Enable — Success Stories — Archive

Enable at the ECM Show: The Future of UK Business is Written on a Sheet of A4

Filed as EventsPosted September 26, 2003

STRATFORD UPON AVON, ENGLAND. Un-necessarily complex software drives directors nuts and slows down business. Enable sets out to re-write the DNA of business software—and succeeds.

With IT solutions getting ever more complicated and sophisticated, Enable believes the way forward is "treeware"—a single sheet of A4 instructions for its software.

Andrew Butt, Managing Director of Enable, believes an average UK company would turn round decisions and deals many times faster if it installed software that the directors actually understood. And the answer could be written on that single sheet of A4.

Hope or belief? Well, fact, actually. Enable is used by Sainsbury’s, Goldman Sachs, HarperCollins and Delphi Automotive amongst others, and one of the world’s greatest IT companies, Sage Software.

"It’s a running joke across business—the boss who can’t make his computer do what he wants it to. But it stops being a joke when it prevents the company running efficiently in a business environment when ’right now’ is the standard," said Andrew Butt of Stratford-upon-Avon-based Enable.

"Hard-nosed business people waste no time: they take ’route one’—the term from hockey meaning the most direct route to goal—and anything that delays or distracts infuriates them, so they change the way they run their business lives to avoid obstruction.

"They don’t want to hear that a three hour training course ’will be an investment’, they want to know which three buttons to hit to get or deliver a piece of information right this second. That’s what we’ve created.

"In fact, we’ve hit the nail so squarely on the head that while we’ve sold more than £1 million worth of the software—we’ve had to cancel the training course because there are no takers. Nobody needs it. The instructions are on a single sheet of A4, and it takes ten minutes to get up and running.

"Signs of simplification are everywhere. You turn the key in a car and a massive number of things happen at once—the driver is not aware of 99% of them: computers booting, fuel being pressurised, ignition optimised for the ambient temperature, even airbag sensors establishing how many passengers there are. Do you want to know this, or need to know this?

"You don’t want to go through a pre-flight-style check, or be told by the car that you’re an idiot because systems were not switched on in the correct sequence. No, you want to turn the key and drive off.

"That’s the way software can be, and the way business can operate."

Editor’s notes:

Enterprise Content Management 2003 is an event dedicated to helping organisations lower the costs of content management, document management, websites management and intranets and extranets while releasing the knowledge they contain. The event will demonstrate how this is going to work across the enterprise, how to integrate it with the major legacy applications, and support the users, while delivering maximum market impact and ensuring that all communications are consistent. The event is build around free seminars and case studies across four streams—Web Content Management, Document, Knowledge and Information Management, October 7 to 9, 2003.

DCS Europe plc new site 5 times larger than previous!

Filed as DCS GroupPosted September 3, 2001

DCS Europe plc the toiletries and household distributor based in Atherstone-on-Stour have purchased the site formerly known as Stratford-upon-Avon Foods. The site covers 10.5 acres in the heart of Stratford-upon-Avon’s Industrial District providing warehousing space of over 270,000 sq ft—a massive five times larger than DCS’s current site.

DCS currently employ 50 people and are expecting sales this year of over £60 million. New jobs are being created as they continue to expand their ’DCS Central’ distribution business supplying Cash and Carry’s nationwide with major UK toiletry brands.

"Stratford upon Avon Foods has a long association with the town and we are delighted that we are able to offer a number of jobs to the existing workforce." says Denys Shortt, Chairman of DCS Europe plc.

DCS supplies toiletries and household goods to retailers and wholesalers throughout the UK. They have also developed their own brands called "En-liven", En-visage and En-essence which sell in Makro, Bewise and T&S Stores in the UK. DCS export En Brands to more than 45 countries around the world through their export division exportbrands.com

"Our EN range brings many employment opportunities as we currently have all the products contract packed by at least 8 different manufacturers around the UK. Perhaps we will be filling shampoo bottles one day—who knows—with so much space our options are endless!" says Denys Shortt.

Last year DCS started a new internet software division. With the huge growth of DCS Europe plc Denys Shortt was frustrated with poor internet solutions at very expensive prices—so he decided to start his own internet software company. DCS now provide web content management solutions for companies both small and large in the UK and the USA having developed a solution called ENABLE which allows businesses to change text or pictures within a web site within seconds.

"We have expert programmers who understand the internet inside out" says Denys Shortt "This means we can give our clients—right product, right price and with the right service."

Recent wins include extensive work for the massive 35 billion dollar automotive company Delphi USA as well as Hunting plc, the British Cattle Veterinary Association and locally the Cotswold House Hotel in Chipping Campden. The internet division is currently recruiting for additional internet programmers.

DCS Europe plc have won many prestigious business awards in recent years including Exporter of the Year and was ranked 36th in Britains Top 100 Fastest Growing Companies (Virgin Fast Track 100).

Denys Shortt also won Entrepreneur of the Year for the Midlands region last year and comments, "We are a young company with endless energy to achieve our goals. We hope that Stratford-upon-Avon will benefit from our success."

International distribution award for DCS

Filed as DCS GroupPosted July 24, 2000

Former international hockey player and keen helicopter pilot Denys Shortt, who in just six years has built his Stratford-based distribution business to an annual turnover of 34.6 million pounds has scooped a major award in a competition for entrepreneurs.

Mr. Shortt has been presented with the Business to Business Entrepreneur Award in the Entrepreneur Of The Year Awards Programme.

He set up the company in 1994 and at the end of the first year had already achieved sales of £5 million. DCS Europe plc is now exporting to 63 countries worldwide and as well as the impressive export side to the business, the company also distributes to 57 cash & carrys across the UK.

The firm distributes a number of major household names in the health and beauty product market such as Cussons, Alberto and Proctor and Gamble, as well as its own newly developed range of toiletries, branded En-liven.

The firm has 50 employees and transports around 7 million boxes each year with an average value of £5 each.

Mr Shortt is among eleven winners named as Entrepreneurs Of The Year in the central region, which covers the West and East Midlands, East Anglia, Bedfordshire, Hertfordshire and Buckinghamshire.

The awards were presented at a banquet held at the Hilton Birmingham Metropole hotel on July 3.

The central region awards were presented by television personality Mr Clive Anderson.

Andy Clewer from Ernst & Young’ Birmingham office said: "The level and quality of the candidates in this, the second year of the programme in this country, just goes to show that the region is a hotbed of flourishing entrepreneurial businesses."

"Entrepreneurs do not receive enough recognition and these awards are intended to redress the balance and to help in lobbying for a supportive environment for entrepreneurs."

The programme was created in 1986 by Ernst & Young in the US, where it is now established as the premier awards scheme of its type. This year the awards are taking place in 20 countries across five continents.

UK winners will automatically become lifetime members of the Entrepreneur Of The Year Institute, a worldwide network of highly successful business people.

In the UK, there are five sets of regional winners, who go through to a national final in October. The overall UK Entrepreneur Of The Year will go forward to the World Entrepreneur Of The Year Awards in Monte Carlo in May 2001.

DCS Europe plc in Britain's Top 100

Filed as DCS GroupPosted January 2, 1999

The Sunday Times Virgin Atlantic Fast Track 100, a 32 page report was published Dec 6th with the newspaper, ranks the fastest-growing unquoted companies according to their compound annual sales growth between 1994 and 1997. DCS Europe plc (formerly called DCS Commodities) are ranked No. 36 in the top 100. Furthermore DCS ranks as high as 10th in the "total sales rankings" and is 5th in the list of distributors! This is amongst very strong competition from other large UK companies such as Carphone warehouse and Software warehouse.

After spending 22 years in India and Kenya managing tea plantations, Peter Shortt returned to Warwickshire in 1975 and founded a groceries wholesaler. Formerly known as Shakespeare Products, his DCS Commodities has evolved into a toiletries distributor.

His son, Denys, a former international hockey player, is its chief executive. Shortt Sr’s other three sons manage different areas of the business.The company originally distributed groceries to neighbourhood supermarkets but soon recognised that small shops were rapidly being replaced by superstores. Changing tack, DCS started an export division called Export Brands International. Today it delivers toiletries to 53 countries all over the world.

Sales have grown from £5.2m in 1994 to £36m in 1997. Denys Shortt attributes the company’s success to its investment in technology. For example DCS uses plasma screens, EDI, and has three web sites on the internet.The future looks bright for DCS—recently they have launched their own brand of hair care products called Enliven. In just three months they have already sold a quarter of a million bottles of shampoo to ten countries. Denys Shortt says "Sales have been much better than expected and we now plan to expand the Enliven range. We think we are onto a winner!"

DCS have also recently won a £10 million contract to deliver to 27 Makro depots throughout the country and will soon start a £2 million contract in delivering the Lifestyle brand to 57 Landmark Cash & Carries.

The future looks bright for DCS Europe plc.

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