Chas A Blatchford & Sons Ltd
Chas A. Blatchford & Sons Ltd (Blatchford) is a world leader in the design and manufacture of advanced high precision components for artificial lower limbs, and the provision of innovative prosthetic and orthotic care. They are a privately owned UK company, which employs over 450 employees in clinics and offices worldwide.
When Group Purchasing Manager John Hughes joined Blatchford, he identified the geographical diversity of employees; in the UK, Blatchford operate from two manufacturing centres and fourteen service centres whilst additional clinical staff visit client facilities. What was required was a co-ordinated approach to improve communications and deliver enhanced, proactive service and cost efficiency.
Previously, Blatchford's telecoms had been set up as four separate accounts; they were therefore unable to take advantage of any group calling discounts and the level of detail within billing made analysis very difficult, as did the absence of clear spend reports. These contributing factors including John's feeling that there was better customer relationship management available led Blatchford to source Total as their new telecoms supplier.
After moving suppliers and partly as a consequence of the cost savings made by Total, Blatchford were able to introduce a number of BlackBerry devices as a trial across a number of departments. Success has lead to plans for further rollout.
The BlackBerry solution offers users a method of harmonising address books and schedules to their desktop system and exchange emails and view documents via an easy to use interface and qwerty keyboard.
‘Having previously been a BlackBerry user myself I can see the benefits to Blatchfords of mobile data access, as well as the advantage of sharing and synchronising information particularly for non-office based staff. Our service and support staff visit facilities on a constant basis and had previously only been able to check their email via laptops back in the office, when logged into another Blatchford location, or at home. This potentially could cause delays both internally and for our customers. Following BlackBerry implementation instant access to email on the move has lead to improvements in customer service and enhanced response times throughout the business.’
Whilst proactive personal account management and online billing immediately appealed, one aspect of our service surprised John. ‘Initially, I was unsure of the value of the Helpdesk to us, yet it makes managing our account so much easier. As a Purchasing Manager, I greatly value the audit trail produced, because I know where I am at all times with any query or request, from sales to billing, as all actions receive email updates. I am able to allocate handsets and align billing precisely to my users using the Helpdesk to funnel my requirements to real people and am always confident that what I ask will be done quickly, efficiently and courteously.’
Moving on, Blatchford has subsequently placed their fixed line services with Total and are currently investigating the provision of a new telephone system. Whilst this could possibly have been arranged directly with the manufacturers John decided otherwise: ‘My relationship with Total means I have complete confidence and trust that I will get honest help and advice, rather than an up-sell pitch. It also means that I will receive all the necessary support, during installation and with any future issues or queries that may occur.’