When RGB Building Supplies recently opened its new Tiverton branch, it took the unusual step of hosting a series of cooking demonstrations. Instead of the smell of mixed paint and sawn timber – the usual aroma for a busy builders merchant – guests were treated to a blend of herbs, spices and fresh produce, which tickled the taste buds in a way that fencing, skirting and truss rafters never could.

The Tiverton branch is the 11th RGB depot in the south-west, and evidence of how much the company has grown. It started life in 1850 as Rawle, Gammon & Baker, initially trading as a timber importing business operating out of Rolle Quay in Barnstaple. In July 2005, RGB moved out of its ancestral home to a prestigious new location on Pottington Business Park, which now incorporates its Barnstaple branch and head office.

The site at Pottington is one of the largest for any builders merchants in the south-west and supports the company’s continued growth as one of the leading independent family-owned builders merchants in the area, employing over 200 staff.

Alongside the usual range of builders merchants products, RGB supplies a wide range of timber products including fencing, decking, timber lodges, I-beams, sawn carcassing, and architraves and mouldings.

Operational efficiencies

With timber an integral part of the business, RGB has certainly developed a recipe for success. However, growth, by nature, brings about a host of different challenges that need to be overcome, often requiring careful planning, management and action, as John McCann, marketing and PR manager for ADP Kerridge, explained: “One of the issues RGB faced was to overhaul its IT infrastructure to create operational efficiencies.”

The fully-integrated solution required would allow, among other things, the streamlining and rationalising of unnecessary manual processes into automated events; better visibility and stock control; clearly defined and structured sales order processing; and the ability for the new system to grow with the company.

What’s more, RGB felt that, by addressing its IT issues, it could realise significant time and money savings, increase margins – and improve customer service. A comprehensive, integrated IT solution alone was not enough. It had to be accompanied by a full support structure, with experienced specialists who not only understood IT, but RGB as a builders merchant business. “Our success is founded on our people and the exceptional customer service we deliver,” said Mark Gosney, operations director at RGB Building Supplies. “We needed to replicate this in our choice of IT partner.”

The ADP Kerridge team followed the usual ‘tried and tested’ methodologies to kick-start the project. “Before we enter any project it’s important we undertake a review of the client’s business and processes,” said Ian Bendelow, business development director

This, he explained, is for two reasons. “First, we need to get in the minds of the customer and its operation, so we can ensure the system we put in place fits its specific trading environment,” he said. “Second, to offer critical analysis and objective advice about how processes can be adopted or improved to the customer’s benefit – based on the industry experience we have available to us.”


Once the project’s parameters were defined and agreed, the implementation began. A team effort between both companies ensured a smooth roll-out. “Everyone at RGB made every effort to share their knowledge, explaining their job functions and business processes, which was vital to the job’s success,” said Paul Stacey, ADP Kerridge’s implementation manager.

“It is so important to us that we develop a solid working relationship with our customers as this makes the project much more straightforward, both in terms of successfully resolving the issues as they arise, but in generating positive feelings about the implementation within the business,” added Mr Stacey.

RGB’s Mark Gosney agreed. “ADP Kerridge has evolved from an outsourced supplier, to our partner, through to an extension of our operation,” he said. “Its solution has been a perfect fit for our business.”

With RGB constantly evaluating its business, looking for enhancements and improvements, to create further efficiencies and increase productivity, the relationship with ADP Kerridge is expected to play a vital role. With the seamless integration of the new software, it can only be a matter of time before the company is ready to expand again. Who knows, next time it could be flower arranging demonstrations instead.