docs24 began in 2013 with ambitions to change the document and print industry. One of our first clients was a Howdens depot, close to Edinburgh. They needed an easy process for producing consistent brand marketing materials. We believed we could support them with this and make their marketing easier to manage. That was in 2014. Today, docs24 is working with over 90 Howdens depots across the UK, consistently providing them with on-brand marketing from flyers, and booklets to banners and even the occasional doormat. Not only that but through our experience, we have grown our own ambitions to change not just the document industry, but to change the way companies manage their outsourced time-draining business processes.

In the 8 years since we began producing work for Howdens, we’ve made (and seen) lots of changes, but we’ve also kept a lot of things the same. It has been the choices of what to keep and what to change that has enabled this relationship to grow and remain strong.

“The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others” – Gandhi

At the forefront of our relationship with Howdens is our customer experience. When we set out to build a business that provides excellent services, we knew that the customer experience was the most important part. This has never changed. It has been through our high service standards that we have established who docs24 is and built our brand.

For example, we understand that, although we’re working B2B, we’re still working with people. People make mistakes but it’s how we respond to them that can turn the mistake into success or allow it to sink to failure. When things don’t go to plan, we listen, understand the issue and fix it immediately. It’s never about blame. We also understand how important communication is. Our CEO never shy’s away from being available to all our clients. Our Project Managers aren’t afraid to ask for clarity. And our designers are happy to provide as many proofs as needed to ensure our clients are happy.

“Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.” – Einstein (…maybe)

But growth doesn’t come from doing the same thing again and again. Consistency is good when the approach is proven effective. But the constant review and a willingness to see where improvements could be made are crucial for growth.

Our work for Howdens has been no exception to this. Over the years of working with the depots, we have tried different working methods with them. We’ve taken the time to get to know how they work and how we can best work with them.

When we began working with the depots, we built a bespoke platform for them to use and order through. The platform was designed to allow them to personalise different designs themselves. The aim was to reduce production time and support managers who didn’t have a lot of marketing or design experience. But after a period of use, we found that the depots required so many new designs that the platform wasn’t working effectively for them yet. Having listened to the depots’ feedback, we shifted to a showcase platform. Their platform now shows 100’s of the available template designs from which they can get inspiration. They can let us know which templates they would like, and what products they need to showcase so we can put together their personalised design. This approach allows us to remain flexible with the Howdens depots but continues to make savings for them through minimising design time and posting directly to their customers.