Born in 1988 out of a friendship between ex-teacher Richard Jones and former pupil Peter Beeby, School Trends has come a long way from its humble origins as a two-man “start-up” trading out of a dining room. Today this well established, Sheffield based company is the leading supplier of personalised school uniform in the UK, achieving in excess of £9m turnover, employing over 120 staff and supplying around 6000 schools across the UK.
As a wholly employee-owned company, School Trends is structured in a manner that promotes individual growth and progression. Indeed School Trends has been a Sunday Times ‘Top 100 best companies to work for’ award winner in the SME category for a number of years. The outcome of School Trends’ commitment to its people is, in turn, a commitment by them to the customers they serve. This focus on building strong customer relationships through excellent customer service has been key to School Trends’ on-going growth and success.
To maintain this quality of service, School Trends needed to ensure that its IT systems were able to support its growth and provide customers with a range of flexible service options. Having felt restricted by the incumbent software supplier’s limited understanding of the company’s future needs, School Trends decided to review the software solutions market for a software provider that they could work with in partnership to drive the business forward.
“We were looking for software with functionality that would provide a close match for our anticipated requirements as well as the flexibility to evolve in line with our company. We also wanted a software supplier that would understand our business and work with us as an extension of our team. We found this in Syscom. We have an outstanding relationship with Syscom and the investment is worth every penny” - Steve Fells, IT Manager - School Trends
Designed to be intuitive and easy to use, SyscomERP uses a comprehensive platform that allows the flexibility to be quickly tailored in line with School Trends’ changing needs whilst retaining the rapid implementation potential of a package solution.
School Trends selected SyscomERP in November 2002, and went live in May 2003 with SyscomERP - since then they have experienced rapid growth.
Advanced analysis tools within SyscomERP allow School Trends to run customisable ad-hoc reports as and when required, making real-time information readily accessible. “Reporting tools in SyscomERP are very excellent. At any point we can take a snapshot of what has been ordered, what is in the warehouse, what is in embroidery, and so on. To support our growth we must be able to access key information instantly”.
“As well as touching every area of our business, SyscomERP has facilitated more streamlined interaction with our suppliers and carriers, which has proved to be very cost effective.”
SyscomERP’s rapid development environment has enabled School Trends to continually expand its range of customer services options.
“We are committed to providing each of our customers with a service that meets their needs. Although many supermarkets have tried to break into the school wear market, we find that they are not really in direct competition with us. Schools and parents value the personalised service we provide and the fact that we’ll take care of as much or as little of the uniform supply process as they want. Allowing schools to order and distribute uniforms in the way that best meets their needs and cutting down on administrative procedures is key to maintaining a successful relationship, and our ability to offer this sets us apart.”
School Trends continues to work with Syscom on a number of projects to ensure they are one step ahead of their competitors and meeting their customers changing needs. “A company like us needs to be flexible and adapt to what customers want. Syscom understands our needs.