Lush Australia makes fresh, handmade cosmetics and is a wholly-owned subsidiary of its UK parent company. It employs around 230 staff in Australia and 110 in New Zealand.
Lush opened their first store in New South Wales 11 years ago and started its IT operations with a Sydney-based “one-man-band”. As the company underwent rapid growth, IT requirements for their 24 stores in Australia and 13 in New Zealand changed dramatically.
Mark Lincoln, Director of Lush Australia, explains that a local IT support provider could no longer provide the interstate and overseas support that Lush required.
“As we started to add stores and upgrade our retail software, we ran into problems. We needed someone who could provide a robust and cost-effective solution. As a retailer, we need a very quick response to any issues that may arise.”
A key issue was Lush’s polling software- specialist software used to send sales and stock information from the individual stores to the head office. This information is critical for busy retailers so they can top-up stock as quickly as possible.
“We just couldn’t get this to work. The solutions our IT firm had access to simply weren’t robust enough for a business spread across Australia,” Lincoln explains.
Lush knew it needed to look elsewhere for help. “We needed an IT partner who could meet our needs as a retailer, and help with our rapid growth,” Lincoln says.
On recommendation, Lush turned to Brennan IT for assistance. Because their communications network was unable to effectively support the needs of the business, Brennan IT first looked for a communications infrastructure solution to connect Lush’s individual stores to their head office.
Brennan IT were able to present Lush with a range of solution options. Lush then evaluated these options, and under Brennan IT guidance, chose the most appropriate solution for their operations.
During the next couple of months, the new network infrastructure was rolled out to Lush stores across Australia, along with the new retail software.
“Brennan IT would visit a store, set up the Futura POS Terminal, and then connect the DSL services to the site. So in most cases, we were up and running pretty quickly,” Lincoln says.
Brennan IT also continued to provide Lush with ongoing managed IT support, as well as assisting with project work and hardware procurement.
This flexible combination of management, support and monitoring services meant that whenever a problem arose in a particular store, Brennan IT was there to provide rapid, on-site support. This is vital in the retail sector, where outages can result in reduced sales and lost revenue.
“If we have a problem in Tasmania, for example, whatever time of day or night (or even on the weekend), Brennan IT can quickly get someone on location to troubleshoot,” Lincoln explains.
Lincoln says Brennan IT’s support has been critical during Lush’s rapid growth. When it first partnered with Brennan IT, Lush had just 12 stores in Australia and 6 in New Zealand. Through careful planning and support, it has managed to double this number seamlessly.
“With on-call support and access to a team of very competent people working on our account, we don’t need to have an IT manager or specialist IT staff in house, which is a huge cost saving for our business,” Lincoln says.
As a technology partner, Brennan IT also assists with IT strategy and advice. It keeps Lush up-to-date with what’s happening in the industry, and if there are any new developments which could provide Lush with more efficiency or better IT management.
“One thing we’re currently talking with Brennan IT about is a Disaster Recovery solution. We greatly appreciate how Brennan IT has the specialist expertise to be able to keep us across the most appropriate technologies for this, as well as their ability to host this solution,” Lincoln explains.
Brennan IT also helped with Lush’s relocation from central to southwestern Sydney Lush now plans to move further out west as it continues to grow, with Brennan IT supporting throughout this move.
“Partnering with Brennan IT has saved us time, saved us money, and allowed us to scale with ease,” Lincoln says. “Most importantly, we can focus on our core business – retail – without being distracted by any IT issues that we’re not specialists in.”
To find out more about Lush Australia click here.