As a designer and manufacturer of outdoor toys, Garden Games embraces the great outdoors. However, the slow Internet speeds of its copper-based broadband system were not only taking the shine off its rural location in West Oxfordshire but curtailing business development. Since installing a new pure fibre network from Gigaclear, Garden Games has become so efficient that sales have increased by 26 percent.
Based in converted farm buildings in Garford, the Vale of White Horse, Garden Games employs 20 people, two of which work remotely. The firm has a turnover of £4.5million with customers in Australia, North America, South Africa and the UK.
Network upload speeds of 0.25Mbps were severely restricting business operation as John Cardy, managing director, Garden Games explains: “Despite employing a highly technical and skilled workforce, network speeds were so poor that we weren’t meeting our full potential. If an employee needed to upload something on the network, they’d have to notify their colleagues who’d in turn come off the network to ensure maximum bandwidth capacity to accommodate the task. Not only was this inefficient but it caused team frustrations.”
Furthermore, Garden Games outsources equipment manufacturing to partners in China. Unable to email technical specifications due to network speed restrictions, disks containing product information would instead be regularly couriered to China. This approach was costly and time consuming.
Uploading videos was impossible and would require taking a disk drive to someone’s house to use their faster network.
Additionally, maintaining the Garden Games website – which generates most sales orders – was so painful that the company had to implement an uploading ban on Fridays. This was an attempt to try and avoid downtime caused by uploads crashing at the weekend, which would be harder to rectify without anyone in the office.
“We were hopeful when the local council launched a consultation for a rural broadband project but it soon became clear that nothing was going to happen any time soon,” continues Cardy. “In fact, 18 months on and they were still no closer to a decision. We considered satellite broadband but latency issues meant that it wouldn’t accommodate our remote workers.”
“Someone mentioned Gigaclear which seemed the perfect solution, not just for Garden Games but to bring premium network speeds to the whole village. We approached the wider community and soon secured the 30 per cent level of interest needed to commence network construction.”
Installation of Gigaclear at Garden Games took six weeks and business operations at the firm have transformed as a result.
“Sales increased by 26 per cent within the first year of using Gigaclear,” continues Cardy. “This is largely because everything’s just more efficient. Tasks that may have taken two hours previously can be done in under 30 seconds. Large files can be transferred to manufacturers electronically so we don’t courier disks to China anymore.”
“We can now use cloud services such as online back-up and staff who are out of the office can access their email remotely. Orders can be downloaded and fulfilled quickly and, as we’re now communicating with customers in real-time, service has improved.”
“Thanks to Gigaclear, we can finally think fast and act fast. Previously, we were reluctant to try new ideas, painfully aware of how inept the network was. Now we’re testing and tweaking concepts to develop the business further. Staff morale has improved and the old frustrations are thankfully a distant memory.”