Established in 1959, Redditch-based Industrial Switchgear Ltd has been manufacturing electricity distribution and control apparatus for almost 60 years, and chairman Graham Poole has been there for almost all of them. With a turnover of £1.1m, it employs 23 staff.
With a small customer base, the company is immediately exposed to risk as it is difficult to pursue new business without diverting thefocus away from existing customers. Typically, it takes somewhere between six to twelve months to bring in new business – a time resource Industrial Switchgear Ltd can ill afford, especially with existing management systems in place.
Coupled with the need to attract new customers, the directors feel the firm is compromised going forward by not possessing all of the quality processes they would wish to have.
Assisted by an advisor attached to the Worcestershire Business Accelerator Programme (WBA), company director David Lincoln-Lewis applied for a grant from to allow for the purchase of an Enterprise Resource Planning Tool (ERP) which has transformed many of the mundane daily processes and proved invaluable towards improving efficiency. The ERP is an all-encompassing business tool that covers lead development, CRM, stock management, productivity management, and integrated finance which allows for more clarity in pricing. It means managers take ownership of tasks with complete transparency.
The ERP has also allowed Industrial Switchgear Ltd to effectively manage staff more efficiently, giving them the time and resources to look at pursuing more business. The grant is in addition to previous assistance from the Worcestershire Business Accelerator Programme which gave them access to management training during a riskheavy period of transition. The WBA programme is managed by Worcestershire County Council, and delivered by BizSmart Ltd.
The Worcestershire County Council support received by Industrial Switchgear has, according to director David Lincoln-Lewis, injected a huge confidence boost to the business.
“The ERP has given us that confidence, and we can now continue to on existing clients as well as pursuing new business,” he says. “In our business there are a lot of conversations about British Standards, and the work we have done with the council’s Business Support Programme allows us to invest in those Standards. The help we’ve had has been extremely effective and welcome. “In the past we’ve also had the benefit of some management training, which worked very well for us when we’ve been in a transitional process. “It’s a valuable resource for small businesses and we’ll certainly not be hesitating to use it again in the future.”
Meanwhile, as a direct result of the Worcestershire Business Accelerator Programme grant being invested in the ERP tool, the company is expecting to take on an extra four employees over the next two years.