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"An Ongoing Process"
Wading through the world of IT can be a minefield if you’re not in the know.
And that’s how Highland Industrial Supplies (HIS) felt when they reached out to ITP Solutions.
For over 35 years, the family-run business has provided power tools, ironmongery, workwear, and hygiene and catering equipment to businesses across Scotland. More recently, the firm has also diversified into homeware, equestrian equipment, agricultural supplies and fencing.
From its headquarters and flagship outlet in Inverness, HIS services the whole of Scotland – operating a further six stores from Orkney to Perth, as well as a thriving e-commerce platform.
But while the team at HIS know their stuff when it comes to the trade, they realised that for the business to thrive they needed outside help.
A comprehensive service
“ITP looks after all our IT for us,” said HIS’s John Mackay, “from networking to our ecommerce site. We have a lot of bespoke software for sales, stock levels, processing orders… and they have created it all for us.”
John Mackay, Highland Industrial Supplies
Over the years, ITP has developed a number of software and hardware solutions for HIS – including POS systems, bespoke customer management and order processing systems, and server and networking solutions.
More recently, ITP has worked with HIS to ensure the retailer stays at the forefront of the industry – from a custom E-commerce website that integrates seamlessly with the firm’s in-store stock levels to the latest sign-on-glass technology, ITP is keeping them one step ahead of the competition.
“Things would be very difficult for us without ITP Solutions. We rely on them a lot. They’re very quick to respond, and they always get everything up and running again as soon as possible.”
Starting with the basics, the team at ITP got to know HIS’s business intimately, learning everything there was to know about the way they worked. Only then could they deliver exactly what HIS needed.
John said: “With ITP, it’s always a collaborative process. We go to them with things we want to implement and they come back with suggestions and a plan for how things should go. They know the ins and outs of what we do, and definitely understand our business. They know how all our processes work – and more importantly, how to improve them.
“They are with you throughout the process, whatever they’re working on. They answer every question we have, and come on site to deliver tutorials if we need them.”
John said: “The biggest project I’ve worked with ITP on is our website. They designed and developed everything from the ground up, and it was a hugely involved project with almost weekly meetings and updates.
“Every week they were able to come back to us with something new, and they were always open to discussion about new features and functionalities we needed.”
As well as providing an attractive online sales space for HIS’s product range, the new website allowed the firm to automate a number of its processes – making the team more efficient in the process.
“Our stock levels are now synchronised with our website,” said John, “meaning that customers have a better idea of what is available at any time. It’s saved us a huge amount of admin time, as someone used to have to manually update our old website.”
ITP’s most recent collaboration with HIS involved the upgrade of a decades-old paper-based system, where trade customers had to sign two hard copies of a form – one of which they took away, and the other which was filed.
Digitising the process, ITP has developed and implemented a new sign-on-glass system throughout the business which has improved efficiency and cut down on waste.
“The staff on the counters can’t talk highly enough about the new sign-on-glass system. They think it’s fantastic,” explained John.
“Within a couple of months of our initial conversation, ITP had developed a solution and integrated it into our POS system. We’re able to cut back on paper usage and keep everything together digitally, saving us space where we used to have folders and printers.”
As well as designing and installing the new system, ITP provided training on the use of the technology… and is committed to continually improving its use with HIS.
John said: “We have some people who are a bit IT illiterate. But everyone at ITP knows how to speak to people and explain things in terms everyone understands. It’s a huge help.
“What’s been great, too, is that this is an ongoing process. We’re always talking to ITP about improvements that can be made – every time we discuss it, the team comes back with updates and new features to meet our needs, that we can test and continue to tweak.
“The rollout has been so successful, we’re now working with ITP to introduce a similar system on tablets for our delivery drivers.”
“I would 100% recommend any business to work with ITP for there IT support and development. They get to know your company, understand how you work – all the processes and all the roles – and really get to grips with what a company needs.
“That understanding really sets them apart. They know what we do, and what we expect from them – and they let us know what they need from us to succeed. Having that shorthand means we can go to them with a problem and they know exactly what we mean, so it makes the whole problem solving process quicker.
“Plus, they’re just a great bunch of people – very friendly and helpful at all times.”