The fortunes of a mobility retailer in Cornwall have been turned around after it updated its systems, which were being impeded by outdated customer relationship management (CRM).
Now nearly 30 years old, EPC Wheelchairs recently found it had plateaued and was unable to progress as it wanted to because of its old information management systems.
Linda Norfolk, who runs the business alongside her husband and founder, Peter Norfolk, told Business Cornwall that the firm’s CRM system was “very outdated” and was “not properly integrated with the rest of our systems”.
“For example, it did not talk to our accounts system. Also, our key management information was divided across two separate databases.
“This was a very inefficient way of working which was using up a lot of admin time.
“Our business had reached something of a crossroads. We knew that we had the potential to reach a much wider customer base, but we were hesitant about pushing ahead too fast with any marketing activity or new services.
“If there had been a sudden peak in demand, we did not have confidence that our management systems would cope.
“This was concerning because providing a comprehensive and professional service for all our customers is crucial to the way we work.”
EPC has since engaged with a local programme called Superfast Business Cornwall to update and integrate its back office systems and put a plan together to increase efficiency.
The dealer secured funding from the scheme and it was able to install a modern, integrated system that will combine customer records, linked communications, accounts, invoicing, stock control and job tracking in a single package.
It is hoped that the management time saved by the updated system will help drive efficiency at the business and push it forward.
EPC now has plans to launch a new service to loan mobility equipment to tourists coming to Cornwall on holiday and it is even exploring the potential for manufacturing its own products.
It can also now concentrate more on online sales and improve its website and digital marketing. The new work could see an additional three members of staff being brought on to support growth.
Norfolk concluded: “As a direct result of this project, we believe we are about to take our business to a whole new level.”