Personalization & Tech Adoption:
The Ramp People's Formula for Growth.
How a 1-man shop scaled to become one of the world's top ramp suppliers with a reputation to match.
Founded by Phillip Shaw
The desire, like many, to forge his own path is what led Philip Shaw to start his company in 2006,The Ramp People, a market far and away from his career in IT sales and marketing.
“I didn’t enjoy working for other people and didn’t really like the industry I was in,” he explained. “I wanted to find a business and a market that I could stamp my personality and on and work for myself.”
Using those business instincts in his career enabled him to discover a gap in the ramp market, one he knew he could fill. “There was no one providing the full range [of ramps]. There was no one selling ramps online. The industry and that sector had not been modernized. I took a look at it and saw that there was a big opportunity to market these products online in a way that had not been done before.”
Starting with one phone, a computer and a fax machine, Philip launched The Ramp People out of a spare bedroom.
He’s since built The Ramp People into a company known to be the worldwide ramp experts, selling a diverse range of products, from a small wheelchair ramp, a motorcycle or van ramp, all the way to the industrial grade set of ramps that can handle a 25,000kg digger. “There’s no one else doing that.”
The Ramp People’s operation has evolved far from those fax machine in a bedroom days, employing a staff of 10 and growing in sales from a few hundred thousand pounds in 2006 to multi millions just eight years later.
Initially, he implemented separate cloud-based systems, one to manage customer orders, another for deliveries, and yet others for accounting and inventory. But as sales grew and more staff were hired, the use of disparate systems requiring staff to copy and paste information from one to the other made order processing and customer management tedious and a time-consuming process for his staff.
Plus, The Ramp People had evolved into a multichannel business, selling ramps online, including from their website [Magento], through eBay and Amazon, to phone sales and wholesale.
If Philip’s company was going to scale and continue to grow as planned, he knew he needed to look for a new platform, a solution that enabled his operations to be concise, connected and streamlined. This led him to Brightpearl, “We’re not afraid to invest in the technology that will make the offering to our customer simpler, cleaner, and quite frankly, better. We loved the fact that with Brightpearl, we could roll it all into one. It offered us a huge leap forward.”
The Key Challenges:
- The use of disparate cloud-base platforms, with data existing in different places
- Duplicate entries and errors
- Hours of time taken to manage operations, stealing away time needed to grow their business
- Managing shipments to multiple carriers
Although The Ramp People’s staff range from 18 to 70 years old, a diversity they are proud of, getting the employees trained on the Brightpearl platform was a smooth process, according to Philip, “It’s really straightforward and easy for them to use.”
From within Brightpearl, he was able to set up his SagePay system, which the company uses for credit card processing of online sales from multiple websites. The investment per employee gives them all the data in one place and they don’t have to switch from system to system.
Having the ability to eliminate printing invoices also enables them to go paperless and provide packing lists to their customers for the first time. “From pick, pack, ship, and packing lists, it’s all streamlined,” Philip said.
The next challenge for The Ramp People to overcome was the hugely diverse range of carriers needed for their various products, which vary in terms of weights and dimensions, from one country to another, or from a residence to a hospital or to a loading dock of one of their wholesale clients.
To improve operations further, Philip has become an early adopter of the new Brightpearl app store, integrating Scurri into their delivery management operations. From one click of a button, employees will again avoid copying and pasting information from one delivery system to another by having just one place within Brightpearl to process that delivery, “Which will reduce hours and hours of data entry per day,” Philip says emphatically.
Philip encourages other retailers and manufactures considering the Brightpearl solution to, “Look at the whole package that Brightpearl can offer, because there’s a lot under the bonnet that they can do for you, from the MailChimp marketing, to the CRM package and the order processing, and then of course, the integration with carriers. There’s some pretty strong stuff in there, that if you utilise, is going to make your business and your offering to your customers stronger.”
Taking advantage of all that Brightpearl has under the bonnet has increased The Ramp People’s ability to provide excellent customer service.
And his company has received hundreds, including one received from Professor Stephen Hawking, “So just to be clear: the world’s most intelligent man buys his ramps from The Ramp People.”
From their dedication to their customers, to the introduction of their own line of ramps, The Ramp People are on track to increase the growth and sales figures of their company by 40-50% in 2014. Philip doesn’t believe this would have been possible to scale at that level if they had stayed with the previous disparate set of cloud-based applications.
“Brightpearl has enabled us to streamline our order process and allowed us to focus on the key drivers of our business, to focus on improving our offering, and basically, just selling.”