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Abram Pulman Steel

Sales up at historic West Yorkshire steel firm after digital technology investment

A £12m turnover Sowerby Bridge steel stockholding business, which suffered devastating flooding in 2015, has seen orders increase after digital growth funding enabled the firm to invest in digital technology for its sales team.

Abram Pulman Steel, which was founded in 1830 and has been owned and managed by the same family since 1898, is a steel stockholder and specialist steel processor. The firm secured £5,000 funding via the Government-backed Digital Enterprise programme at the end of last year towards a £12,000 project to ramp up and modernise its sales capability. The investment is already paying off, with increased flexibility triggering a growth in orders of 10 per cent across Pulmans’ range of steel products.

David Shoesmith, Pulmans managing director and great grandson of FC Shoesmith who acquired the firm 120 years ago, said: “The funding from Digital Enterprise enabled us to invest in new laptops for our outside sales team, as well as developing an intranet and an app that means clients can place orders with us, or make enquiries, at any time of day, and from anywhere.”

As well as stocking a wide range of steels in its Sowerby Bridge warehouse, Pulmans also specialises in cutting and processing steels, delivering to clients including engineering firms, fabricators, local authorities and construction companies across the North.

“The new technology means that we have been able to take a giant leap forward in terms of our responsiveness to our diverse clients, which range from multinational blue chips to small businesses and individuals,” said Mr Shoesmith.

“Our new laptops enable the outside sales team to communicate directly with the office through our CRM software; the intranet has massively improved our internal communications and keeps all our employees up to date with relevant information; and the app makes us much more accessible to our customers.”

He added: “The funding and the investment that we were able to make as a result has been a real game changer for us and, combined with the hard work of our exceptional team, we have seen a 10 per cent boost in sales, and increased efficiency in our whole sales process, as a result.”

Digital Enterprise programme manager Muz Mumtaz said: “Pulmans is an example of exactly why Digital Enterprise is so crucial to nurturing business growth across the Leeds city region. The £5,000 funding they received via the programme has been a catalyst for digital technology investment that has triggered really positive change for them.

“Since the launch of our Digital Growth Voucher scheme we have been inundated with applications from businesses who want to invest in digital technology to help them to grow. We have recently closed phase three of the scheme after receiving 229 applications for funding. Of these we will be supporting around 170 businesses with exciting new projects focusing on digital transformation.”

Funded by the Leeds City Region Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), its nine local authorities and the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), Digital Enterprise provides funding for businesses in the Leeds city region to upgrade digital technology and connectivity.

For further information about the funding currently available to businesses, go to www.digitalenterprise.co.uk .

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