The Altfield Story
Altfield are recognised as a leading supplier of beautiful Textiles, Wallcoverings & Leather. With galleries in Hong Kong and London, Altfield distribute a number of high-end brands from around the world, together with a collection of smaller boutique and artisanal lines.
A family run company established in 1982, Altfield was originally known for its Antique Chinese furniture and objet d’art, introducing its first line of Grasscloth wallcovering in 1993. Since then, with its own collections and new lines, Altfield has become the premier design house for decorative textiles and innovative wallcoverings.
Altfield represents a total of 16 brands, showcased in the recently refurbished Chelsea Harbour showroom. Its UK head office and warehouse are set in the heart of the beautiful Wiltshire countryside and deals with order processing, goods dispatch, customer service and accounts. It also houses some stock which customers can view by appointment or arrange to be delivered to their prestigious London showroom in Chelsea Harbour.
Altfield’s ranges have that desirable quality and their furnishing products can be found everywhere, from superyachts and top restaurants to 5* hotels, and boutique shops – not forgetting luxurious homes.
Altfield’s Business Requirement
The success of Altfield’s business, and in particular the popularity of its London Showroom, highlighted the need to have all the UK sales channels and operations linked to one system. With the customer experience a priority in the luxury interiors market, Altfield also wanted to provide the sales teams access to key information such as stock and sales on mobile devices, creating a more agile operation.
Alas, the existing system was complicated, unsupported and understood by few people in the company - it was time for change!
Caroline Aylward, Operations Manager joined Altfield as the company was deploying Microsoft Dynamics NAV; ‘Dynamics NAV came highly recommended by our Hong Kong subsidiary. It made sense to adopt the same platform and gave us the option to integrate the systems in the future, as well as having an international platform on which to expand.’
Dynamics NAV was implemented in January 2013 and a year later Altfield looked for a new technology partner to help them develop the capabilities of the solution.
Caroline explains: ‘We knew from first meeting The NAV | 365 People that they really understood Dynamics NAV and could help us get the best out of the solution. They listened to our needs and didn’t try to fit us into some predefined mould. They also offered a superior and cost effective support package.’
"We knew from first meeting The NAV | 365 People that they really understood Dynamics NAV"
End to end business solution
Altfield have grown to love Dynamics NAV and use it across the entire business - from finance to customer services, warehouse and sales.
Caroline clarifies: ‘Using one comprehensive solution across the organisation has made a huge improvement to process efficiency. We record all customer interactions, which gives us extensive knowledge of our customers, their journey with us and their buying history. It is invaluable in tailoring our sales and marketing strategy to our customer base.’
What next? Altfield were keen to find a mobile solution with real-time data that could be used in the London showroom and by the sales people when on the move.
They selected MobileNAV, an integrated and highly configurable solution for smartphones and tablets that can be used without an internet connection. The ability to carry out business offline and then synchronise with the Dynamics NAV system when next online meant that the customer experience was never compromised!
Caroline comments: ‘The sales teams can access real-time stock information whilst dealing with customers in the showroom, delivering a more professional and modern customer experience.’
"The NAV | 365 People worked with us to tailor it to our requirements"
Jet Reports from Jet Global have sped up the entire reporting process – with Jet’s amazing automation features the sales teams are provided with sales and stock reports daily as well as the normal monthly reports that are produced detailing year on year performance.
Caroline remarks; ‘It used to be a laborious manual task pulling together the sales reports, particularly as information wasn’t located in one place. Jet Reports has streamlined the whole process. It is a powerful tool that is simple to use.’
Altfield have created a fantastic dashboard that incorporates all the elements employees need to easily access and produce regular reports, all delivered with permissions based access for security.
"Jet Reports has streamlined the whole process. It is a powerful tool that is simple to use"
Caroline continues: ‘Previously, the finance team had to produce sales reports as they were the only ones who could use the system. Now automated reports are sent to the relevant sales people and management and with the new dashboard any user can run ad-hoc reports, alleviating the burden on finance and releasing their time for more strategic work.’
- Data governance: Workflow processes ensure users enter the required information before moving to the next stage, ensuring all interactions are recorded. This delivers a better service through building detailed profiles of customers.
- Credit control management: in-depth overview of customer financial accounts including all returns, outstanding amounts and credit limits has improved Altfield’s financial controls.
- Operational efficiency: By simplifying and automating many tasks across sales order processing, financial accounting and customer service, Altfield has absorbed increased workload without extra headcount.
Caroline concludes: ‘We have achieved efficiencies across the board since deploying Dynamics NAV three years ago and the enhancements like MobileNAV have improved how we serve our customers. The NAV | 365 People worked with us to tailor it to our requirements. They are a genuinely nice company to deal with, knowledgeable, professional but also really personable. In a long term business relationship, what more can you ask for?’Read more