Haynes Manuals @ Sparkford, Somerset
For any people the word ‘Haynes’ is synonymous with ‘how to’ – whether that’s repair a car, manage a teenager, cope with a crying baby, or perform some DIY on a much-loved vintage motorbike. The manual publisher was founded in 1960 and has become a global publishing phenomenon – selling more than 150 million Haynes Manuals throughout the world, and more than half a million in the UK just last year.
Haynes was founded in the UK, is listed on the London Stock Exchange and has its UK Head Office in Sparkford, Somerset. With offices in Sweden, the Netherlands, Italy, Spain, Romania, Australia and America, the company has adapted to changes in the publishing industry and continues to enjoy global growth. As a truly global business Haynes regularly transfers large data files, often in excess of 1Gb, between its operations. As Chairman, John Haynes, explains this is where the absence of high-speed broadband at the Sparkford facility creates problems:
“We began our commercial life in Somerset and are still here today. Unfortunately, because of our rural location, we can’t access superfast Broadband. At best, we receive speeds of 2 megabits per second, and we’ve been informed by our telecoms provider that the local exchange is unlikely to be updated within the next five years. When we send a file off to print, everything else just grinds to a standstill. It’s caused us real problems over the last few years, and unfortunately these problems are becoming more and more of an issue as we move forward with our digital platform strategy.”
“We launched digital manuals in the US last year and are planning to roll them out across the UK. We’ll be hosting this service from our Dutch facility, which benefits from superfast and reliable Broadband, but the content will be provided from the Sparkford site, via FTP transfer. Given that our present broadband supplier struggles with file transfers for printing, it will be a further challenge when we increase our data flow to populate our digital offering.”
“The inability to access a reliable and fast service is a competitive disadvantage. For example, we’d like to introduce VoIP (internet phone call) services to communicate between our seven international sites but we don’t have the bandwidth to do that. Our sales team would benefit from being able to remotely access customer information via a virtual private network (VPN) when they are on the road, but we can’t offer them this support. It has also meant we’ve had to replicate hardware expenditure across our offices rather than having a consolidated enterprise resource system (ERP).”
“We believe that the growth in digital communication will open up business opportunities for Haynes and will create new ways for us to talk to, interact with and help our customers around the world. These digital platforms will complement and enhance the consumer experience when using our printed manuals. Just as exciting is the prospect of expanding sales into new smaller geographical markets where the low cost of delivering a digital manual overcomes the barriers of upfront print, inventory and distribution costs associated with a printed manual. It’s about enhancing the commercial value of our unique and considerable content archive. To realize these exciting possibilities we need a fast reliable cost effective digital network.
I believe this lack of superfast broadband is not just an issue for Haynes – it impacts on our competitiveness as a nation and the commercial inheritance we’re creating for our children. Broadband is a vital infrastructure for our daily life now. Investing in superfast is a necessity, not an option!”