SouthernsBroadstock

Our expertise helped a furniture, fixtures and equipment supplier capture the value of their data to drive their business forward. 

SouthernsBroadstock is a furniture, fixtures and equipment (FF&E) manufacturer and supplier, working in the education, corporate, health and public sectors. Since 2015, the company has grown substantially through the acquisition of other businesses. However, as each had its own information management systems, the challenge was to find a way to integrate them.

 

The company also had ambitious plans to expand its offer from one-off FF&E supply to single source and ongoing asset management contracts, which for large buildings can cover many thousands of items. This scale makes accurate assessments of asset cost for repair or replacement both complex and vital, but the company’s existing systems lacked this capability.

To find a solution to these challenges, the company was matched through a Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) with Professor Chee Wong, a specialist in supply chain and business integration from Leeds University Business School.

The project is a brilliant example of how companies can save money and time and open up new opportunities through better integration and intelligent use of their supply chain data.

Chee Wong, Professor of Supply Chain Management, Leeds University Business School
The approach
The KTP Associate, Michael Park, working with Professor Wong, developed a web-based application to draw data from the company’s existing systems, acting as an interface between them. This enabled all areas of SouthernsBroadstock to work seamlessly together without the need to duplicate data. This increased efficiency and consistency and reduced errors. The interface avoided the need for a complex new business management system, saving the company significant time and expense.

Michael Park and Professor Wong also created a bespoke product lifecycle model that integrated data from SouthernsBroadstock’s supply chain with the company’s product expertise. This gave the company the ability, for the first time, to accurately forecast the cost of maintaining FF&E within a single building, or across an entire estate, over a set time period.

The impact
The new systems were pivotal in enabling SouthernsBroadstock to gain Building Information Modelling (BIM) Level 2 accreditation, the first FF&E company to do so. BIM Level 2 requires an ability to use and share data across certain models and software, to increase efficiency and reduce costs. The project enabled the company to integrate data from BIM directly into purchasing and costing activities. BIM Level 2 is now a prerequisite when tendering for public sector construction contracts and is set to become the standard for private sector projects across the construction sector.

The KTP has been transformational, opening our eyes to the value of data and business intelligence and helping to drive our business forward.

Tim Worne, Managing Director, SouthernsBroadstock
The accreditation has enabled the company to be involved in projects – particularly large public-sector construction – that would otherwise have been out of reach, giving them a competitive edge. 

The product lifecycle model has enabled SouthernsBroadstock to tender for and win long-term serviced contracts for the first time, backed up by the certainty of accurate costing and forecasting. 

This partnership received financial support from the Knowledge Transfer Partnerships (KTP) programme. KTP aims to help businesses to improve their competitiveness and productivity through the better use of knowledge, technology and skills that reside within the UK knowledge base. This successful Knowledge Transfer Partnership project, funded by UK Research and Innovation through Innovate UK, is part of the government’s Industrial Strategy. 

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