The former rugby player on taking ePos software by storm.
Chris Garland is the managing director of jewellery POS software firm Bransom Retail Systems. While the recession may have impacted some businesses, Bransom recorded 20% in H1 this year, and has won key retail clients both new, and returning. He was named a Business Big Shot in the Professional Jeweller Hot 100 2012, in association with the Company of Master Jewellers.
Professional Jeweller: ePOS systems and stock control software might not be the sexiest part of the jewellery industry, but it is important. Tell us about Bransom’s year so far
Chris Garland: With the meteoric rise in silver and bead brands, retailers are jumping over each other to grasp opportunities to move from slow turnover businesses to high volume fashion retailers, to the explosion of gold buying and pawnbroking. It certainly hasn’t been dull at Bransom. This year we have enjoyed 20% growth in first six months of the year, and many of our jewellery clients have also achieved growth. Launching the largest amount of software development in Bransom’s history, some of which is now being rolled-out while more is in the beta testing phase, has been a highlight.
PJ: How important is a good stock system for a jewellery retailer?
CG: IT might not win any glamour awards in the jewellery trade, but it is critical to the success of any business and even more so in today’s market place. For us, the real excitement comes from seeing our new products work in the retail environment and the success it brings to our customers. We have close working relationships with leading brands and buying groups to help them improve B2B integration with retailers by automating processes such as loading new products, images, price changes and providing suppliers with stock, sales and order information.
PJ: What have been your big projects in 2012?
CG: Suppliers, through using our bsmart-links initiative, can make their product details and images available to load automatically onto a retailers’ bsmart system and from there upload directly onto their website within minutes, eliminating hours of manual work and price checking. The program can also offer suppliers data collection and reporting services, enabling them to analyse their sell through and therefore enhance their supply chain operation and better understand which products are best sellers. We are also dedicated to developing new revenue streams for retailers, the latest of which is an exclusive working relationship with Pay4Later, the first insurance company to provide a service that we could integrate into our point of sale system enabling instant acceptance of interest free or finance offers helping retailers to win more business and up sell to customers.
PJ: How you describe your approach to work?
CG: Passionate, dedicated and pro-active. Working exclusively in the jewellery trade means you are not distracted by other business objectives and personally knowing some of the best people in the industry makes work enjoyable knowing you have a huge pool of experts with whom to bounce ideas.
PJ: Technology is always about being one step ahead of your clients’ needs. How is Bransom set to develop in 2013?
CG: We have a number of plans coming up. The first it to open an office in the Manchester area to better serve our Northern user base, then there will be the bsmart2 stock management system roll-out. We will also launch the bsmart2 Accounts system. Next year will also be about researching and planning redevelopment of some aspects of the system to better enable us to adopt technologies such as cloud computing and position us to take advantage of emerging technologies. We certainly will not be resting on our laurels, and we will continue to forge ahead to ensure the continued success of both Bransom and our valued customers.
PJ: Finally, how do you strike a balance between work and your home life?
CG: There is no denying that business is tough and even though we are doing well, we are having to work harder to meet our objectives like everyone else, so like most retailers I end up working 7 days a week. However, I have the support of a patient family and a great team at work who help take the pressure off, we had great fun playing rounders recently and we went skiing which all adds to the work-life balance. I have also found time to visit Austria, Italy and France. I lived in France for three years as a professional rugby player. All that has been achieved in the last year is mainly due to the close support of family and friends, and the great team of professionals that I work with. Work hard and play hard has always been my motto.