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Matchmakers International


Case study

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 Matchmakers International based in Bradford are one of the UK’s leading suppliers of equestrian goods and rank high in both the European and rest of the world supplier list.

Solution benefits:

 

1

Improved purchasing

2

Improved warehouse operational flows

3

Reduced sales administration

Matchmakers began with a small equestrian range marketed under the Stylo brand before purchasing in 1985 the brand Harry Hall from Austin Reeds of London. Since then the business has grown to include several other brand names including, Matsa, Caldene, Cottage Craft and Tottie.

Matchmakers also distribute GPA riding hats and Jack Ellis body protectors. The brands cover products from horse rugs to high-end fashion clothing and from body protectors to traditional clothing and riding hats. The extensive ranges cover virtually every element for both the horse and rider.

Each brand is sold via a network of wholesalers and retailers throughout the UK, Europe, the US and Japan. Products are sold from stock by telesales operatives, reps and agents in each country. In addition Matchmakers also retail the Tottie brand directly to the public at horse shows and major events. With a vast network of customers there are numerous orders placed a day.

Matchmaker’s product ranges are primarily split into two seasons Spring/Summer and Autumn/Winter however each brand features ‘core lines’ which are carried forward each season.

Matchmakers source the vast majority of products from overseas, mainly the Far East and Brazil with the remainder being sourced from Europe. The warehouse in Bradford spans 3 floors and covers over 120,000 sq ft providing a network of wholesalers, saddlers and equestrian retailers with the Matchmakers brands. In the US products are shipped direct from manufacturing to a main distributor.

David Brawn, Project Manager explains:

We implemented the Protex ERP System back in 1998. Our business had grown to a point where in order to continue to grow we needed to evaluate our business processes. From our review we identified the need to further invest in IT to streamline demand management, sales order processing, customer service and warehouse management in order to support our ever increasing customer base and expanding product range. Our key objective is to deliver higher service levels to our customers.

From our review the clear priority for us was to enhance our warehouse. Over the years our warehouse has grown and grown, now spanning 3 floors with an array of products from riding boots to bulky horse rugs to polo shirts. Previously the method of managing our warehouse was sufficient, but due to growth we needed to introduce a structured location control system.

He continues ‘Another key area was sales order processing. We sell through reps and telesales staff and our reps typically focus on a brand. These reps take orders and then send them to our telesales team for order entry. Due to the volume of reps orders our telesales staff time was principally taken up by re-entering orders, checking stock and sending order acknowledgements. The number of orders from reps has grown over the years and now accounts for 60-70% of all our orders. In order to grow our business we needed to free up our telesales staff to also sell and focus on customer service.’

David explains, ‘We thoroughly investigated the market short listing three options – Datel’s, another clothing and footwear solution provider and a bespoke option. We opted for the Datel solution as they had the solution ready to meet our requirements plus it would provide us with a fully integrated system. The bespoke route would have taken 18 months before we could even begin to go live – that is potentially 4 seasons without an IT system to support our new controls and processes!”

Matchmakers decided to upgrade to the Protex system with Datel opting for the new modules RF Warehouse Management, Demand Planning, CRM and Mobile Sales. The solution serves 50 users spanning telesales, the warehouse, buying, senior management and customer service teams.

David explains, ‘With the Protex RF Warehouse Management System we now have over 7,500 different locations in our warehouse and rather than picking by brand and delivering by brand to our customers we now can consolidate picking and send one despatch. It sounds simple, but the Datel warehouse management system underpinned this new process. The system identified the picking order and consolidates orders for delivery. The change in processes has been quickly adopted as the system is simple to use with its intuitive user interface.

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