Informer shines light on Blendworth alongside Mertex upgrade success

Hampshire-based Blendworth Interiors now has a software system to match its ambitions. With the upgrade to Mertex ERP and additional investment in Mertex Informer, the company sees future growth with clarity.

The independent soft furnishings company is celebrating its 100th year, and while steeped in British tradition, it is very much a 21st century operation. From its beginnings on London’s Regent Street in 1921, the current enchanting collections are a perfect combination of heritage and innovation.

Blendworth has been a Reflex Data customer for 20 years, so the decision to move to Mertex ERP was an easy one.

Managing director Joshua Dawson says that in addition to the expected benefits such as being able to access any screen in no more than three clicks, its continuous evolvement is having an impact. “The Reflex team is constantly building on Mertex ERP and we get the updates free of charge, which most recently for example, have helped us improve our sample service.” Joshua is keen to add that while the updates benefit all customers using Mertex ERP, they still feel tailored to the business.

Blendworth is currently aiming for an ISO9001 accreditation and, according to Joshua, the new version of Mertex ‘sits beautifully’ alongside their progress towards achieving it. “Our work on continuous improvement seems to be mirrored in Mertex ERP,” he adds.

The company also invested in the Mertex M2M module for curtains, blinds and cushions, marking a new development for Blendworth as it takes its updated service to market. “We can capture all the details at the point of order, it creates a works order and there is a seamless flow through every process from cutting to finishing via periodic barcode scanning which updates the system so everyone can see the progress.

“It’s a million times better than our previous M2M system which was legacy system from another vendor.”

Alongside the upgrade, Blendworth also invested in the data analytics platform Mertex Informer, which Reflex has integrated into Mertex ERP. It is third party ‘best of breed’ reporting software and is intended to provide customers with access to reliable and detailed information through its clever management and interpretation of data.

“The beauty of it is the speed in which you can view almost any information and how easy it is to drill down to the detail,” says Joshua.

“Our sales reps want constant feedback and now we can provide reliable information quickly. Previously, we had to request tailored reports from the team at Reflex Data which took time and cost money.”

Joshua says that Mertex Informer has unleashed the power to make business decisions based on fact rather than hunches. He gives the example of one of his sales team insisting that patterns including birds did not sell well in a particular area. A swiftly generated report from informer showed the opposite was true with ‘feathered friends’ populating the top 10 selling ranges. “Our design team is now actively using information from the platform to inform its creative decisions.”

He also credits Mertex Informer with helping to retain customers on the company’s loyalty scheme. We are able to generate reports which clearly show their return on investment and we’re now using this information to recruit other customers onto the scheme.

During the pandemic, Mertex Informer has proved vital in helping the sales team plan their strategies for the coming year. “They can easily identify geographic weaknesses and see how well collections are performing and where,” says Joshua.

Blendworth’s customer base primarily comprises independent retailers and specifiers, and this is where Joshua believes the future lies. As the company grows, Mertex ERP and Mertex Informer will be key to helping them manage an increasing list of small customers and to helping the business grow.

“We already work across two sites in Portsmouth and Rochdale, and Mertex ERP is allowing a seamless flow of information between the two. We now have the right system in place to pursue acquisitions.

“All in all, we believe that the upgrade to Mertex V7 and addition of Mertex Informer will help us grow and feel comfortable in our ability to manage growth. The system will be built upon, get better and better and is in line with our continuous improvement strategy.

“The investment has been well worth it and we are even on course to make annual savings.”