One of the advantages of small companies is that the management knows how things work. This is certainly the case with Richard Davies, the MD of Hattons Model Railways, who is not hesitant to talk about what the company is doing behind the scenes.
Davies recently posted on LinkedIn about how one of the company’s biggest competitors had called him up to ask for logistics advice. eDelivery had spoken to Davies in October last year about the company’s efforts to improve its logistics arm after assessing itself against the IRUK index criteria.
This willingness to reveal what the company is up to is relatively new, as Davies says the company was formerly “guarded”. But now Hattons is keen to establish itself as a “thought leader for customers, suppliers and competitors”.
“That call was a good demonstration that it was going in the right way,” he says. “We want to be the industry good egg, known as a bunch of amiable guys from Hattons as part of our brand. It fits with the demographic that we sell to – it’s not Wolf of Wall Street territory.”
The company is still working on integrating GFS Checkout, which will add new domestic and international delivery options. The team’s developers are waiting for GFS to introduce new APIs next month that will make this job easier.
“We were storing all pallet stock off site, which became a bit of a burden.”
Accordingly, Hattons introduced a new 10000 square foot mezzanine at its warehouse in Widnes, Cheshire, so that buffer stock could be stored at the same site. Warehouse supplier Greenoaks
While Davies says this is hard to quantify in cost-saving terms, the main impact of this in customer terms has been the launch of a pledge that 99% of orders submitted before 2PM will be dispatched the same day.
The intention is to make more use of this to attract customers in the future. The company is doing a test on customers to see how much it impacts spending.
Davies also hopes one day to introduce a countdown clock, similar to that featured on Amazon, to let people know how long they have to make an order to get it the next day and “create a sense of urgency”.
“I think we’ve always undersold expectations and always over-delivered,” Davies says.