Green&Blue in based in Perranporth, Cornwall. The business was founded in 2005 by husband and wife team, Kate and Gavin Christman. After years working at Dyson, Kate and Gavin created a unique design of spherical birdhouse called the Birdball, and relocated to Cornwall to start the company.
The founders have followed their passion of designing beautiful, stylish products that help wildlife. They believe that every new house that we build needs to provide a home for wildlife as well as for us. With so many species in decline we have to rethink the way we plan, build and manage both our housing and our gardens.
Green&Blue has won numerous awards for its innovative range of products, which today includes bird houses and bird baths, bee houses and bee bricks, as well as bat roosts. The business now employs 10 people and e-commerce plays a vital role in the operation.
Green&Blue’s Director and Head of Growth, Faye Treffry, explains:
“Growth through online sales is critical to our business strategy. However, we were held back by slow broadband speeds and had been unable to resolve the issue, despite our best efforts. Superfast Cornwall escalated this with our telecoms provider and managed to resolve the problem. Now we can rely on superfast broadband speeds of over 100 Mbps. This has been transformational for the business.
“As a design-led business, we used to spend hours uploading and downloading large files such as images of our products. Now these tasks can be carried out instantly. The superfast speeds have also made a huge difference to all our operational processes. These are now streamlined, saving time for our team and allowing us to provide an improved service to the customer.”
As well as helping the company achieve game-changing broadband speeds, Superfast Cornwall also provided grant funding towards the purchase of a new software system and some additional hardware to ensure they got the full benefit of this new software system. “Now we have superfast broadband, we have been able to transform our software,” adds Faye. “The grant funding has enabled us to choose a top of the range system.”
The new software system seamlessly integrates all the business operations. It tracks all materials, all stock, and the whole business process from materials through manufacturing and sales right through to despatch and invoicing. The website is automatically updated so that only products in stock are displayed.
Faye says: “The new software system has completely revolutionised the way we run the business. It tracks all production and sales on a week by week basis and this has allowed us to radically improve our efficiency and productivity.
“As a business committed to delivering environmental benefits, superfast broadband is also helping us make significant steps forward in sustainability. In the immediate term, we are now generating less paper as our systems are all now digitalised. In the medium term, we will be able to instigate a stream of other improvements due to the greater visibility and measurability that the new software system enables. It shines a light on all aspects of our manufacturing and operations and this will enable us to make ongoing changes to our operations to reduce our carbon footprint. For example, we will be able to make more informed decisions about how to reduce the use of plastics in the components used in our product range.”
As well as the new software, Superfast Cornwall provided grant funding towards the purchase of a new rugged tablet and two handheld scanners for use by the despatch team. These enable the despatch team to streamline the process, saving time and generating less paper within the business.
Faye adds: “This is of course improving customer service and it is more environment-friendly but there is also another aspect to this. We greatly value our team and it is really important to us that we are optimising their time. Some of our old systems were clunky and time wasting. Now all of a sudden, the systems are seamless and the team have time freed up to focus on more valuable issues. This is helpful to the business, helps improve job satisfaction and build team motivation.”
Green&Blue is an ambitious business and is aiming for high future growth. As Faye says, “The more we grow, the more we can achieve our core vision of reconnecting people with nature and our mission of making homes havens for wildlife.”
She continues: “To achieve high growth, we will target new markets and explore new ways to reach out to customers. Superfast broadband potentially opens new doors for us in the future, such as greater use of video conferencing with customers and suppliers, internet telephony and improved use of social media channels. It creates new opportunities to showcase the visual appeal of our product range, as well as demonstrating the products in use, for example via live webcams. None of these exciting new ways of working would have been possible without superfast broadband.
“The team at Superfast Cornwall have been great. They have been super-helpful at every stage and their input has enabled the business to take a huge step forward. Their support has improved our productivity and expanded our horizons, as well as helping to further enhance our environmental performance.”