ to their customers, but they can promise the same service to their customers’ customers. A 'plain wrap' service is available, with Delivery Notes personalised with the Client's logo etc.
Gould Hall has also developed the FlowtechnologyUK eCommerce web site. The artwork was supplied by FlowtechnologyUK and Gould Hall have created a 'real-time' eCommerce offering which ensures that items are reserved immediately to ensure that if a customer requires x items in their delivery they will get those x items. All warehouse and back office programs use the same ‘real-time’ processes. The web site reflects the Catalogue produced annually.
The Catalogue is the back bone to the whole setup. The catalogue is available to stockists in a FlowtechnologyUK branded form, and to the Distributors in an 'own' branded form, with a competition held each year to identify the best catalogue cover design. Gould Hall's Catalogue Management Software is the key in linking the Printed Catalogue to the Web database and the Back Office database. That way GH Distributor updates the Catalogue with the latest prices and the Catalogue system updates GH Distributor with the page number that the item appears in.
The web provides each customer with their 'own' pricing on-line and provides technical information as well as pricing and stock availability. If an 'unregistered' user were to browse the site they would only see list prices and have no access to stock availability.
(FlowtechnologyUK only sell through resellers and stockists)
Gould Hall has also produced a similar system for FlowtechnologyBenelux based in the Netherlands. We have also written systems for their operations in Eastern Europe and China.
Distributors of FlowtechnologyUK not only have access to the catalogue but are able to take advantage of having their own branded web sites. Gould Hall have provided over 150 branded web sites to the Distributors, allowing them to take orders 24 hours a day and offer their customers the ‘order by 10pm for next day’ delivery option. (FT Express)
The ITS (Internet Trading Sites) developed by Gould Hall and provided by FlowtechnologyUK allow the Distributors to tailor their own sites in terms of colours, content and logos.
Gould Hall have developed a number of different web sites for the Flowtechnology group of companies and this includes web sites in multiple languages.
Vitassem is another Group company, Gould Hall have developed a Hose Builder program for them allowing the configuration of bespoke hoses.
ToxicFox are a young vibrant online Gift etailer with over 6,000 different product lines, the majority of which may be personalised.
Orders are taken from the web site and along with EBAY and AMAZON orders are then imported into the OSCAR back-office system via regular automated ftp routines. These orders are collated within the OSCAR system and then ‘batched’ for production.
The majority of the orders are processed in-house where the non-personalised stock orders are picked the ‘same-day’ as the orders are received. Personalised items are sorted into batches dependent on their production type. Some of the items are not produced in-house and are sent electronically to the supplier along with their artwork. Many of the items are hand-painted ‘on the premises’ and as such need careful tracking and control.
The production process is managed within OSCAR and tracked by the use of bar codes and scanners throughout the operation. This enables customer services to track where the order is within the fulfilment process.
OSCAR manages the whole order processing, stock control and production processing.
ToxicFox has a unique Brand known as Claireabella which involves customers personalising their own caricatures to appear on a range of products from hand painted Jute bags through to phone covers and luggage.
The ClaireaBella brand is a favourite with celebrities and can be found on many different product offerings.
Albany Products is a Rochdale company that supplies the major supermarkets with 'special offer' products that are not available via the supermarkets' normal chain of supply. These products may only be available for a short period of time or have a limited supply.
Gould Hall has developed sophisticated software that enables Albany to receive Product Offers from multiple suppliers and import them into a 'standard' database for further processing. These offers are 'updated' for distribution and are passed through to the relevant buyers at each of the clients.
Deals are made on a 'first-come-first-served' basis and the speed of turnaround is paramount. Due to the volume of transactions, managing cash-flow is essential. Cash flow reporting is provided within the system.
Orders are placed on the supplier when deals with the clients have been agreed. In certain circumstances goods are purchased by Albany for stock. The company is then able to offer these goods to satisfy ad-hoc and more long term demand.
The offers and orders system is fully integrated into the back-office stock control and accounting system saving duplication of effort and reducing input errors, it also contains a 2-way interface to the logistics company that manages the various Albany warehouses.
EDI interfaces have been set up with each of the major clients to enable the integration of orders and invoices. A full data audit is held by the system to allow the 'traders' at Albany to view every offer and deal ever made with a client. They can see what prices have been offered before, what deals were agreed and at what margin etc, This visibility of data enables them to negotiate the best possible deal on the day.
Albany has also adopted the award winning IntuitiveBI Dashboard Software to assist them with the database interrogation and analysis. Gould Hall has set the back office system to send 'feeds' to the dashboards regularly throughout the day.