European Heritage has completed a new project, supported by K8 software from Kerridge, at its Fulham showroom.
European Heritage is a family business specialising in the supply of natural stone, porcelain and ceramic tiles – plus associated building materials such as under-floor heating systems, grouts and adhesives. Most of the products sold are imported from Italy.
According to general manager, Jonathan Nanson, what differentiates the company from its competitors is its high standard of customer service, the expertise of its staff and its extensive and impressive range of high quality products. “We have a very low turnover of staff and, having been based in Fulham for around 20 years, we’re very much part of the social fabric of the community,” he says.
Additional showroom space has been created by the recent development of the company’s period building’s extensive basement, which has provided an astonishing labyrinth of floor and wall space on which to display large format products in varying sizes, colours and finishes.
European Heritage started using K8 software around 12 years ago. Before then the company was using a typical system of individual tills and carbon copy paperwork. “Error comes with paperwork,” remembered Jonathan, “and technology was moving on. The Tile Association recommended we look at K8, as it had been designed to manage the type of products we sell.”
Today there are 18 members of staff using K8 at European Heritage. “Our sales team find it smooth and simple to use and it quickly becomes second nature to new staff,” says Jonathan. “They can find products on the system quickly, what customers have ordered in the past – and from what batch – as everything gets recorded in the system.”
As any tile supplier knows being able to record batch information is crucial to ensure any variance within product ranges is managed. “We demand from factories that their materials
are batched or we won’t deal with them,” said Jonathan. “K8 enables us to reference the batches as they are logged in to our depot which has a knock-on effect as the products are sold, picked, prepared and delivered so products from two different batches never go out together.”
The sophisticated reporting within K8 has helped the purchasing manager at European Heritage to make informed decisions and to buy more efficiently. All products are sub-categorised and tagged in the system so sales trends can be closely analysed. Jonathan also extracts data from the system to analyse the margin performance of individual sales staff.
Customers make a lot of decisions as they walk around a showroom and Jonathan said that using the mobile capability of K8 helps create a really ‘fluid atmosphere’ in which to process any transaction.
“This was really big for us and we started to access K8 on a tablet as soon as we could. As we walk round the showroom with a customer, we can start to input their details, build the order and check stock availability. It’s also easier for the sales person who is trying to construct, design-wise, what will work with what, depending on what’s available. Before, we had to take notes on a clipboard, then maybe call the customer back to tell them what they wanted was unavailable – and risk them losing interest. Using the tablet in the showroom, we can also switch from checking stock in K8 to showing customers our images on the design platform, Houzz.”
Jonathan said they are determined to stay at the forefront of their K8 system. Using the sophisticated reporting and batch control functionality, as well as mobile technology, is also helping them keep one step ahead of the competition. “K8 is the lifeblood of our business,” he said. “We’re determined to get the most out of it.”