2020 a year in review and what to expect from 3D Group in 2021

What a year it has been for all of us! I think many of us are glad it is over; however, it wasn’t all bad. Here is a quick look back at what we accomplished in 2020 and what is to come from us in 2021.

Firstly, we wish you all a Happy New Year! Let’s hope that 2021 is better for all of us. The UK’s first COVID 19 lockdown seems like a distant memory now but at the time there was a lot of worry within the industry and we are not afraid to admit that we felt the same. It was a relief to hear that the government provided support for many businesses, but unfortunately there were always going to be gaps within the system and they completely forgot about wholesalers that supplied those businesses. Fortunately, we came out of the first national lockdown stronger than ever. We streamlined a number of our processes, becoming a much more productive business and our team worked extremely hard to make sure those customers still operating were supplied like any other normal working day, regardless of the pandemic.

 

Despite COVID 19, we have grown over the last year in many ways. Firstly, our stock levels have increased on a great number of lines, processes have improved and an extra few faces have been added to our ever-growing team.  One of the teams with new faces is our purchasing department. We have brought in a new member of staff who has years of experience in purchasing and his expertise is helping us to improve stock levels and implement more forecasting measures. Forecasting sales is one of the hardest things in this industry, but I suppose we all struggle to predict when a customer will lose their keys!

 

 

Stock levels increasing and the widening of our range has ultimately resulted in the demand for more space! We have not been in our current premises for long but we are now looking to increase our square footage either by extending or moving to a bigger warehouse.

Furthermore, in 2020 we started using sea freight more regularly for our GTL, Xhorse and KeyDIY orders. This has continued to be very effective and we intend to increase the number of sea shipments in 2021. We aim to raise our stock levels by around 30% across the board and our sea shipments will enable us to do this in a cost-effective way whilst helping with our quality control process. We are finding this department is becoming overwhelmed at times which can cause issues including a backlog of stock building up whilst waiting to be quality checked before we can send them to our customers. We feel that this process cannot be missed or rushed though, and so investing in their area of our business is a must for the coming year.

 

 

In 2020 we teamed up with Keyline. We really love their business ethics, vision and the way they deal with things. We visited Italy just before the first Italian lockdown and we came away from our meeting saying nothing but positive things about them. We have always given our customers a choice instead of us choosing for them and having Keyline onboard allows us to offer another great quality brand alongside those we already stock.

 

 

 

 

Recently, we have we have implemented Royal Mail digital labels for all our first class and special deliveries. The major positive to this is that we have a much better chance of tracking down a lost package within the Royal Mail system. Additionally, we have also implemented cheaper shipping methods for our non-UK customers. They can be a little slower to arrive as they travel via road but can be as much as half the price off the current express FedEx rates.

Some of you may remember back in March 2019 when we had to close because of Trading Standards coming into the building and taking a large proportion of our stock. In fact, anything that had a vehicle brand logo on was taken. Unfortunately, for us and the industry, this is still an expensive ongoing case, which I am sure the vehicle brand managers wanted, but there is some light at the end of the tunnel. We think that many brand managers thought by targeting us it would close us down, guilty or not! We have had many meetings with legal experts and feel that we are in a very strong position, however our arguments will be kept very much to ourselves until the time comes. We will endeavor to release every little detail as soon as the case concludes in the spirit of transparency.

We pride ourselves on having one of the best websites in the industry but a lot has changed in the two years since it was built and a lot of time and effort has gone into improving other aspects of the business. We are now undertaking a refresh of our website and our in-house team are getting new designs ready for our developers to implement. Here is an overview of some of the changes:

  • We will be moving our search indexing to a third-party provider as this should increase the speed of our products search (as if it’s not fast enough already).
  • Changes will begin taking place during February or March. We know that huge changes can be disruptive, so we won’t be implementing huge visual alterations but they will help to create a cleaner and fresher variation of our current site.
  • The largest change will be to the navigation. We’ll be working hard to make sure that the products you need will be even easier to find.
  • Many improvements will be added to the site throughout the coming year to strengthen its position as one of the best within the industry.

With the all the extra development work we have had to add a new web developer to our team. This should increase the speed we can implement our improvements to both our website and internal systems.

 

In summary, here is what you can look forward to from 3D Group in 2021:

  • Improved stock levels
  • Improved stock range with more alternative products
  • A bigger and better website
  • Increased staff levels to provide you with an even better service!

We know we are not perfect and we never will be, but we will do our utmost to be the best we possibly can and continue to improve our service. We can’t do this without your input though, so please don’t be shy with your feedback; good or bad, we want to know!

We are really grateful for your insight and support and you, our valued customers, remain at the heart of everything we do.

Best wishes,

The 3D Group Management Team.