A very successful family business, Harrod UK Ltd, was founded by current chairman Ron Harrod in 1954. The initial focus was sports equipment, particularly goal posts and nets using experience initially gained from repairing fishing nets in Lowestoft. Equipment is today made for a vast range of sports and Harrod UK was an official supplier to the UEFA Championships League Final in 2013, the London 2012 Olympic Games, Rugby Union World Cup in 2011 and the Commonwealth Games in India in 2010. It is also official supplier to Wembley Stadium and St Georges Park and has equipment used by a host of Premier League clubs. The similarity in requirements between goal nets and crop protection enclosures was not lost on the company and Harrod Horticultural was formed in 2003 to leverage the technology developed producing football goals into producing crop protection enclosures for the horticultural industry and home gardener.
Today Harrod Horticultural has become a market leading multi-channel mail order retailer in the gardening sector, supplying hardware products to grow your own, including fruit cages and raised beds, and ornate structures for the ornamental garden such as arches and pergolas. The brand has an enviable reputation for garden product design and high quality UK manufacturing, constantly innovating to achieve differentiation in the market place. This includes the ability to provide made to measure and custom garden product solutions too. With product endorsement by the RHS, the House Beautiful award for Best Garden Product Category 2013 and many commendations for trade exhibits at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show, the standards for both product and retailing are high that has contributed to the on-going success story.
The IT requirements for the company have changed significantly as the business has evolved. Interestingly, Harrod Horticultural met up with MNP some years ago but at the time decided that their pending business changes had to be completed before overhauling the IT infrastructure but the company came back to MNP when choosing their Order Management and Warehouse Management solutions.
In 2009 when they came to select new systems, the company was experiencing significant problems with the control of customer orders, with some orders frequently disappearing from the radar resulting in frustrated customers. This situation was unsustainable and Harrod turned to MNP and the ActiveSeries Suite for help. The MNP OrderActive Management System (OMS) was installed and there were some initial problems which required support from MNP. Once stability was achieved, the control the company needed was obtained to the delight of customers and Harrod staff who had the more pleasant job of pleasing their customers rather than firefighting to get the orders out!
Live with MNP since 2007
User of OrderActive, WMSActive and PSMActive
Processing over 1000 orders a day through MNP systems
Excellent inventory usage and accurate projected delivery dates
New product design and development cycle times have been reduced using PSMActive by sharing information and collaborating across internal departments, overseas offices and external partners
Accurate stock information is available to customers giving a seamless fulfilment experience
Integrated with PayPal offering customers a quick and simple check out method, increasing the likelihood of repeat buying
We can now handle in excess of 1000 customer orders per day with ease and productivity per staff member is higher.
At the same time as the Order Management System was implemented to control the flow of Customer orders, the MNP WMSActive Warehouse Management System (WMS) was also implemented to improve inventory control. As they both come from the MNP stable, these systems were of course fully integrated but in addition the integration tools with other systems improved the accurate flow of data. Duncan Harrod, IT Manager comments “One of the most vital aspects in providing the service levels our customers want and deserve is to ensure complete integrity of the data flowing throughout the supply chain. The MNP systems are fully integrated but also ensure timely and accurate data flows to and from our web shop system. We are delighted with the improved performance this has given us.”
The implementation of the WMS gave Harrod some further benefits. Carl Green, Operations Manager explains, “We are currently using the paper picking capabilities of the MNP WMS and this has already improved efficiency by providing reliable information requiring less re-work and resulting in more rapid servicing of customer orders. We can now handle in excess of 1000 customer orders per day with ease and productivity per staff member is higher.”
Of course the business does not stand still and is constantly seeking ways to further improve the service to its customers. Duncan Harrod adds “One of the key benefits of our close relationship with MNP is that we are able to get enhancements to the package delivered quickly and at a very reasonable cost. The great thing is that these enhancements all go into the base code so there are no future upgrade challenges.”
As a measure of their confidence in MNP, Harrod completed the implementation of the MNP buying and product management platform PSMActive in 2012. “This gave us full integration with the WMS and better control over our ordering processes” explains Carl Green. “Having completed the initial implementation we now want to use the system to forecast demand and produce suggested orders using these forecasts. This will enable us to have an even higher stoc kavailability without carrying additional inventory and will give us efficiency benefits also.”
The warehousing side is also looking for further improvements. “We are investigating using RF for all pallet movements and voice direction for picking and counting” says Carl. “This will give us further accuracy and efficiency savings.”
The long-standing close relationship between MNP and Harrod Horticultural looks set to continue for many years to come.
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