The new system spanned processes across the entire organisation from production to finance and is used by more than 20 people to enable them to be more efficient in their jobs.”

Logo Shaws

StoneHouse Logic helps Shaws of Darwen solve their Business Systems and IT infrastructure issues

When a business is acquired or merged, its IT systems will not necessarily meet the needs of the new situation. Either through changed reporting requirements or processes evolving to cope with new opportunities any existing technology investment can quickly become redundant.

Such a scenario was faced by sink manufacturer Shaws of Darwen. Established in 1897, the company had been making handcrafted fireclay sinks for over 100 years when it was subject to a management buy-out in 2009. Managing director David Dare takes up the story.

“We effectively had no IT platform in place on which to run the company when we took over. So we had to move very quickly to put in place the necessary infrastructure to ensure we could continue operations.”

THE COMPANY —

Nestled in the Lancashire hillside and using the very best raw materials and production methods, Shaws of Darwen handcraft the worlds’ finest kitchen sinks.

Shaws have been manufacturing fireclay sinks for over 100 years using time honored and traditional methods and materials. Each handcrafted sink is an individual product, bearing the name of the Master Craftsmen who made it. To own a Shaws sink is to own a piece of English style and quality.

StoneHouse Logic helps Shaws of Darwen solve their Business Systems and IT infrastructure issues

LOCAL AND EXPERIENCED IT COMPANY —

In line with its policy to provide support for local businesses and families, Shaws asked 3 Lancashire based businesses to tender for its IT provision and eventually chose StoneHouse Logic. “We selected them for a number of reasons,” explained David. “Firstly, they were local which is important to us. Secondly, we were impressed by their technical knowledge and experience as evidenced by their Gold partner accreditations for both Microsoft and Sage. Finally, and probably most importantly, we felt that they were people who understood our requirements, could talk to us in non-technical terms and we could work in partnership with them to develop our IT infrastructure.”

Based just off the M65 just outside Blackburn, StoneHouse focus their strategy on helping organisations to use IT and business software to reduce costs and waste, increase operational efficiency and increase new business sales, revenues and operating profits.

NEW SYSTEM INSTALLED IN TWO WEEKS —

Initially, StoneHouse consultants worked closely with senior staff at Shaws to map out their precise requirements. “We had to move very quickly,” said David. “The StoneHouse staff helped us to understand what our immediate requirements were and also allowed us to identify where we were likely to be in 5 years time so that the new system could evolve seamlessly to cope with likely business changes.”

Once the initial design and specification had taken place implementation commenced. “We installed a complete business solution,” said Mark Hope, Director at StoneHouse. “This included new network servers and Windows software infrastructure, Sage 200 for financial management and stock control as well as managed IT support.”

“The whole process was completed with no problems within 2 weeks,” said David. “This was a testament to StoneHouse’s professionalism and expertise.”

Once the new system was up and running StoneHouse’s professional support services ensured that any problems encountered by Shaws were quickly resolved. “On the odd occasion that we have had an issue,” explained David, “StoneHouse consultants have been very quick, clear and concise in fixing it. Their capability to work offline and fix things remotely has been a great asset in keeping lost productivity to a minimum. The technical expertise of their staff is excellent and this coupled with the flexibility they have frequently demonstrated has convinced us that we have made the right choice for our IT partner going forward.”

PROJECT MANAGEMENT OF UPGRADES —

Since the initial system was implemented in 2009 it has undergone a number of upgrades to ensure that it can continue to meet Shaws’ business needs. “StoneHouse have helped us implement extra modules in Sage,” said David. “In particular project accounting has proved to be an extremely beneficial upgrade.”

The StoneHouse project team worked closely with Shaws’ to map out and implement this module. “Project accounting has proved to be very important for the company,” explained David. “It allows us to be more aware of profitability by maintaining control over budgets and helping to manage costs, reduce wastage and eliminate unproductive time.”

“The project team were very professional in helping to ensure a smooth implementation and provided excellent management of the whole process.”

WHY STONEHOUSE —

Commenting on the overall experience of partnering with StoneHouse over the years David concluded.

“I have been impressed with them since we first met back in 2009. They helped us to get the company up and running after the management buyout thanks to their rapid understanding of our requirements and fast implementation.

Since then, their support has been first class in ensuring that any problems are fixed quickly, either remotely or by sending an engineer onsite. Their in depth understanding of technology is impressive, but what is more important is that they understand how to implement new technologies to provide us with real business benefit.”

“I feel confident that whatever business and market changes we encounter over the coming years StoneHouse will be able to adapt our IT systems to ensure our continued success.”

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