When Crew needed to replace aging PCs, to improve performance and support a software rollout, it turned to trusted partner Total to simplify the process. Total sourced, configured and shipped new PCs for 50 of Crew’s branches, providing a straightforward, cost-effective way to customize the equipment for the stores.
Founded in 1993, Crew Clothing is a growing UK retailer of high-end British casual clothing, for men, women and children. The company has 76 stores across the UK, with more than 500 employees.
Crew needed to replace ageing PCs in 50 of its stores, to provide the speed and performance necessary to enable a rollout of Microsoft Dynamics. Additionally, the slow performance of the existing PCs was starting to impact on customer service, and customers had to wait too long for products to be scanned or their details taken.
To replace its PCs, Crew chose Total to provide new Fujitsu computers. Crew and Total have an established relationship, with Total providing a broad mix of hardware, including desktop and laptop PCs, iPads, servers, storage, switches, and accessories and consumables such as cabling and memory.
Total had previously proved its logistical capabilities to Crew, having obtained PCs, monitors, receipt printers, cash drawers and barcode scanners from different sources and then shipped them to new stores in a single, timed delivery.
As well as the new PCs, Total provided a configuration service where it received all of Crew’s new PCs, set them up, and then shipped them to the stores.
Total carried out all this work at its own site, and held Crew’s stock of PCs until the stores were ready to receive them. Crew’s IT manager was able to visit Total and ensure the machines were configured exactly to his specification.
As part of the service, Total added solid state drives (SSDs), extra memory, and additional cards, and then installed the disk image prepared by Crew onto each new machine. Finally, Total tested each PC and then sent it directly to the appropriate Crew branch.
“The main reason we chose Total was the configuration service, which has worked really, really well,” says Stefan Chunchukov, IT Support Manager at Crew Clothing, who heads up the company’s five-strong IT team. “Also, we price-matched Total’s proposal against other major resellers, and it came out best.”
“The configuration service was very cost effective and saved me a lot of headaches and a lot of work, so all we had to do was remotely backup the data from the old till and restore it to the new one,” says Stefan. “Without this service, I would have had to hire someone for at least a couple of months, so Total saved me this cost, as well as the need to manage and train them.”
Total sent each PC using a next-day courier, and the schedule was agreed with Stefan so each store knew when to expect its new machine. Usually, the computer arrived on a Thursday, and then on the next Monday an engineer arrived before trading to install it.
The main benefit of the new computers is improved performance, which means customers receive a faster service. Stefan comments, “When you walk in the store and scan an item to buy something, it used to take 3 to 5 seconds to come up on screen – now it’s basically instant.”
Another significant benefit is the speed with which Crew can capture details from customers in stores – either to add new people to its database, or look up existing records.
With the old PCs, data capture used to take 20 to 30 seconds. Stefan comments, “Fairly regularly, stores were not even bothering – they might have five people they need to serve, and want to help them as quickly as possible, so they wouldn’t even attempt data capture.”
“Now, taking details is immediate,” says Stefan. “This has significantly improved the customer experience, and helped stores reach their targets for data capture.” This data enables Crew to increase the accuracy and efficiency of its marketing.
Other tasks are also much quicker. For example, if there is a hardware failure or the database becomes corrupt, the head office must re-send all the relevant jobs to set up the in-store PC. Previously this would take three to five hours, but now with the new equipment it takes only 20 minutes. This means that Crew can be sure all tasks are complete before a store opens, avoiding the risk of delays that would stop in-store purchases.
As well as systems for the stores, Total also supplies the vast majority of IT equipment for Crew’s head office. Total is an accredited partner of Fujitsu, which enabled it to secure discounts for Crew, and Stefan comments, “Total almost always matches the best price we can get.”
“Total were good at helping us figure out exactly what equipment we needed to buy, and they have a Fujitsu specialist, which is useful,” says Stefan. “Total’s people respond quickly, typically within an hour for emails. I would definitely rate their technical knowledge and skills, and they have good relationships with Fujitsu and the other vendors we use.”
Stefan concludes, “We haven’t had any problems, and Total have done a great job in configuring the computers and shipping them out on time, every time.”