Land Rover car parts firm celebrates 50% rise in customer numbers during lockdown
- Credit: Archant
An employer who was initially very sceptical about how working from home would work out after the coronavirus lockdown is delighted at the performance of his business.
Ipswich-based Britcar UK is a family-run company specialising in the mail-order of Land Rover and Jaguar car parts, accessories, and spares which go around the world.
Duncan Mansfield - a Land Rover enthusiast who founded the business with wife and fellow ex-Army driver Sandy – admitted he feared for the worst when the lockdown notice came – but was surprised to find that new markets opened up for him, with a 50% rise in new customers.
MORE – Farmer who supplies Chinese restaurants launches quest for new markets“Honestly, we expected business to suffer dramatically. A few of our suppliers started shutting down and we feared we may have to as well,” he said. “Fortunately, though, we were able to find a work around and stay open.”
Although lockdown put them one supplier down, it hasn’t affected sales and he has found that his customer base has shifted while sales have stayed stable.
“With the shutdown of the main dealer network in the UK, we have found many more domestic customers – for example, garages across the country who are staying open to keep vehicles running.
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“Many people also have more time to work on their vehicles – Land Rover restoration is a popular hobby and we’ve found more people asking for help regarding the specific parts they need.”
Many key workers and emergency services around the world also contacted the firm for support.”
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He wanted as many staff as possible to work from home to stay safe, he said.
“Fortunately, the technology we use is very modern so staff could take phone home, plug it in, and it works the same way as at work so unlike many of our competitors we are still able to answer queries over the phone.
“Thanks to google cloud printing, our shipping staff are also able to print labels direct to the workshop for the members of staff still packing.”
He found the workforce was “just as dedicated” at home, and things still got done.
“I was very sceptical of people working from home, thinking people wouldn’t get on with their work etc, but it actually works very well, and I would urge other companies to consider it,” he said.
“We are considering retaining this for the future to help reduce congestion on Wherstead Road and reduce commuting time. We have three staff remaining in the warehouse and they wear masks and keep their distance from one another.”
Britcar UK has 15 employees, including two of Duncan and Sandy’s four daughters – Vikki, who works in shipping, and Scarlett, who heads marketing.