Manchester-based Tradefix Direct supplies the construction and joinery trades with a range of products that includes fixings and fastenings, tools, sealants and adhesives, roofing products and ironmongery. The business was started in 2008 by managing director Paul Kershaw and has undergone significant growth since then. In 2014 after a period of successful trading and increased online sales, it moved to larger premises with a 20,000 sq.ft warehouse and dedicated trade centre.

Tradefix Direct operates in a competitive marketplace generating sales from a mix of online and wholesale account customers and direct retail sales via their own trade counter. Their aim is to stock an extensive range of essential trade products at competitive prices, backed by excellent delivery and ongoing after sales service. Currently they offer around 5,500 live product lines for sale.

When the move to new premises increased the physical scale of their operation they identified some issues affecting their ability to manage increasing volumes efficiently. As a result they decided to look for a software solution to help them. The solution would need to increase accuracy levels, help identify picking stock faster and provide key data for stock re-orders. It would also serve to reduce the amount of office based administration needed to support the warehouse operation. 

After exploring the marketplace for suitable solutions and viewing a number of different options they selected the ProSKU WMS solution provided by Manchester based specialists Chess. Among the key reasons for selecting ProSKU were its affordability, especially when compared with other software solutions, and its ability to integrate with their bespoke website and admin system. After some essential integration work and a brief implementation and training session from ProSKU, Tradefix Direct went live with the system in May 2018. 

In order to provide a seamless solution for the business ProSKU needed to integrate with the Tradefix Direct website. This would enable the website to provide real time stock availability for online purchasers and allow the ProSKU system to adjust stock levels for re-ordering purposes. This work was undertaken by Tradefix Direct’s own IT contractors using the ProSKU open API to create the essential link between the selling and stockholding platforms. 

Another requirement identified by Tradefix Direct was the need to request stock on an ad hoc basis for trade counter customers. For this type of sale they needed a process by which trade counter staff would be able to check availability and locate stock quickly. ProSKU provided a function for this which enables the user to select stock directly from locations in order to streamline this process. 

After ten months of using ProSKU within the business Tradefix Direct are clear about the benefits the system has given them. James Kershaw, who manages the company’s distribution side commented: “Having ProSKU has provided a lot of extra efficiency in the business and we are still finding ways to use it that give us more. We have found that displaying stock values on our website has given our customers more confidence in making an order and has made us much more reliable, which in turn has resulted in a lot of positive service reviews. For the monthly outlay there are many benefits which make it very easy to justify.”