Case Studies

Below is a selection of case studies of organisations that have achieved significant business benefits through the use of information and communication technologies. InterForum has details on hundreds of other organisations that have achieved similar benefits in their particular industry sector. For more details of other such organisations, please email kirstie@interforum.org

 

Delap and Waller
With seven offices spread across three countries, keeping in touch is critical for Delap and Waller, an Irish company that designs and project manages the installation of electrical, lighting and ventilation systems for new buildings. Using a mix of broadband, sophisticated software and video links, the 170 staff in Northern Ireland, the Irish Republic and England can communicate with clients around the world. After spending some 750,000 on IT, the company has enjoyed an impressive return on that investment. The use of e-commerce has significantly reduced print and travel costs by some 500 a month and productivity has increased by 20 per cent as a result of its ability to share information across many sites. Find out more...

Anything Lefthanded
The Surrey-based business, Anything Left-Handed, sells left-handed products to specialist retailers via conventional mail order, through a central London shop and via the web. Online sales increased rapidly in 2002 and accounted for 25% of business when ALH was a regional winner in the UK online for business / InterForum e-Commerce Awards. In 2003, sales via the website are on track to increase almost threefold while the other sales channels remain stable or decline. Yet while turnover from Internet sales increases rapidly, the company is finding it difficult to capitalise on this growing success because it is spending too much time on more traditional sales channels.
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Dabs.com
When Dabs.com took its mail order operations online it left bigger, richer competitors for dead and is now eyeing Continental expansion. The company's growth has hinged around the tough decision to close down its telephone sales team in 2000. Customers were instead asked to order online. It turned out to be the right decision. Dabs turned an 800,000 profit the next year and last year profits reached 5m. In a competitive market, however, Dabs cannot afford to rest on its laurels and in September 2003 invested 500,000 in a website relaunch. International expansion is also on the cards.
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Interface Fabrics
Having seen sales revenue drop by over 20 per cent in three years, furniture textiles company Interface Fabrics has had to cut its costs and develop new markets. E-commerce is playing a central role. Since the company redeveloped its online sample service, 1,500 registered users from 30 countries can view and order specific fabric samples (colours and styles) via the Internet. It cuts down the time and costs of fulfilling each request. Together with its new online ordering system, the company's e-commerce ROI runs at 300 per cent and there are other ways it can develop its market potential further.
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Plade
Strong business leads and a big contract win followed when Plade, a manufacturer of custom designed equipment for the semiconductor industry, revamped its website. The website which averages 7,400 page requests per month - a high number given the obscure nature of Plade's business - has been the single biggest factor in driving growth in exports, which have accounted for all of Plade's sales growth over the last five years. Now the company is about to embark on selling its products online, which should help Plade drive its overall turnover even higher.
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Woodland Trust
The UK Phenology Project, set up by the Woodland Trust, gathers precious information about the effects climate change has on gardens, farmland, wilderness and the world. Since launching its web site, the project now enables some 21,500 volunteer recorders of wildlife/climate information to log their information live online. Managed on a relatively small budget of just under 100,000 per year, the site provides vital information to the Woodland Trust, which sees climate change as the single biggest threat to the habitats it protects.
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