About Lifestyle Appliances
Formed in 2001, Lifestyle Appliances Ltd is one of the largest independent suppliers of outdoor leisure products in the UK.
They have a reputation renowned throughout the industry for supplying quality products and exceptional after sales support. This is evident for both their industrial and leisure products, which provides unparalleled reassurance for their clients and their customers.
Based in Redditch, they currently employ 7 members of staff who use 6 desktops.
Number of Employees: 7
Partnered with OGL since: 2012
Company Location: Worcestershire
Company Website: www.lifestyleappliances.co.uk
Case Study Update - July 2020
Lifestyle Appliances Ltd, one of the UK’s largest independent suppliers of outdoor leisure products, has seen a surge in online sales during the recent lockdown period, which the company managed with the latest software, cyber security and remote working tools.
The award-winning Redditch-based company was formed in 2001 and enjoys a strong reputation in the retail, leisure and hospitality, and industrial sectors. In the past quarter, Lifestyle Appliances’ business has experienced growing online demand as more of us stay at home and many of its retail customers started buying online rather than visiting the showroom.
The company already used a range of Managed IT services from its Kidderminster-based technology partner of 12 years, OGL Computer, including IT Support, Office 365, Cloud Recovery and Proactive Administration, to manage business processes. But it was OGL Computer’s ERP software that helped Lifestyle Appliances manage the online spike in sales.
OGL’s integrated CRM, accounts and purchasing ERP (enterprise resource planning) solution combines data from all sales channels into one platform. By bringing together information from many different systems, Lifestyle Appliances was able to process orders more efficiently.
Lifestyle Appliances' Director, explains: “OGL Software really came to the fore as it enabled us to track stock movements quickly and keep our customers up to speed with the daily fluctuations in stock availability, so we could pass this accurate information on to our customer base.”
While OGL Computer’s Cloud Recovery solution gave Lifestyle Appliances’ peace of mind with automated off-site backups of its data, Office 365 supported the company’s flexible remote working environment. They explain: “A small number of staff utilised mobile VPN set ups to work from home and this enabled them to access the OGL platform real-time from a remote location to process sales orders and purchase orders. This kept the flow of orders to be dispatched going into the warehouse so that delivery time promises for our internet customer base were maintained.
“Our view on remote working has totally changed. We feel that as we transit out of the pandemic and return to what you might call the “new normal”, practices implemented during the pandemic and lockdown will be maintained as standard working practice as a result of them being recognised as a far more efficient way of conducting our business.”
Lifestyle Appliances has also recently invested in technology from OGL Computer’s Cyber Security division, CyberGuard Technologies’ with next-generation anti-virus, Carbon Black Defense, to help protect its network via real-time monitoring and advanced security measures.
A cost-effective first line of protection, Carbon Black Defense provides real-time monitoring of user behaviour to identify and report suspicious or malicious activities. By protecting user endpoints and offering a rapid response to suspected threats on mobile devices and BYODs, since implementation Carbon Black Defense has already reduced the amount of virus-attacks Lifestyle Appliances had previously encountered.
Nick Davies, Head of Software Development at OGL Computer, concluded: “With our range of IT support services and security solutions in place around our ERP software, Lifestyle Appliances is better able to manage expectations of customers, partners and staff. We’re finding that more distributors, like Lifestyle Appliances, are coming to us wanting to improve or even set up e-commerce stores, so our e-commerce team is very busy. Using our services, those distributors are safe in the knowledge that their IT infrastructure is robust, secure and stable, so their teams can easily increase sales without any additional administration effort or cost.”
Original case study published August 2019:
Investment in a good IT partner is crucial for distributor’s success
Having been an OGL customer for over seven years, Lifestyle Appliances understand just how important investing in a good IT partner is to progress their business and become the largest independent supplier of leisure products within the UK. We met up with Lifestyle Appliances’ Company Secretary, to discuss their unique partnership with OGL: “Back in 2012 we started our OGL journey by investing in their Business Software, prof.ITplus. Without their software we definitely wouldn’t be able to continue to operate. All of our purchasing, invoicing, accounting and stock control is all run from prof.ITplus, so it really is our life support.
“Having been a customer for a number of years, we felt confident in them looking after our IT solutions, and they’ve since gone on to provide us with IT Support, Office 365, Cloud Recovery and Proactive Administration.”
They continued: “We are always looking to keep up-to-date with IT developments and how they can improve the efficiency of the administration processes within our business, and thereby enabling the business to grow without increasing the hidden costs of administering such growth. OGL has drastically helped with this.
“Their Cloud Recovery solution has also given us peace of mind and improved our data security. The automated off-site backups have removed the element of human error and kept our data secure. They also supply us with Office 365, which not only helps us create a modern working environment by being able to work remotely, but this also helps with our IT security, as hosting our emails in the cloud allows it to be safely backed up.
“With cyber-crime increasing, we turned our attention to proactively invest in our cyber security, which ultimately led us into talks with OGL’s Cyber Security division, CyberGuard. We were interested in mitigating the probability of a cyber-attack and we really wanted to adhere to the requirements implemented in the updated data protection laws, especially GDPR, which was launched last year.
“As OGL is our IT partner it was an easy decision to work alongside them for our cyber security. They recommended their next-generation anti-virus product, Carbon Black Defense which offers real-time monitoring and advanced security measures to help protect our network. Since being installed it has certainly reduced the amount of virus-attacks we have encountered, and these attacks have been neutralised at the source before they have had the opportunity to infiltrate our systems which we are extremely happy about.”
Lifestyle Appliances’, Company Secretary concluded: “Ongoing investment in IT is critical to maintain updated and protected operating systems and platforms so that all our, and our customers’, information is held within a secure environment to avoid cyber-attacks and fraudulent use of the information held. We feel confident in partnering with OGL and excited what the future holds.”
“We are always looking to keep up-to-date with IT developments and how they can improve the efficiency of the administration processes within our business and thereby enabling the business to grow without increasing the hidden costs of administering such growth. OGL has dramatically helped improve this.”