Jamie Martin, managing director of Ideal World, in Newark Road, where it employs around 600 people, says the company will be among the top five such companies over the next four years.
This will be made possible by a significant investment in a state-of-the-art computer system to manage the 30 million products that will be available to Ideal over the next two and a half years.
Other key factors will be its partnership with ITV, which has just received a long extension, giving Ideal World a high profile on a top-notch viewing platform as well as growing public enthusiasm for the craft. , supported by Create and Craft, the craft of Ideal’s Shopping Direct. division.
This will be a radical transformation of the company, which, as it is currently celebrating its 21st birthday, can actually trace its origins back to the 1980s, when it started as a sales company by mail order catalog.
Mr Martin, who was appointed by the Aurelius owners in December 2018 to boost the fortunes of the company, said: âThe business has had its ups and downs since 2000.
âBut there wasn’t the necessary investment in his computer system. Emphasis has been placed on other issues and the computer system has just been patched up.
âWe just made a seven-figure investment to install a new computer system that will go into service next year.
âThe new system will be able to handle the 30 million products that we expect to be able to make available in the next 30 months. “
“This will enable Ideal over the next four years to become one of the UK’s five largest marketplaces and this will secure the future of the business.”
Another investment that will add a new dimension to Ideal’s offering is a new Â£ 250,000 studio in Peterborough for its US audiences that will be ready to broadcast in four months, creating 10 jobs.
The glittering future that seems to be on the horizon for Ideal has not been tarnished by the Covid-19 pandemic.
Mr Martin said the health crisis has acted as a tailwind for the company.
Forced to stay at home under foreclosure restrictions, people searched for new ways to fill up on unexpected free time. The appetite for more materials and equipment for recreation and exercise has led people to turn to Ideal as a convenient and reliable source for products.
Mr Martin said: âWhen the pandemic broke out last March, my first thoughts were only for the survival of the company.
âIt didn’t occur to me that sales would increase.
âI have created a Covid fund of Â£ 250,000 to ensure the safety of staff at work. I placed 10 modules containing a sleeping area, office, desks and en-suite bathrooms on our land for the use of our guest presenters as all hotels were closed. I also transformed my office and a few others into bedrooms.
âThe teams have been reorganized but only 10 of the 600 employees have been put on leave.
âAt first, the company’s call center in India pulled out, but within three hours 10,000 incoming calls were diverted to Ireland, a task that would normally take three months.
The Covid-19 crisis has wreaked havoc on Ideal’s supply chain that stretches all the way to China.
Mr Martin said: ‘I decided to buy several months of shares at once – an investment of Â£ 5million. The real problem was the lack of containers due to the reduction of personnel in the ports.
âWe usually have around 80 or 90 containers at sea at any one time. With the additional stock we had 200 containers which allowed the stock to pass regularly despite delays of around 70 days.
“The price of containers has also gone up – from a normal price of $ 2,200 to $ 10,000.”
Incredibly Ideal World has seen its sales in 2020 increase from Â£ 40million to Â£ 170million – of which around 50 percent is due to Covid and the other half due to planning.
Mr. Martin said: “2020 has been the biggest commercial year in the history of the company.”
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