Many business owners harbour dreams of becoming bigger and overseeing a chain of offices or shops, but few realise their ambition.
There are many obstacles to overcome when you look to grow a company, one of which is IT; however, thanks in part to Pisys.net, one business who relied heavily on IT and telecommunications to operate, were able to open new offices throughout South Wales.
Miles Hire, an independent, Welsh, family run hire company, is a second-generation company with brothers Ryan and Darren Miles at the helm. They have grown steadily over the years and have recently opened their fourth depot in Cardiff.
Jo-Ann Miles commented, “We work closely with all of our customers and meet regularly with them to understand their IT requirements, issues and business ambitions to ensure our service is in line with the needs of the business and Miles Hire is no different.”
Having been a customer of Pisys.net for over 15 years, both organisations know each other very well, and although hire company is officially recognised as the best UK hire firm for 2017 and one of the leading businesses in Wales, the relationship started from humble beginnings.
Ryan Miles, Director, commented, “In the early days, we operated from a single site in Swansea (now our Head Office), and we approached Pisys.net to provide us with a better internet connection and two new computers. Fast forward to today and the oversee the IT operations for all four of our sites.”
Through partnerships with local builder’s merchants, Miles Hire grew their business by opening small depots on the sites of Exall & Jones in Swansea as well as Braceys in Bridgend and over time, each depot began to develop their customer base.
Ryan continued “Take Bridgend for example; we were initially based in a temporary out-building however as we grew, we began negotiations to move to a larger unit but needed the right IT in place as there was no phone line or any connectivity in place.”
This is where Jo-Ann and her team stepped in to help plan the IT aspect of the move. Jo-Ann explained, “By sitting down with the Miles Hire team and looking at their plans, we were able to use our knowledge of their business to provide an IT solution that future proofed the depot.”
The Pisys.net team arranged for the installation of fibre broadband, an NFON telephone system, new computer and printer, all of which were installed in time for the opening of the new site.
Ryan commented “Thanks to Jo-Ann, we were able to hand over all the hassle of the IT and telephone side of the move to Pisys.net. The day we officially opened, everything was installed and working perfectly, so our depot team could carry on as normal.”
The firm now has depots in Swansea, Bridgend, Miskin and a new office in Cardiff and communication is a vital cog in the operations of the business.
Darren Miles, Director, outlined the importance; “We provide power tools, plant and access equipment to businesses across South Wales and it is vital that customers can contact each depot and talk to a member of the team. It is equally important for each depot to contact each other as stock availability can change on an hour-by-hour basis so fast, effective communication is critical.”
Darren continued, “In addition to identifying available stock, we have two sales reps and multiple drivers on the road, so contacting people while they are out of the office is essential to our business. Products such as NFON and Office 365 have been a real game-changer for our business in that aspect.”
NFON features such as free transfer of calls between depots, free transfers to mobile phones and a tailored “hunt” system which ensures no calls are missed, have been hugely influential in allowing the firm to grow as Ryan explained.
“Take our Miskin depot for example. Since Cardiff has opened, it acts as a satellite depot and staff may regularly be away from that site on deliveries. If a customer walks in while no-one is there in person, NFON allows the customer to contact a local depot to place a hire order by simply pressing the depot name on the phone to make a free call.”
Initially apprehensive about this recommendation by Pisys.net, it has worked flawlessly, and there has been minimal interruption to business, allowing Miles Hire to progress with expansion plans by moving existing staff between sites rather than having the cost of recruiting new team members.
In addition to the telecommunications solution, Pisys.net have also provided Office 365 to all staff members backed up by Onedrive. This allows all staff to access emails and documents from anywhere that has an internet connection, including from mobile devices using 4G.
Darren explained, “As our staff regularly move between depots, the ability to simply walk in, log on to the computer and pick up emails, enquiries as well as access product sheets and quotes allows us to be more flexible as a business.”
This IT flexibility was a key factor in the opening of a new site on Portmanmoor Road in Cardiff.
Ryan commented “We see Pisys.net as our IT partners, so we involved them early on in our plans for Cardiff. We wanted to move our accounts department there which involved new software installation as well as multiple computers, phone lines, broadband and printers and the need to install new cables and switches.”
“They not only understood exactly what we needed, but they also developed a cost-effective solution and managed the whole process. As with Bridgend, they took away the hassle so when we walked in on opening day; everything was in place and ready.”
By working closely with customers, Jo-Ann and her team add real value by understanding business needs, analysing IT requirements for up-sizing (or downsizing) the business and providing an honest evaluation of the most cost-effective solutions available.
So while there are many factors involved in the expansion of a company, with Pisys.net, the IT aspect of growth is in safe hands delivered by a team who partner their customers, not just serve them.
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