Established in 1987, Prestigious Textiles moved from a variety of locations to its purpose-built office and warehouse on the outskirts of Bradford in 1997. From here, the company supplies around 3500 UK customers and exports to around 95 countries, working closely with agents around the world and its subsidiary companies. Developing the company's cut-length business has been a strategic decision that has involved a significant investment and commitment.
Prestigious Textiles built an additional 12,000 sq ft unit in 1992 that is equipped with half a dozen cutting tables and specific stock for cut-length customers. Crucially, this is supported by a state-of-the-art information system supplied by Reflex Data Systems. "We need to know where every piece of fabric is located within the warehouse and we need to make the most of our storage space," says Financial Director Andrew Gautry.
Prestigious Textiles has worked closely with Reflex Data Systems to ensure that the Mertex package meets the company's requirements. The sales order entry system is being integrated with a new telephone system that is being installed and which will enable direct order entry. Already, orders from the French subsidiary are processed alongside orders from UK customers, as Andrew Gautry points out: "In the UK, we try to achieve delivery within 24 hours of receiving orders and guarantee delivery within 48 hours. Orders from France are received on the same system across a Virtual Private Network, which uses an ADSL internet connection, and are fulfilled from Bradford. French customers receive their goods within 72 hours of placing the order."
Prestigious Textiles currently handles nearly 7,000 orders a month and this volume continues to increase. Andrew Gautry explains the important role played by the company's information systems: "As we raise our profile in the cut-length market, we must ensure that customer service is of the highest standard and goods are delivered on time. Our decision to purchase the system from Reflex was largely due to their ability to offer barcode technology as part of the solution. This enables us to offer a full track-and-trace facility. So, for example, we can immediately pinpoint stock - even matching dye batches or taking fabric from the same roll, if that is what the customer needs."
The cut-length warehouse is equipped with ten handheld scanners, as well as another five located with PCs on the cutting tables. Using Radio Frequency technology, these are all linked to the Mertex system, allowing warehouse staff to put-away or locate stock quickly and accurately. This is no small advantage for a company that offers up to 9,000 options of colours and designs and introduces around 60 cotton prints and 300 jacquard fabrics every year. "We had been running out of warehouse space, but are now able to store fabrics more efficiently - filling holes on the shelves and avoiding the need to place one item all in one place," says Andrew Gautry. "We have been able to manage the growth of our business more efficiently."
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