Sustaining Honey Brothers’ excellent reputation and customer service as the business expands
Complete business transformation, bringing core data and systems together in one business management solution for fashion
Specialist fashion and apparel functionality through K3|pebblestone add-on
Advanced warehouse operations and stock management using Tasklet to optimise availability
Full, real-time analytics for margin visibility and forecasting, supporting management decision-making and forward planning
About the organisation
Honey Brothers is the UK’s leading supplier of tree-care and forestry equipment, including rigging kit, machinery and clothing. Established in 1955, the firm has grown from humble roots to ship worldwide, offering competitive prices, a huge product range and unbeatable customer service, through a friendly and experienced in-house team. In a strong market, the company is supporting its expansion by updating and upweighting its infrastructure and staff. Still owned by its original founders, Honey Brothers has an entrepreneurial and customer-focused culture.
The Honey Brothers management team recognised that they needed to digitally transform, to support their ongoing success. Working with a third-party consultant, they were reviewing business operations and knew they needed to streamline processes and systems.
As a sales-led business, Honey Brothers had not focused much on its back office and supply chain systems. With success and rapid growth, they urgently needed to implement a modern, flexible and scalable business management and warehousing solution that could help maintain efficiency and excellent customer service while accommodating a larger and more complex product range and ever-increasing numbers of orders.
Honey Brothers set itself a significant operational challenge of migrating core systems to the Cloud at the same time as making significant changes in the organisation, launching a new website and relocating its warehouse to gain space.
Operations Director Harri Breary says, “We were really struggling on the system we were using – it was very old and we’d far outgrown it. Our consultant recommended Business Central as a scalable platform that could meet our needs, so we looked for a trustworthy and responsive technology services firm to help us scope, integrate and deploy it. We knew we had a huge amount of change ahead of us, so choosing the right partner was very important.”
Xpedition’s all-in-one solution for Fashion underpinned by Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central offered Honey Brothers the single platform they needed to build on for future growth and to operate effectively in its current market. Harri and her team valued the highly configurable nature of Business Central and its included six-monthly updates, so they would not get left behind with an old system again.
Xpedition was chosen as digital transformation partner because the team demonstrated a strong understanding of Honey Brothers’ particular requirements at the pre-sales stage and demonstrated that they had the will and flexibility to keep in step with the changing demands of a multi-function business project.
The Business Central solution runs all of Honey Brothers’ back office: finance, sales ordering, purchasing, stock management and warehousing. It’s fully integrated with the new Honey Brothers website, for e-commerce. A second phase of the project will add retail marketing and customer account and loyalty functionality, through Xpedition’s Customer Data Platform partner Voyado.
Harri adds, “Before, there were always back-office blockers every time the leadership team wanted to do something new, to enable growth. Either the system wasn’t capable or no-one had the expertise to do it. The project has brought all our core systems and processes together so everything can now be managed effectively and runs smoothly.”
Because Honey Brothers offers a range of arborist and outdoor apparel, Xpedition deployed K3|pebblestone to handle variants in size, colour and fit. The Tasklet warehouse scanning solution add-on was used to enable barcode capture for accurate, real-time stock management.
Xpedition designed, customised and deployed the all-in-one Business Central-powered solution. They delivered training and provided a solution architect on-site. Honey Brothers has now moved to a helpdesk support contract delivered by Xpedition’s central team.
“It’s been a top to bottom business transformation – the process was challenging because so much was changing around the organisation, but we’re very proud of what we have now achieved and what it’s empowered us to do, to grow the business and maintain excellent customer service into the future,” says Harri.
Working with Xpedition
“The expertise within Xpedition’s team is excellent. It’s not just system knowledge, they understood strategically what we needed to be able to do as a business. The data and systems we moved to Business Central were business critical: Xpedition understood how important it was to keep things working and we felt they prioritised us at every stage. Our Xpedition project team has remained focused on resolving our issues and making sure everything works as we want, even as we’ve moved into a support contract. They have a real determination to find both strategic and tactical solutions, and they’re great to work with”Harri Breary / Operations Director, Honey Brothers
- Stock visibility
The biggest tangible difference to the business is always knowing what’s in stock, rather than having to visit the warehouse to check.
- Accurate financials
With up-to-date and complete stockholding information and real-time sales figures, Honey Brothers can see margin and cashflow at a glance, any time, rather than carrying out complex manual calculations every month.
- Customer satisfaction maintained and improved
With modern warehouse management and real-time stock availability, Honey Brothers can avoid making sales of out-of-stock products, leading to customer fulfilment delays. Out of stock lines are minimised, because the team can re-order for replenishment in a timely manner.
- System availability
Business Central is reliable and always on, whereas the old, on-premise system crashed frequently and required manual intervention and workaround to carry out core actions.
- Seamless, connected operations and reporting
Business Central integrates and connects financial and operation systems and data. Reporting can be generated on-demand within dashboards, using reliable information from one comprehensive data source.
- Reliable, evidence-based forecasting
Business Central gives Honey Brothers a foundation of analytics and reports for decision-making and planning to sustain growth.
- Efficiency and workload management
With data and systems working in harmony, Honey Brothers’ managers can concentrate on delivering service and adding value for customers instead of firefighting and administration. As the business grows, they can use their people more effectively to focus on opportunities.
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