Direct Golf UK, Europe’s award winning and leading multi-channel specialist golf retailer, is to invest in new storage and distribution systems to ensure it continues to provide the quality of service which saw it named the sector’s ‘best mail order company’ for eight successive years.
The Yorkshire-based brand, which has been wholly owned by PGA professional John Andrew since its inception more than 20 years ago, has outgrown its long-term home in an old textile mill in Huddersfield and has joined forces with Mosaic Fulfilment Solutions (MFS), a successful, multi-national fulfilment company, to move its outdated storage and distribution centre to Wetherby.
In addition it is benefiting from a seven-figure investment in computer software into which the distribution of the stock will be incorporated, leading to a smoother, more efficient handling of web and mail-order deliveries.
Wetherby-based MFS will provide more than 100,000ft2 of modern purpose-built warehousing – an increase of more than 35 per cent on Direct Golf’s current facility – with increased 24-hour security, improved quality control and state-of-the-art picking systems driven by specially designed distribution software, allowing for trigger-level replenishment and intelligent forecasting. The company provides a similar service for many major organisations, including the British Red Cross and, in the sports sector, Leeds United Football Club.
Andrew, the chairman and owner of Direct Golf, said: “Our old Milnsbridge warehouse, in Huddersfield, has served us well for a long time, but was becoming impractical. The facility offered by MFS is a vast improvement in all areas and is able to cope with any future expansion. Like any company we are looking for efficient ways to ensure we remain a profitable business.
“This will enable us to maintain our quick, low-cost delivery services in a world where, increasingly, everyone wants everything yesterday. This move ensures we are able to deliver on customers’ expectations even at a time when we are increasing our brands and, therefore, demand on our warehousing and distribution.”
MFS’ chief executive officer, Tony Gill, added: “As a company we have a proven track record of fulfilment solutions, transforming processes, increasing quality and driving down costs, to help clients meet their individual needs and remain ahead of their competition. Like many sectors, golf retail is becoming increasingly competitive and for John Andrew and his team at Direct Golf to remain number one in terms of service and delivery it was deemed necessary to change their business model slightly to enable them to concentrate on what they do best.
“The issues they face in in terms of demand and fulfilment meant they had to seek a solution away from their old Union Mill base. Fortunately, in MFS, Direct Golf has been able to maintain a West Yorkshire facility and we look forward to a long and mutually beneficial relationship.”
Direct Golf UK has 20 branches nationwide and was named ‘best mail order company’ for eight successive years in the now defunct Today’s Golfer reader awards. Last year it also won the direct commerce award for the quality of its website at the 2013 ECMOD (European Catalogue and Mail-order Days) Awards, which recognises business excellence among direct-to-customer retailers in traditional and newly emerging channels.
The company, founded by John Andrew, a Class AA, PGA professional, in 1991, has battled its way through the global recession to lift profits by more than £1m in the 12 months to October 2013 compared with the previous year.
Direct Golf UK has enjoyed massive growth in 23 successful years of trading. It started with one small shop in Huddersfield, but its philosophy of cutting manufacturers’ recommended retail prices by up to 70 per cent proved to be very popular with the golfing public and it quickly gained the reputation for the best prices in the UK. Backed up with fast delivery and world-class customer service, Direct Golf UK grew quickly into one of the largest specialist golf retailers in the UK and Europe – a status that will only be enhanced with the introduction of its new storage and distribution channels.