Software firm discovers gold seams in clothing
Sunday 06 September 1992
Just six years after being founded, Prologic, based at Berkhamsted in Hertfordshire, numbers a clutch of household names among more than 30 clothing clients, employs a score of people and is on the way to pre-tax profits of pounds 150,000 on turnover of pounds 1.8m.
Prologic's managing director, Sam Jackson, admits the market gap was found more by accident than design. Having started as a 'fairly unfocused' computer consultant in 1984, he found himself after two years doing a lot of work in the clothing business. He discovered there was a trend towards vertical integration, with wholesalers getting into retail and retailers making garments.
There were problems associated with the fashion business's belated embrace of modern technology, however. And Mr Jackson and his product development director, Karen Rankin, set about establishing an integrated solution.
Known as Prologic CIMS, the computerised management system - specially designed for the fashion industry - is able to link retail, manufacturing and distribution. By incorporating point of sale, stock control and order processing, it can supply the user with up-to-the-minute information at the press of a button.
'We don't think of retailers and wholesalers, but of source and destination. The users buy various modules that meet their needs,' said Mr Jackson, who believes his company is the only one covering the whole business cycle of the fashion industry.
Gaining Katherine Hamnett as a client gave the fledgling company early credibility, and since then a number of top-drawer names - from Arabella Pollen to Paul Smith - have signed up for the service.
Most recently, Aquascutum, the upmarket clothing company acquired two years ago by Renown International of Japan, and Hackett, the London-based men's outfitter recently bought by Dunhill Holdings, have signed up.
As the third largest industry in Britain, the fashion business has plenty of potential, says Mr Jackson. There are still plenty of opportunities for companies with the right merchandise and superior management, he says. And with mergers likely to introduce more profit-motivated management to the sector, he is confident about the future.
Although he confesses that over-optimism led to his company making a loss last year, he says the experience has proved beneficial in the long term. 'We thought we were on target for expansion, but a lot of sales just evaporated.'
In order to strengthen the balance sheet, Prologic was obliged to obtain a pounds 240,000 investment from BCS Computing, a venture capital operation specialising in the field.
BCS has also supplied two non-executive directors, Michael Brooke and Gordon Skinner, to fill gaps in management expertise.
At present, the firm has an order book worth pounds 350,000 - and with 2,800 prospects, the market is big enough to stand expansion for some time to come. Mr Jackson's research suggests that 60 per cent of companies in the fashion business do not use computers. Those that do have the technology tend to confine it to accounts and the like rather than running the business.
'The attitude of the old owner-director in the business was 'I could buy a Jag for the cost of a computer',' Mr Jackson said. 'But that's changing.'
- 1 Germanwings crash: Police make 'significant discovery' at home of co-pilot Andreas Lubitz
- 2 Germanwings captain Patrick Sondenheimer tried to break into locked cockpit door 'with an axe' as plane was descending
- 3 Zayn Malik already working on solo material, just days after quitting One Direction
- 4 The West has it totally wrong on Lee Kuan Yew
- 5 #FreeTheNipple: Women in Iceland bare breasts in solidarity with trolled student
Zayn Malik gives first interview since quitting One Direction: 'I've never felt more in control of my life'
Germanwings crash: Police make 'significant discovery' at home of co-pilot Andreas Lubitz
Germanwings captain Patrick Sondenheimer tried to break into locked cockpit door 'with an axe' as plane was descending
Saudi Arabia says it won't rule out building nuclear weapons
#FreeTheNipple: Women in Iceland bare breasts in solidarity with trolled student
Nigel Farage brands LGBT activists 'filth' and 'scum' and accuses them of scaring away his children after they invade his local pub
Ukip supporters are 55 or older, white and socially conservative, finds British Social Attitudes Report
JK Rowling responds to fan tweeting she 'can't see' Dumbledore being gay
Russia threatens Denmark with nuclear weapons if it tries to join Nato defence shield
Jeremy Clarkson sacked live: Alan Yentob 'wouldn't rule out' ex Top Gear host's BBC return
Germanwings plane crash live: Andreas Guenter Lubitz intentionally crashed flight 9525 into the Alps in act of mass murder and suicide – latest
iJobs Money & Business
Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: To provide a prompt, friendly and efficient se...
Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: You will be the first point of contact for all...
£18000 - £24000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: HR, Payroll & Benefits Of...
£35000 - £38000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: A highly successful, int...