Latham’s Steel Security Doorsets

Case Study

Lathams Logo | Orderwise

Latham’s is a family-owned brand leading the way in UK steel security door production, manufacturing bespoke doorsets in one arm of the business, while their ever-expanding hardware trade store offers all the accompanying accessories in the other.

After spotting a lack of standardisation in the UK security door market, Latham’s Steel Security Doorsets created great success by answering the industry gap. The business’ innovative and customer-centric approach has enabled them to become the UK’s leading supplier in the field, as well as to branch into a hardware trade counter and even take the business internationally.

Offering bespoke and cost-effective alternatives to traditional market options, the doors are made from the highest quality galvanised steel, with a professional, fine powder-coating and a wide selection of security upgrades and hardware accessories available. To ensure they can always meet customer requests, Latham’s manufacture a wide range of designs to suit any requirement, whether for residential and industrial use. Dedicated to earning their first-class reviews, Latham’s focus on delivering excellent customer satisfaction, day in, day out.

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The Requirement

Back in 2016, Latham’s were seeing trade increase across the steel security doorsets and hardware business. However, the team recognised that to continue this success, their operations needed to innovate to cope with their growing demand.

At the time, spreadsheets and google sheets were used to run operations and the large number of formulas and documents caused their system to crash hourly, resulting in costly delays and inefficiencies.

Moreover, the manual inputting system left the business open to widespread errors, with the knock-on impacts causing problems months down the line.

“We were using spreadsheets and google sheets to run the business  and the sheer volume of formulas that linked each sheet to one another genuinely caused the system to crash hourly. It simply wasn’t sustainable for that reason alone. The amount of manual input meant increasing errors, over-typing of formulas, and we’d find out months later down the line that we had been pulling from numbers that should have been a formula. That’s just one example.”
Alex Latham, Managing Director

For managing their active orders and deliveries, the Latham’s team had endless manual tasks to complete that wasted valuable employee time. Typing out up to 100 customer postcodes into google maps from their excel spreadsheet records, the deliveries and routes then had to be manually calculated, while organising the corresponding paperwork to call and notify each customer was completed one-by-one by each driver.

As their enterprise continued to grow, it became clear that the manufacturing and trade counter business needed a new strategy to ensure they could sustain their success and rising numbers of orders while keeping their customer service front and centre.

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Implementing OrderWise

Latham’s needed a solution that could automate many of their daily tasks and bring each stage of their operations together, right from initial order and payment to in-house manufacturing and front door delivery. Keen to reduce the unnecessary and costly legwork in their business, Latham’s needed end-to-end business management software across every department to enable fast and frictionless processing of their custom goods from start to finish.

“We needed efficiency, really. We needed a CRM and standardisation across the board, so every department could be taught a process once that could feed into every other department seamlessly. We needed something scalable that could keep up with the growth of the business and something that we could customise to our own needs.”
Nick Attfield, Marketing and IT Manager

They chose an OrderWise ERP and WMS solution, complete with software for Accounts, Business intelligence, KPI Dashboards, Manufacturing, Kitting, Ecommerce, CRM, Transport Management and more.

Offering the flexibility, connectivity and scalability the business was searching for, the aim was to boost a seamless fulfilment that worked for both their team and produced the highest possible levels of service for the end-consumer too.

“We tend to do things a little differently to most people, we don’t conform to traditional patterns of working, and OrderWise saw this. When choosing a software provider, we were looking for someone willing to work with us. And because we tend to evolve at such a quick pace, it was somebody willing to put those changes in and work with us through everything we needed.”
Chris Hardy, Operations Manager

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The OrderWise Solution

Since implementing their end-to-end OrderWise ERP and WMS solution, the Latham’s business has seen success after success as they continue to expand their operations with confidence.

“It’s a business that’s growing at a really quick rate. Over the space of 12 months, we were in a completely different place to where we were back then, so we’re just coming on leaps and bounds, year-on-year.”
Chris Hardy, Operations Manager

Ever-conscious to provide only the best services, Latham’s Steel Security Doorsets has also achieved multiple ISO accreditations for quality assurance, health and safety standards, and ongoing environmental and waste reduction efforts.

“Over the past couple of years, a big part of gaining our ISO 9001, 45001, 14001 achievements was our standardisation, and being able to incorporate everything, from our sales, purchasing, despatch and manufacturing, into one system so it’s traceable and now everything is logged in one place.”
Chris Hardy, Operations Manager

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Manufacturing and Trade Store Management

Manufacturing their doors entirely in-house, Latham’s Steel Security Doorsets can control their production efficiently while accurately recording all their costs, labour, equipment, builds and components using OrderWise Manufacturing.

Moreover, with the ability to manage multi-stage builds, sub-assemblies and flexible product specification, OrderWise Manufacturing can cater for the business’ quantity of bespoke works orders too. The configure works order tool within their sales order processing allows for further customisation.

“Ultimately, we rely heavily on OrderWise to run this for us now. Investing in our infrastructure has allowed us to take control of all our manufacturing processes. Management and staff deserve credit too, to keep the staff skilled and ultimately happy, but the long and short of it is that OrderWise takes the legwork out of this.”
Alex Latham, Managing Director

With the Works Order Planner, the business can quickly schedule tasks, conduct and record BOM revisions and see any outstanding works orders to complete. Factoring in each stage of production with OrderWise, Latham’s have been able to maximise their fulfilment and reduce wasted resources.

“Holding the large stocks of components is great for us because it opens up our offering to, well, an unrivalled level. But it does produce challenges when it comes to kitting and manufacturing in large volumes. We run two parallel systems using OrderWise functionality; build-to-stock and build-on-order, which allows large volumes of orders to be built upfront, but slower movers to be built as we go, so we can prevent allocating stock against slower-moving bundles that could be used for faster-selling lines.”
Nick Attfield, Marketing and IT Manager

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Furthermore, when picking goods in despatch for their trade store, the Latham’s Hardware team makes use of their OrderWise WMS for Android Devices. Increasing pick accuracy and speed with barcode scanning technology, pickers can also get an instant optimised view of tasks to complete in the most efficient ways.

To stay informed of stock quantities and peaks in demand, OrderWise Business Intelligence processes all their business data on to go. So, the Purchasing Module can ensure the right quantities of component stock is ordered ahead of time, factoring in seasonal trends, ongoing demand and lead times within the chain of supply.

“OrderWise Purchasing takes care of this for us. It gives us insight into what our selling trends are and if there are any other strange peaks that we typically wouldn’t be finding. Before this, we didn’t even know there were seasonal trends for hardware – who knew! We can factor in things like growth factors and additional lead time buffers, so we are rarely caught out with stock outages now.”
Nick Attfield, Marketing and IT Manager

Logistics and express delivery

At the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, the businesses moved ahead with the OrderWise Proof of Delivery (POD) application and the Transport Management module. Revolutionising how the Latham’s team manage their order processing and delivery calculations, the software enables easier communication with their customers when they needed it most.

With OrderWise seamlessly integrating with their chosen couriers, including Palletways, Royal Mail, The Pallet Network and XDP, the business could automate many of their manual rekeying tasks, achieve greater cost efficiency, and provide comprehensive tracking for all their deliveries.

“OrderWise has allowed us to optimise everything from the moment the sales order comes in. With the routes that we can plan, we can actually give customers an estimated time of arrival. We can also send out notifications if it’s coming out via a third-party haulier and, as well, if it’s coming by a courier like Royal Mail. So, once goods go to despatch, after that point, our customers are getting a text message or an email to let them know and keep them in the loop.”
Nick Attfield, Marketing and IT Manager

The OrderWise POD devices and full Android Google Maps integration have enabled a new level of traceability of Latham’s drivers and orders, while ensuring the most optimal route planning for minimal wastage and costs. Plus, linking directly into their centralised OrderWise solution, the devices provide quick and easy visibility and scheduling, with everything from delivery type to customer contact details immediately to hand.

“Proof of delivery has meant we can see where everything is and programme our runs from there on out, which is much, much better. We click a button and it does all the calculation work for us and saves us a lot of time. Now we have been able to drop all that into the one system, wherein as soon as the order hits despatch they get an email or a text message, and that’s it covered – and that includes all our subcontractors too.

“We can have each delivery as an electronic signature, and live map our drivers as well to see which deliveries they have done and have yet to do. Whereas before, we were using separate GPS trackers on the vans, but now it’s all built into mobile phones that integrate straight into the OrderWise system.”
Chris Hardy, Operations Manager

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With the ClickSend Notification triggers and notification provider, Latham’s Steel Security Doorsets can accurately keep their customers informed of their orders in real-time automatically.

“OrderWise also enables us to let customers know if items are ready for collection too, so if the item has been through manufacturing and it’s ready, a notification trigger will automatically let customers know it’s ready for collection, so we’ve covered all bases whether orders are going out with any of our deliveries, our in-house service, any of our contractors, even with Royal Mail or whether it’s ready for collection – they get a notification regardless.”
Alex Latham, Managing Director 

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Taking customer payments

The Latham’s brand was conscious that they needed to make their consumer journey as frictionless as possible to give the optimal experience to their valued customers.

Integrating OrderWise with their Amazon and eBay marketplaces, Latham’s Steel Security Doorsets and Hardware can ensure the stock availability and pricing is updated in real-time across their listings.

Using a payment portal, Latham’s can provide quotes with live payment links to process card payments seamlessly. Moreover, this also enables bulk orders to be placed at the customer’s convenience and handled smoothly for the Latham’s team too.

“Since payments and allocations are handled within OrderWise, the accounts module simply pulls this all together, making what would have been a three-person task for the size of our business now only a one-person task. And an efficiency gain that deserves a mention here is the payment function on quotes which allows customers to click a link of the pdf quote or proforma and pay online. This saves so much time compared with taking payment over the phone.”
Alex Latham, Managing Director

What’s next for Latham’s?

Embracing the steep organic curve in growth, Latham’s are looking to bring in new product lines, new certifications, and further increase their offerings. Having recently introduced a fabrications division, where, manufacturing yet more products in-house, the business is looking forward to expanding the scope for their stock doors to be used in more markets and opening sizes.

They are also excited to go live with OrderWise e-commerce integration for the Latham’s Steel Security Doorsets and Hardware websites. Where, logging each order instantly within OrderWise, their works orders will be automatically generated within the warehouse for picks and builds, saving further time by removing more of their manual rekeying and scheduling.

“We’re fortunate to be an ecommerce driven business. There’s been a continued focus on our online presence and we look forward to integrating with our websites on both Hardware and Doors sides of our business with OrderWise. What we’re really looking forward to is that first order that comes straight in off the website and is in the system to be sent straight down to manufacturing with no hands in the middle – it’s there and waiting to go.”
Chris Hardy, Operations Manager

Lathams website | Orderwise

Taking their doors internationally, the Latham’s brand is currently setting up premises in Australia, cyclone testing their products for the local demand.

“We’re looking at ways to integrate between all the businesses in the Latham’s umbrella, integrating between Latham’s hardware, Latham’s doors and Latham’s Australia once that’s live.”
Chris Hardy, Operations Manager

“Coming soon, we’re looking forward to integrating our Australia business with OrderWise too.”
Alex Latham, Managing Director

visit the Latham’s Hardware website
visit the Latham’s Steel Security Doorsets website

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