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Commitment to Success with iMetal Aids Business Growth for B&M

Barclay & Mathieson are one of the UK’s largest and most successful independent stockholding and service centre businesses, operating from 14 locations across the length and breadth of Britain.

As well as their unequalled stock range of general steel products, B&M also offer processing facilities from sawing and shearing, to profiling and fabrication.


In addition to a successful General Steels arm, B&M have business units devoted to the specification, design and supply of Architectural and Glazing Systems to the construction industry, and specialised Steel Access and Safety products, such as handrailing and flooring.

With a client base from Multinational Construction and Engineering businesses to the DIY enthusiast, and calling on their 130 years of experience, B&M provide an astonishing range of materials and services for the same or next day delivery.

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Barclay & Mathieson were already a highly successful business prior to de-merging from a global parent group during 2015, but one of the many challenges the management team had to deal with during the de-merging process, was the need to implement new communications, network infrastructure and information systems from scratch – and if that wasn’t a big enough task – it had to be up and running within a 3 to 6 month period.

After an exhaustive review of system providers to the distribution and processing industry, both within and without the metals sector, Barclay & Mathieson chose Metalogic’s iMetal system as the only offering able to fulfil the needs of the diversity of products, processes and business models Barclay & Mathieson presented.

Andrew Telfer, Financial Controller, observed “Replacing an over-complicated global IT System on such a short timescale, iMetal needed to be a very good fit for our business ‘out of the box’ – we were changing email systems, networks and hardware all at the same time, so we needed a system that would integrate with everything else we were doing, seamlessly and with no hassles”.

Whilst the main goal of the implementation was to roll out a system across the 14 sites and to over 120 users, which would support all of the diverse activities of B & M, it was also essential to maintain the high levels of service that B&M’s customer base have come to expect and rely on.

The system would also need to support and facilitate the growth of the newly-independent business while allowing the new management team to maintain a high level of control.

“It was clear from the start,” says Alastair MacPhie, B&M Finance Director, “that the implementation would not succeed unless we had a well thought out plan, and would be prepared to carry it through to completion”.


Key to the planning process were regular and frequent project planning review sessions, involving B&M ‘Core Team’ members, the Metalogic Project Team and other Project Stakeholders.  Remote conferencing technology was used extensively to allow these meetings to take place between participants from right across the UK, without wasteful travel time, allowing the B&M Management Team to stay close to the business at all times.

Following a thorough review of Barclay & Mathieson’s business processes and a short but intensive period of Workshops and Core Team Training, Metalogic delivered full training to ALL users across all sites over a comparatively short period of time.

Four Metalogic consultants were on site delivering 1 week blocks of training, followed up by  supervised practice sessions overseen by local management.


The implementation was, as is always the case, a period of hard work by management and staff alike “Getting used to a new system was tough; there was so much to learn, but as you get more familiar with it, it all falls into place” said Susan Watts, Sheffield Sales.  However a solid commitment to success was to the fore, and everyone involved was always willing to put the effort in to making the project fly.

The importance of good planning and maintaining a clear focus on delivery of the plan supported the whole process, and along with the ability of the B&M Management Team to make prompt and effective decisions and carry through the project with determination, iMetal went live on time, on budget and on plan.

Merchant Bar a staple item of B&M
Merchant Bar a staple item of B&M

The benefits of iMetal to the business as a whole were evident from day one.  Jean-Pierre Lajarige, head of the Architectural Division  “iMetal has improved efficiency and communications across the Group – from access to CRM (Customer Relationship Management) through to Transport Planning, the sharing of information has improved the service we provide to our Clients, and improved stock traceability and the automated retrieval of test certificates has made a huge difference to how we work as a business.”

And Susan Watts again  “Being able to create Sales Quotes quickly, convert them to orders easily, and being able to use Order Templates have speeded up sales, and improved the way we deal with our customers a lot”.

6 months on from ‘Go Live’, all of the goals set at the start of the implementation are achieved – Barclay & Mathieson have never stopped delivering a first class service to their customers right across the country, and the Management Team have the tools to grow the business.

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