In 2020 Terry Howell, an independent family timber and builders’ merchant in South Wales, partnered with Kerridge Commercial Systems (KCS) to implement its ERP solution, K8. The business selected K8 because it is specifically designed and developed for the merchant industry, improving efficiencies and their end level of customer service.

K8 is a sophisticated and intuitive trading platform that enables merchants to manage everything from front-end sales to back-office administrative functions. Additionally, the software is designed to help merchant and distribution businesses improve their day-to- day performance with boosted profits and margins they can manage in detail.

Established in 1956, Terry Howell began its life making wooden ladders before diversifying into manufacturing fencing material at its sawmill in South Wales. Since then, the business has grown to include two merchant locations and a five-acre wholesale site, supplying timber and fencing material to independent merchants across the UK. The company prides itself on quality, service and value for money.

“As the scale of our business continued to grow, we needed a way to ensure our sales and inventory processes were more efficient,” said Martin Howell, chairman. “That way, we could meet increased demand and improve the end experience for our customers.”

Recognising the need to streamline and improve accuracy with business management software, Luke Brown, head of retail at Terry Howell, explained why the timber merchant chose K8.

“What really stood out to us about K8 was the scope for tailoring the system to suit our specific business needs,” he said. “In addition, we were really encouraged by the knowledge and expertise of the consultancy team. Having individuals on our project who understood our industry was a huge help in the build stages, with the ability to bounce ideas off each other and share best practices on how we could get the system to work for us.”

Since implementing the system in November 2021, the business has already seen a huge change in its ability to forecast sales and stock requirements. Historically, Terry Howell had relied on handwritten sales orders and inventory processes, which was proving inefficient as the scale of the business continued to grow.

“This was a huge process change for our business, especially going from pen and paper, but our team have been phenomenal in rising to the challenge,” said Mr Brown.

And while Terry Howell has already seen improvements since implementing K8, it’s not stopping there. The business is partnering with KCS on its next project, the implementation of K8 WebPro.

Scheduled to roll out later this year, K8 WebPro is a cloud-based ecommerce add-on that allows businesses to receive orders online directly into the K8 system. Supporting both B2B and B2C trading models, the system was the perfect choice for Luke Brown and the team.

“Since K8, we’ve been keen to focus on the change in consumer buying behaviour, especially online,” he said. “For example, in just a quick internet search, you can find a list of a dozen companies that might be supplying timber or building materials locally. We wanted a way for us to provide our customers with a better online experience and really shout about who we are as a family business. K8 WebPro helps us do that.”

It’s clear to see that Terry Howell has seen steady and continuous growth since being founded in 1956. Moving to K8 has streamlined its existing business processes and given it a platform to accelerate its digital journey over the next year. Currently, Terry Howell continues to gain momentum. And coupled with K8, the company shows no signs of slowing down.