Rebate management blog - Page 26 - Enable

Denys Shortt awarded OBE in New Year’s honours list

Build It BetterJanuary 1, 2013

Denys Shortt, entrepreneur and founder of Enable in Stratford-upon-Avon, has been awarded an OBE in the New Year’s honours list for services to the economy.

Denys, known for his endless energy and enthusiasm, started his first business DCS Group in 1994. His company DCS is now the UK’s leading distributor of health, beauty and household brands with sales of £150 million and 250 employees. Denys has also created two technology companies: Enable and DealTrack which employ 30 people.

Denys has created the Enliven brand — a range of health and beauty products which are made in England and where millions of bottles are exported to 70 countries worldwide. He recently invested over £4 million into a new toiletries factory in Stratford-upon-Avon with the aim to help revive British Manufacturing.

In his younger days Denys had a very different career in mind. After attending Eagle House School, it was at Warwick School at age 15 where he was selected to play hockey for England.

4 min read

Government derailed by spreadsheet errors

The Deal EconomyDecember 28, 2012

The fiasco of the West Coast mainline rail bidding process has brought the potential pitfalls of spreadsheet reliance to national attention.

Quite apart from embarrassing the Department for Transport and the Government as a whole, the DfT announced last week that the cost to the taxpayer of the bidding scandal has now risen to £55m and counting.

Issues within the bidding process were revealed after Richard Branson’s Virgin Trains issued a formal complaint after missing out on the contract to continue running the line to First Group.

A subsequent investigation into the bidding process by a team of accountants from PWC revealed that the spreadsheet from which all calculations were derived was fundamentally flawed.

The discovery was made after officials explored a complex economic model — known as the GDP resilience model — which was designed by the Department of Transport to rigorously assess the risk attached to bids and the amount of money that should be put up as deposit.

3 min read

Enable Tech: Why we threw out our phone system and replaced it with Skype

Build It BetterDecember 3, 2012

Enable Tech is a column on design and technology by David Hunt. David has been our operations director from the very start, and has lead the evolution of Enable into one of the most respected and high-quality software development businesses around. David has an uncompromising passion for design, quality and excellence.


An interesting job we tackled as part of our office move was evaluating different telephone systems for the new building.

Enable has for many years used what might charitably be described as a ’standard’ office telephone system.

Low-tech phones were connected by ethernet cable (from which they drew power) to a central server. The server was connected to another mysterious piece of hardware, itself hooked up to the good old BT infrastructure.

Using the telephone was not easy. Setting up speed dial keys was an unintuitive process. Checking your missed calls could be confusing. And organising a conference call was such a complex operation that specialist one-on-one training would be required first.

More positive aspects of the system were favourable call quality and rock-solid reliability. Truth is, it served us well for many years.

7 min read

Sweating the details: The combination of science and craft powering Enable’s software development teams

Build It BetterNovember 25, 2012

Enable Tech is a column on design and technology by David Hunt. David has been our operations director from the very start, and has lead the evolution of Enable into one of the most respected and high-quality software development businesses around. David has an uncompromising passion for design, quality and excellence.


On Monday, Matt will arrive at his desk to confront a 315 page document. It describes the precise inner workings of a mission-critical software solution. It sounds pretty complicated.

But the software doesn’t exist yet.

In three months, Matt and his team will race from zero lines of code to tens of thousands. The end result will be rolled out to hundreds of users, who will rely on it every day. It’ll be delivered on time, on budget — and if it’s not the best piece of software our company has ever created, we’ll be disappointed.

It’s OK, Matt has done this before.

7 min read

Silicon Valley comes to Stratford-upon-Avon

Build It BetterNovember 6, 2012

A recent visit to Silicon Valley in California by the Directors of Enable in Stratford-upon-Avon has inspired the firm to design their new headquarters along the lines of global giants Google and Intel.

Entrepreneurs Denys Shortt and Andrew Butt have invested over £1 million in the new Enable Headquarters at The Courtyard on Timothy’s Bridge Road. The pair started Enable in a stable block in Buckland near Broadway in 2000 and now the company employs 30 people with sales of £2m per annum — a wonderful start-up to success story.

What is most remarkable is that Andrew was just 16 when Enable began and Denys made him the Managing Director — one of the youngest to hold this position ever in the UK.

The offices have been designed by Enable’s Operations Director, David Hunt, whose talents far exceed just running his software team. David, who also project managed the fit-out of the premises, said “My goal for this project was to create an environment that not only reflected Enable’s values but also reinforced them; As our staff and clients spend time in this space they will notice the attention to detail, the consistency, the quality of what’s around them and will be reminded of what Enable is all about.”

3 min read

We’ve moved!

Build It BetterNovember 1, 2012

Enable is very excited to be announcing details of its new offices. Please update your contact details.

We will be contacting you soon to book a suitable date and time to show you around our new base. In the meantime feel free to drop us a line and let us know when would be convenient for you.

Street address10-12 The Courtyard, Timothy’s Bridge Road, Stratford-upon-Avon, CV37 9NP, UK

Emailhello@enable.comTelephoneOffice: 0845 519 20 80Helpdesk telephoneHelpdesk: 0845 519 11 00

1 min read

Hidden treasure

The Deal EconomyOctober 12, 2012

There's a pretty good chance you are reading this having just come out of a sales meeting, or while you're waiting for a sales meeting or after a tough day trying to initiate what was discussed in a sales meeting. Driving revenue is the primary concern of any business but when conditions have been as difficult as they have over the last few years it can feel like a war of attrition with your competitors. There's no silver bullet for these issues but ensuring that you are making the most of your...Continue reading

Enable Tech: Building the DealTrack website

Build It BetterOctober 10, 2012

Enable Tech is a column on design and technology by David Hunt. David has been our operations director from the very start, and has lead the evolution of Enable into one of the most respected and high-quality software development businesses around. David has an uncompromising passion for design, quality and excellence.


Last week, we launched a new subsidiary business called DealTrack. DealTrack is a software solution that helps organisations manage complex trading agreements involving retrospective payments, such as rebates, retrospective discounts, royalties, purchase income and back margin.

In this article, I’ll guide you through some of the more interesting techniques used by the website we built for DealTrack.

1. SVG graphics

Almost every image on the DealTrack website is delivered in SVG format. SVG has been around for a long time, but browser support is only now nearing a level where SVG can be considered a worthwhile option. As someone who is enthusiastic about design, SVG has some upsides that excite me.

  1. High resolution displays are going mainstream: products such as the Apple iPhone 4, third generation iPad, Retina MacBook Pro, Samsung Galaxy S3 and Nokia Lumia 920 have introduced displays to the marketplace that are capable of displaying 250 to 350 pixels per inch. Artwork designed for conventional computer displays looks blurry on these devices. SVG is a vector image format and therefore images authored in this format look beautifully sharp not only on these new high-DPI devices but on older displays too.
  2. Editing tools such as Adobe Illustrator allow SVG to be edited natively. There is no need to hold a “master” version of your website artwork in addition to an exported “published” version. An SVG file can be opened directly, edited and saved. It’s a slick workflow.
  3. SVG is based on XML. It is therefore dead easy to create SVG output programatically. For example, a status icon that needed to be colored red in some cases and green in others would typically require two separate versions of the same image. With SVG you could create a single version and alter a color attribute on the fly — driven by your application’s business logic.

9 min read

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