Plumbs Ltd

Company: CapscanCustomer: Plumbs LtdSubmitted by: MCC InternationalDate: May 2001Plumbs Ltd is the UK based manufacturer of niche home furnishings. Based in Preston, this family run business has been in operation for over 45 years, and always prides itself in producing the highest quality furniture covers and curtains to the domestic and contract market. Operating from Lancashire, Plumbs Ltd employs 370 staff with 160 being UK based field sales consultants.Plumbs LtdAs a traditional bricks and mortar business, Plumbs used to have shops in most major towns and cities in the UK.

But as a forward thinking business Plumbs came to realise its operation had to be streamlined and adapted to suit the needs of the changing market. In order to minimise overheads and maximise one to one personalisation Plumbs made the decision to operate from a single site focusing on mail order and home visits for consultancy. With the recently launched web site (

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uk) the company now operates round the clock, providing information to customers, and allowing new visitors to request a free consultation visit from one of the 160 staff in the UK. With no visible shop front, Plumbs functions via the utilisation of information in catalogues, brochures, and on its web site.With all the hype surrounding e-business, it is tempting to forget that this is simply a new, more convenient medium for an economic transaction. For goods transactions, the seller still cannot email vital manufacturing components but is dependent on real world addressing and logistics to reach the customer. Thanks to e-commerce, addressing and distribution is undergoing a revolution behind the scenes.

Now operating largely as a direct sales organisation, Plumbs maintain contact with customers via the web and catalogue, and effective delivery is therefore essential to the business. It is crucial that Plumbs operates with an address management solution that will not jeopardise the function of its mailing system.Plumbs approached Capscan Ltd in the early 1990s to supply a seamless address management solution. Plumbs management’s main selection criteria for the solution was simple: does it match our needs, and does it meet our budget? But when selecting an address management solution these ideals become two very separate issues, as Plumbs soon discovered when first setting out. Development Manager of Plumbs Ltd, Carl Hine explains, “we considered various suppliers in our search to find the one company that would supply Plumbs with a solution that is competitive in terms of cost and performance, but no one could match the accuracy of the Capscan solution”.Matchcode, Capscan’s UK and International address management solution, was incorporated into Plumbs system in June 1991.

The company uses Matchcode for importing its marketing database from the ‘home consultancy’ request page on the web site, and for validating the input of enquiry data derived from Plumbs call centre. When an order is passed over to accounts, the address is also validated at that point. Users now only need to enter as little as a postcode and a street number and Matchcode will return an address that can be relied upon.