Motoring ahead with high-speed broadband
High-speed broadband is enabling car parts and tyres supplier, AutoFastFit, to rev up its customer offering.
Resting on the River Swilly in the northwest of Ireland, Letterkenny, to some, may not seem the most obvious location for a national supplier of car parts and tyres. Stephen Harris, Director of AutoFastFit, however, will tell you that it is the ideal spot. Through the availability of high-speed broadband, Stephen isn’t just expanding the company’s national reach, but its international appeal, too.
“We have developed a new website that has more than 400,000 product codes on it, which the customer can search from anywhere in Europe,” says Stephen. “Just based on the car registration number, we can link the best products to their car. We’ll eventually have everything loaded onto one platform, where we’re linked live onto eBay and Amazon for a bigger, wider European audience.”
It’s a complete change from how the company started out – and continued to operate – until high-speed broadband became available. “Before we had the high-speed broadband, everything was catalogue-based,” says Stephen. Each time they were presented with a product code, AutoFastFit staff would face the painstaking task of sifting through seven bulky catalogues to find one item. Now, the company uses an electronic catalogue based in Cologne, Germany. “We can get instant results,” says Stephen, adding that the catalogue also comes in the form of an app, which staff can access on their phones. “We no longer have to shift through catalogues and look it up the old way.”
BETTER SERVICE WITH FIBRE BROADBAND
Through fast, reliable internet, AutoFastFit can also access a live feed of suppliers’ available stock – which, in turn, benefits both customer and company. “We instantly know when we’re selling a product where is the best place to replace that product from,” says Stephen. “We can see who has the same product at the cheapest price; giving us the best margin and giving the customer the best price.”
With improved technology and ambitions to expand its reach overseas, AutoFastFit is now looking to expand its staff base, too. “We hope to double our staff. We aim to add another 10 or so staff to cater for our online business.”
To Stephen, the doors high-speed broadband has opened for his Letterkenny-based business is remarkable. “High-speed broadband takes a small business at the top corner or Ireland to be able to expand and have a bigger marketplace. We no longer feel that we need to be in a big city and if we do our jobs properly, we will be able to compete.”