The Group's strategy for growth is based around our ability to serve the fluid power market across multi-branded businesses, utilising multi-platform customer interfaces, delivering market-leading service across multi-channels.

A fundamental issue is the standardisation of product data. A clear problem that has been an issue within the industry for many years. However, in each business new products create little problem as they are created within a pre-set and defined structure.

The issue arises when there is a non-prescriptive method of product creation, which can produce multiple product records for the same article. This issue is exacerbated when a business has an acquisition programme, as the new businesses not only have product creation issues but the base product structure may be completed differently to the standard Group structures.

The Group's ability to solve this problem is crucial to our long term development. The consolidation and optimisation of the product set will create a solid platform to implement both procurement and inventory synergies delivering improvements in service, margin and cash generation.

A central product creation team has been created to manage the long term process of consolidation and development. The team operates as a central resource and will manage the day-to-day creation issues for the Group as well as the consolidation of acquired businesses product files.

A Group-wide programme has been implemented with the aim of delivering a single Global Data Repository, a programme that is aimed at feeding the multi-trading platforms across the Group and thereby satisfy the many different system structures which will enable the Group to consolidate and optimise its product set.

This Data Repository needs to be flexible enough to manage multiple structures yet still allow consolidation of both data and images. This amalgamation of the data, formatted and fully attributed, will feed the trading systems as well as being used to create focused promotional materials and channel specific catalogues.

Web Platform

The core business is based on a simple premise: to create a series of customer touchpoints making it easy for customers to trade with us. The original introduction of the FTUK web platform was created as a customer ordering portal allowing the business to fulfil its service proposition, taking orders up to 10.00 pm and delivering next day. The web was developed to create a seamless link to the ERP system allowing the allocation of stock and other integrated processes which created advantage for our customer base.

The development of the Global Data Repository with its enhanced capabilities and flexible features has created the opportunity to redevelop and deploy a fully integrated web solution across the Group companies. This platform has also been designed to be fully configurable for each business within the Group whilst being able to deliver a user experience which matches each of the customer types in the various trading channels, and therefore allows the trading businesses to maximise the experience for their own specific customer base.

A Group wide programme has been implemented with the aim of delivering a single Global Data Repository which will enable the Group to consolidate and optimise its product set.