In partnership with Datel, Armstrong Richardson, one of the UK’s leading equestrian and pet wholesalers to commercial and domestic markets, recently implemented Fusion eStore, an add-on product from Datel’s Fusion suite, as part of their Sage 1000 business management system.
Armstrong Richardson began trading in 1925 as suppliers of farm feeds and fertilizer to local farmers. By 1995, the business started wholesaling pet and horse feed across the North of England from a repurposed mill in Stokesley. The business rapidly grew its presence nationwide and relocated in 2007 to a purpose-built office and 50,000 squarefoot warehouse, which accommodates an expanding range of 12,000 products.
Armstrong Richardson has been working with Datel for over ten years, and is currently using a Sage 1000 solution implemented and supported by the business. In addition, they use the add-on product Fusion Enhancer from Datel’s growing range of products within the Fusion suite.
Mark Jones, Managing Director at Armstrong Richardson, explains the circumstances that led to the implementation of their new Fusion eStore solution with Datel: “As a wholesaler, we have a wide range of customers who take a wide range of stock from our two websites: AR Wholesale for B2B, and our B2C website. We felt there was an opportunity to be more efficient, so that our customers would be able to place orders 24 hours a day with us and also have better visibility of our stock holding.
“The business was also in a position where there was a lack of integration between our ecommerce platform, Magento, and our Sage solution, which meant that a lot of tasks and operations in-house were taking much longer than they needed to. For example, an order placed on the online platform previously came as an email, was printed out, and finally keyed into Sage. So, we wanted to automate that process by finding a solution that would fully-integrate our Magento platform and Sage software.”
Mark explains the process that took place to find a new solution: “In terms of making this happen, we knew that we would need a new ecommerce software solution. We contacted Magento for their advice, and were told about a new version of the platform which would meet our needs. We received free upgrades to new versions as part of our contract with Magento, but the cost of moving the site onto the new version was going to be very significant, as well as the ongoing overall running costs of continuing to use a Magento platform.
“We started looking at various different options. We spent some time talking to Datel, as Magento’s solution was exacerbating our running costs, and there was still no guarantee that their proposed solution would work. That was when Datel first proposed the Fusion eStore solution, a fully joined-up system including all of the functionality we needed from Sage 1000 and our eCommerce.
“We’re hoping to achieve significant cost savings by having more integration within our systems, rather than running two separate sites on different platforms. This is in addition to reducing the number of hours our sales staff and account managers spend conducting manual tasks; allowing us to put more focus on profitable areas of the business.
“I’m keen in the coming months to see how the trend changes in the number of customers ordering online versus customers ringing up and placing an order. This will be a more efficient way for our customers to place orders and it should increase the number of online orders being made.”
Speaking about the quality of the product and service the business has received from Datel, Mark concludes: “A key benefit of working with Datel is if there are any issues, we would only need to contact our account manager; there wouldn’t be a separate point of contact for our hosting, so the process of maintaining the websites will be much more efficient.
“Throughout the implementation process, Datel has been responsive and proactive whenever we have had an issue, and keen to resolve it as quickly as possible. The level of service and solution from Datel is good, and I’m very happy with it.”
For Datel, Account Director Andrew Pritchard comments: “We are delighted that Mark chose Datel to provide Armstrong Richardson with the tools needed for the business to evolve through its B2B and B2C channels. Fusion eStore is designed specifically to provide cost, time and efficiency savings by integrating Sage with eCommerce functions, and we are looking forward to seeing these positive results following Datel’s successful implementation of the software.”