Based in Cradley Heath, West Midlands, A. Perry & Co. is a family owned and run company established in 1925 by Arthur Perry, who started out by making steel gutter brackets and hinges. After years of growth and acquisitions, 2017 saw A. Perry reach new horizons as they moved from their 50,000 square foot premises to a new 90,000 square feet factory, warehouse and office space, spread across more than five acres of land.
With over 80 staff, A. Perry is now the largest supplier and manufacturer of Hinges, Ironmongery, Chain and Threaded Bar in the UK, supplying customers in Europe and the rest of the world. The additional space secures A. Perry future growth by increasing their storage capacity and distribution facilities. With extensively high volume import operations maintaining their large stock holding and a continually enhanced product range of 15,000+ items, A. Perry are able to provide excellent choice, value and fast delivery to their customers.
The company implemented their OrderWise Business Management Solution back in 2012 with the need to move away from bespoke packages, achieve growth and unlock their true capabilities. To see how OrderWise has helped A. Perry with their growth over the last few years, the two directors of the company, Guy & Chris Perry, as well as other key department managers within the business explain their experience of using a complete End-To-End OrderWise solution.
Over several years, A. Perry had spent a vast amount of money adding bespoke modules to their previous system, which had resulted in integration issues as each new piece of development did not fully integrate with the last. What’s worse, having commissioned a number of bespoke developments to their system to meet the company’s requirements they still found they could not attain the level of functionality needed to efficiently manage their ever-growing operational activity.
Internal Sales and Customer Manager, Patrick Corcoran recalled, “Our system couldn’t cater for the volume of orders we were getting, it was all very manual”. Accounts Manager, Will Dougan, added to this, saying “We found that the existing system was very static, we couldn’t manipulate the data at all.” Eventually it became clear that A. Perry needed to look at alternative options, with Director Guy Perry commenting that, “If we carried on down the bespoke route we would never get to the end of it.”
Hence, A. Perry identified key requirements for a new warehouse management, sales, manufacturing and procurement system, with the option to add further solutions for each area of the business as and when it’s required. Guy said, “We wanted one system that would be able to go from taking orders all the way through to integrating with our warehouse, manufacturing and reordering systems”. Chris Perry on the results of their search said:
“We looked at many software systems, but we found OrderWise to be the most complete as a package.”
Sales Order Management
For over five years now, OrderWise has provided A. Perry & Co. with a complete end-to-end system that delivers a level of integration and business control beyond any of their initial expectations. By solving the needs of each individual area in the business where a requirement had been identified, OrderWise has significantly improved processes and operations throughout the company.
Patrick Corcoran spoke about the improvements to his departmental operations, saying: “Typically, we receive sales orders on a daily basis through numerous different ways – telephone, fax, email, online orders as well which come through our website. In an average month, we take something in the region between 600-800 orders.”
“OrderWise has brought us on leaps and bounds really as a sales force. Simple things like knowing exactly what stock quantities you have got on the shelves, the true margins that you are making and the overall ease of just putting an order onto the system. We have become a lot more proactive as a company and as a sales force too. 5-6 people used to enter orders and quotes all day long, we have now trimmed that down to one person entering orders, allowing the other guys free on the phone to take enquiries.”
When asked to identify OrderWise’s biggest advantage, Patrick replied “They work with us – we give them ideas, they will develop them, we bounce them against each other, and we all come together with a better solution going forward to suit our needs. That’s the real big advantage of a package like what OrderWise can offer.”
However, it is not just on the order processing side that A. Perry have seen significant improvements but within their daily warehouse operations too. Ashley Armstrong, Operations Manager at A. Perry, said: “We process around 200 orders a day, which is around 1,000 lines and anything between 18-20 tonnes of stock. OrderWise has made us a lot more efficient, we now pick on the handsets and we go around in a specific walk route.
“Just in tonnage alone, we on a record day on the old system would pick around 3.5 tonne. On the OrderWise system, our record day is 11.5 tonne for one picker. Our error percentage has dramatically reduced too, across over 19,000 lines dispatched last month using the OrderWise system we had an error rate of 0.002%.”
On the financials side, it was a big decision for A. Perry to move management from their traditional Accounts software, over to OrderWise’s own integrated Accounts module. However Will Dougan, Accounts Manager for A. Perry, described how having one single system has helped their internal visibility.
He said: “The biggest change with OrderWise is the usability, as we are able to use one software package rather than three separate ones. We use it for CRM functions, for the debt chasing and viewing customer accounts. By having the software on one system, it allows you to talk to different departments, without actually having to! We can see what purchase orders have been placed and the payment terms that are connected to that – so it all just connects really well.”
Integrated eCommerce Website
More recently, A. Perry decided to extend the level of integration within their business processes by getting a brand new eCommerce website professionally designed and developed by the OrderWise team. Director Chris Perry said: “We had a standalone website before, but again it needed changing and it needed to be something that spoke to OrderWise. Obviously when we found out that OrderWise had their own website team we jumped on it.”
Guy Perry added: “It’s all about integration, that’s the most important thing. Now you can take an order on the website (www.perrytrade.co.uk) and it will go all the way through to actually being picked and invoiced, all in one simple process.”
Ongoing Business Support
For a business like A. Perry, where the complexity of their daily processes can greatly vary from day-to-day, it is important to receive a level of support that is best suited to meet their demands. Almost in unison, Chris and Guy said: “From the support side, that’s probably one of OrderWise’s greatest strengths, 100%.” Chris then continued by saying: “The relationship that we’ve built with OrderWise from day one has been phenomenal and I think that is because of the care and attention that OrderWise gives us.” Guy added: “A lot of support before we went live to make sure that we understood how it was all going to work, full training – so going live they were very, very keen to make sure it worked properly.
“On a daily basis, if we have any issues, we need to do something different or we want to talk to someone, we just pick the phone up, send an email and the resulting support is just superb.”
Guy Perry then concluded by saying: “The thing that we found OrderWise are great for, are helping us develop as a joint partner; we don’t look at OrderWise as just a supplier. For us, OrderWise are a partnership, who work very, very closely with us. They come up with some fantastic ideas and they help us to continue to grow.”
In terms of the future, A. Perry & Co. aims to continue to grow the business by further streamlining their manufacturing, moving into different markets, expanding their product range and ultimately doubling their turnover over the next 5-7 years. OrderWise looks forward to supporting the company going forward.