Retail industry integrator Cohesive raced into this year’s Fast 50 revenue growth index, taking the number two ranking overall and the Fastest Technology Company award.
The placing was a result of 729 percent revenue growth over the two years Fast 50 organisers measured, in which revenue has to be a minimum of $250,000 in the first year and $500,000 in the second.
Business development manager Lee Edwards says the recipe for success has been keeping abreast with the latest technology, having the right staff and a high level of customer service.
“It’s just having the right people on board who can understand the big picture and can connect with our customers on requirements,” he says. “We put a lot of resources into making sure we offer what technologies are available and keeping abreast of our partners and what their latest developments are.”
Cohesive recently attended a retail show in Melbourne to keep up to date and at the time of writing, it was trialling 20 technologies. Edwards says each potential offering is tested before approval for customer use.
Although it partners primarily with Red Hat, IBM, HP, Symbol and Cisco, Edwards says his company will work with other vendors to find suitable technology for customers.
He says Cohesive’s fastest growth has been in the last two to three of its 16 years of operation, and says it has maintained a retail focus since being founded by retail industry engineers Dale Daniels and Peter Tobin.
“Everybody here is from a retail background. Within the company there’s a huge amount of retail knowledge, in systems, infrastructure, hardware and processes,” Edwards says.
Apart from retailers of all sizes, the integrator serves manufacturers, distributors, architectural firms, transport companies and other IT companies. Mitre 10 was its first tier-one customer and since then a solid base of customers has built up, Edwards says.
Eighteen staff now work across its Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch branches, and it opened a warehouse in Christchurch in September.
A hectic schedule of planned visits to customer sites nationwide is testament to its practice of not just dealing with head offices.
“We like to get feedback from stores and we’re constantly visiting them at the coalface.”
Edwards believes the technology Cohesive’s customers demand is becoming more innovative. PDAs and wireless are increasingly on the wish list for retailers needing to keep managers on the shop floor rather than in the office. ‘Queue busting’ is also on the rise, as businesses want to take orders via PDAs before customers reach the checkout.
Centralised information for better communication between head offices and stores is also a key driver of new technologies, he says.
Edwards says the Fast 50 result made the whole company proud. “It’s a good recognition for the team that the work they’re doing it really paying off. There’s some significant competition in the Fast 50 and to get Fastest Technology Company is a great achievement.”