Russ Cockburn

Member Article

E-commerce strategy helps play equipment specialist expand

The launch of a brand new e-commerce system is set to help a Chesterfield manufacturer increase sales both at home and abroad.

Timberform, which employs 50 people at its Foxwood Industrial Park factory, has tapped into support from the Manufacturing Advisory Service (MAS) to improve the functionality of its website.

The specialist manufacturer of outdoor wooden shelters, buildings and play equipment believes its increased online presence will help it add an extra £1m of sales this year, with particular attention focused on boosting market share of the buoyant private education sector in the United Arab Emirates.

If successful, this will see the firm take turnover past the £5m barrier for the first time since it was taken over by Barnsley-based Metalliform in December last year.

Jeremy Navrady, General Manager, picked up the story:

“We enjoyed a sustained period of growth in 2012 and currently provide a range of outdoor play equipment and buildings for a customer base of more than 1000 schools across the UK.

“Our understanding of the education sector and the fact we can tailor existing products to suit specific requirements are both big selling points and we are one of the few companies in our sector to be FSC approved for all our timber.”

He continued: “One of the key aims for 2012 was to ramp up our marketing activity and this focused on transforming the website so that it helped us penetrate new markets and customers could also complete transactions online.

“We’ve been able to do this with the help of MAS, who provided strategic support and grant funding for us to team up with Blue Dolphin on the functionality of our site.”

Timberform, which trades under the brand name Timberline, has already seen a massive increase in traffic to the website (www.timberline.co.uk), with the first leads now turned into orders.

The company is set to exhibit at the Gulf Educational Supplies and Solutions (GESS) show in Dubai for the first time in March, with a view to tapping into a market that is expected to be worth an estimated $10.2bn dollars by 2020.

In addition to support with the e-commerce strategy, the Manufacturing Advisory Service also introduced Timberform to the Innovation Expert programme developed by Pera Training. This will assist it with research and development towards 2013’s new products range.

“The management team identified a number of barriers that were holding the business back, primarily the lack of a website that reflected the full scope of what it did,” explained MAS Specialist Adviser Ian Davie.

“We sat down with them and made them aware of the grant funding available, which speeded up the project by probably six months. Going forward, we are continuing to provide on the ground support and access to experts that can make a positive difference to its performance.”

MAS, which is funded by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS), works for manufacturers and through experienced advisors can help shape strategy, create new products, reduce waste and review supply chains.

Companies can take advantage of a free review that identifies key priority areas and funding is available for improvement projects focused on increasing efficiency, developing new products, strengthening supply chains and boosting sales.

For further information, please go to www.mymas.org or follow us at @mas_works. More details on Timberform can be found at www.timberline.co.uk

This was posted in Bdaily's Members' News section by Russ Cockburn .

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