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Learn how Elucid boosted service levels and increased mail order sales by 30% for multi-channel retailer David Austin Roses.

Elucid Case Study – David Austin Roses


World-famous plant breeder David Austin Roses has embedded sharper processes and boosted service levels since implementing Elucid, the multi-channel retail solution from Sanderson. It is now reaping the rewards, with a 30% surge in mail-order business.

The business brief:

David Austin Roses was established in 1969 and is now a £22 million, 240 employee, family owned company renowned for its unrivalled English rose breeding capability. With UK and overseas operations, the company sells 750 varieties of bare root roses and has diversified into container roses, hand-tied bouquets, gift experiences, books and artwork. All these are sold through multiple sales channels including mail order, online and on-site retail. David Austin Roses required a solution that would provide full integration and accurate visibility of sales, stock and customer information throughout the organisation and the various divisions. Elucid was chosen for its functionality and flexibility to support multiple sales channels, underpinned by a single, integrated back office system.


“Not only has Elucid cut out the inefficiency of time and manual intervention, it's an all-round improvement for the customers.”

Our strategy:

Two years ago, David Austin Roses realised continued expansion would be hindered by its systems which were creaking at the seams. “We wanted a centralised feel to the new system – that was important. Also, I wanted all information for an order to be available on one sheet of paper to eliminate inefficiencies,” says Tim Smith, Finance Director. Other key objectives included functionality to support the export business.

“Sanderson stood out as having the best capability and approach for our complex requirements,” says Smith. “They had a real ‘can-do attitude and could commit to deliver the system in our very tight timescale.”

The benefits of Elucid were apparent immediately: service levels soared thanks to streamlined processes, ease of access to customer information and confidence in data accuracy. “Crucially, the information is all held in one place now, so when the customer calls we can answer their question from one system, one screen,” says Smith. “Underpinning that is vastly improved system functionality which, in turn, helps us to improve the customer experience.”

Container roses are a good example – more than 80% of these ‘pots in the post’ are ordered as gifts, so the recipient is typically not a customer. “Our previous system gave us very little visibility of the recipient, but now if they subsequently call with an enquiry themselves or to place an order, the Sanderson system recognises them and allows us to provide a more professional and personal service.”

The elimination of multiple systems has transformed data integrity. “The information is accurate and safe. The SQL reporting has a great look and feel: we log in to a secure intranet site where all the business data is available. We can click on any area we need and can export that data easily into Excel.”

Real-time stock visibility means that orders taken are orders fulfilled, which was not always the case previously. Sometimes orders were placed, only for a variety to go out of stock: the order would then have to be fed back to the office for a resolution: “Not only has Elucid cut out the inefficiency of time and manual intervention, it’s an all-round improvement for the customer.”

Time-consuming manual tasks have been replaced by improved call response rates and sharper processes. “Our call statistics have improved dramatically. We’ve increased the mail order business by 30% in the two years since Elucid was implemented and we’ve not had to recruit extra people,” says Smith.

Tight web integration means orders placed online are now imported automatically – not printed and re-keyed as before. And Smith points to yet more features of Elucid, which are benefiting the business: “We can plan production and capacity much better than before. The simulated pick functionality within Elucid means you can simulate picks for forthcoming dates, giving a clear picture of demand so you can plan capacity around that. Capacity planning was an entirely manual process before and very hard to get right.”

Picking efficiency has been increased, saving money, most notably with bulk pick routines, which were not possible before. “We can group similar orders now so, for example, if a particular advert code has ten varieties on it, we can ask Elucid for all orders on that advert code so they can be picked simultaneously.”

The results:

Smith says the modular nature of the Sanderson solution has proved invaluable:

“It’s a great system to grow with as you can add on new functionality in a highly controlled manner. The people at Sanderson have lived up to our expectations: they are friendly, approachable and very responsive,” says Smith. “More importantly, Elucid has proved to be more than a match for our complex requirements – I don’t know of any other system out there that could have coped with our complexity.”

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