Tele-Products case study

York-based Tele-Products is a 20-year-old firm that trades both as telephony equipment supplier Crucible Technologies and as health and safety specialist First Stop Safety, which provides training courses and associated products.

“We need people that you can relate to, people we can talk to, people that are accessible.”

In 2006, the company decided that the disparate collection of software packages that it had built up over the years was hindering its development. Accounts, sales, stock and purchasing systems did not communicate well with each other and manual re-inputting of data was common.

“We needed a company that could cater for all our existing needs and protect our historical data, but also we needed to have that security that we were actually purchasing something that would allow us to grow in the future,” explains Tele-Products’ Kimberley Stubbs. “And that takes the kind of company I felt had to have the same vision and the same kind of business aspirations as we did.”

RedBlack Software was one of a number of solution providers that Tele-Products invited for discussions. “We felt that they were people that we could work with because they’re not a huge organisation,” says Stubbs. “We need people that you can relate to, people we can talk to, people that are accessible. People with a proven track record and an organisation that understands what we want.”

“We’ve got complete transparency now. From sales to invoicing, every part of that process, CyPro delivers on.”

“But the most important thing was flexibility, because we are not a huge organisation. We are a small business and we need to be flexible. We couldn’t be constrained by what we had and that was what was happening. We needed to be set free.”

Tele-Products’ management team had a very clear idea of how they wanted to pull sales, customer relationship management (CRM), ordering materials, stock, purchasing and accounting functions together. Stubbs says that in talks with RedBlack about its CyPro solution: “We actually said: ‘Why don’t we specify what our needs are and then it’s really over to you.’”

Tele-Products went live with CyPro in November, 2007. “We’ve got complete transparency now, from somebody in sales taking a phone call to that resulting in an invoice,” says Stubbs. “Every part of that process, CyPro delivers on, whereas before you might literally have someone looking in a drawer for a paper file or hunting out a piece of paper to back up something. We don’t need to do that anymore. CyPro is there in the middle and we are all sat around it, if you like.”

“The whole auditing trail is fantastic.”

“Potentially, with our old system, goods could have gone out and never been invoiced. That could have happened really easily and we would never have known about it. So the auditing is really important—that can’t happen anymore and similarly an invoice could have been raised and the goods not gone out. The whole auditing trail is fantastic.”

Stubbs is similarly enthusiastic about CyPro’s CRM abilities. “We just weren’t capturing meaningful and beneficial information about customers. That CRM side has been tackled by CyPro, so at the click of a button we now have fantastic records about customers. Also, we didn’t really have any understanding of who our customers were—in what industry they were in what their backgrounds were—so what CyPro has allowed us to is to actually Standard Industry Classification-code the whole database.”

“I would like to emphasise the flexibility with RedBlack, I genuinely don’t believe that you could get that with many organisations and I think that’s where RedBlack have been outstanding for us.”

CyPro’s reporting functions are now crucial to Tele-Product’s operations. “It means that we can decide what information we want: to be able to judge how this business is doing today and this year compared to last year,”

“That was always available before but extremely cumbersome and very hard to get. The amount of time dedicated to it was wholly inefficient and not that accurate. Whereas we’ve now got this fantastic reporting function where we can decide: ‘What do we need to know, what does this need to tell us about this business, daily, monthly, weekly compared to this year, last year?’ in whatever combination we want and some of that is presented as KPIs and on the ‘dashboard.’”

The RedBlack team has collaborated closely with Tele-Products at every stage of the process, making adjustments and enhancements to the solution along the way. The two firms are currently working together on a revamped website and complete CyPro e-business system for Tele-Products’ Crucible Technology and First Stop Safety divisions.

“I would like to emphasise the flexibility with RedBlack,” says Stubbs. “I genuinely don’t believe that you could get that with many organisations unless they really understood our business and I think that’s where RedBlack have been outstanding for us. They’ve brought us into the 21st Century with a bang!”