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With rapid expansion and a major acquisition, a pressing need arose to replace bvg group’s incumbent XAL ERP system with a solution that could grow along with the company and that could provide management with essential information at the touch of a button. bvg group turned to Columbus for advice and assistance...


Customer Profile:

With rapid growth bvg group needed a system they could rely on to manage the business and help ensure they could continue to meet customer demand and maximise Profitability. 

  • Software & Services: Microsoft Dynamics & Power BI 
  • Client: bvg group
  • Web: www.bvg-group.co.uk
  • Number of employees: 950
  • Country: UK
  • Industry: Multi-channel retailer 

bvg group provides complete mail order and backend solutions for its own and other manufacturer’s mail order and e-business operations.

bvg group is busy. Every four seconds a new order is placed. A new storage facility has been added, effectively doubling the company’s storage capacity and a major acquisition has more than doubled the annual turnover. To manage all this, a new Microsoft Dynamics solution has been implemented by Columbus.


“We view Columbus as a partner not as a supplier”, says Iain Burgess, CEO of bvg group. “Columbus has always provided great professional service no matter how large or how small”.

Columbus has enjoyed a strong working relationship with bvg group for years through a support agreement on the earlier XAL-solution. For the new solution, Columbus proposed a mail order module, designed specifically to handle rapid order entry and provide up to date item availability information to customers. This is supported and fully integrated with Microsoft Dynamics's proven inventory and warehouse management capability. The result is a robust and responsive supply chain solution.

“Columbus took a proactive approach to the project. When going through the business processes the team not only viewed the current process, they constantly looked to improve and enhance what we do. With the efficiency savings we’ll make using Dynamics I expect to see a return on investment in about 18 months”, says Iain Burgess.


For bvg group, the ability to make the right strategic decisions about which products to trade in a rapidly changing market is, and has been, a key component in their success. The acquisition of competitor Clifford James, which increased the annual turnover by roughly 250%, also increased the need for clarity of information and transparency across the enterprise.

With Power BI  the Dynamics solution delivers essential management information swiftly, smoothly and securely which leads to an unprecedented level of confidence for the bvg group management. This all translates to a clear competitive advantage.

Once a new product line has been identified and the orders begin to flood in, bvg group needs to ensure it can maintain its high level of customer service. Microsoft Dynamics achieves this by providing timely information on product availability using inquiries from the mail order module and minimising stock-out using the Dynamics master planning module. Master planning allows the management of minimum stock levels that can vary by season, in addition to showing production planners exactly how much of an item can be produced with the available materials.

"We view Columbus as a partner, not as a supplier"
Ian Burgess, CEO, bvg group.

Using Dynamics sales order processing as a foundation, Columbus developed a bespoke mail order solution for bvg group. This solution is focused on as much information from the customer as possible and providing maximum information to the customer all within the shortest possible time.

The process begins with registering the customer’s address and verifying it through powerful address validation software. This leads to creating an account which is subsequently validated. The customer is then presented with offers and is asked a number of relevant questions and is even encouraged to purchase other products according to a code they are asked to quote when first contacting bvg group. This “response code” also determines how the order will behave with regard to picking, shipping and so forth. The solution is also integrated with an external secure payment solution providing end-to-end order processing.

In addition to this, their legacy Business Intelligence was costly, complex and time-consuming requiring dedicated IT resources to manage. The business suffered from an inability to effectively report across both their legacy financials data and their new Dynamics ERP solution. This common scenario left bvg unable to analyse their current position, forecast and budget for the future.

Working with Columbus, bvg group have been able to consolidate the data from multiple systems and create a single data source which enables them to analyse what is selling, who is selling it and where it is selling. They are able to make rapid comparisons of current performance against previous months and years.

Ultimately the Business Intelligence solution allows bvg group to make better decisions in a more time efficient way. Burgess explains: “We now have total visibility of sales. Allowing us to see which products, markets, salespeople, customers etc. are profitable and meeting targets.

Using Excel Pivot tables allows end users to address new reporting requirements without involving the IT department. This tool is giving us the insight to ensure we are making the right decisions every time”.

"We are really pleased we chose Columbus to guide us through the implementation. Their open, honest and outspoken approach was exactly what was needed to ensure the project was a success”, concludes Iain Burgess.

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