In the not too distant past, a fire, like the one that destroyed the offices of AGM Complete Parts & Components, would have been the end of most motor factors. Thankfully, through modern day data sharing software, the business had a plan in place to allow it to start rebuilding far sooner than expected. This unfortunate event goes to show why factors, if they haven’t already, should be thinking about backing up their vital data.
The 5th May 2007 marked an especially disastrous day for Spalding-based motor factor AGM Complete Parts & Components, as a fire ripped through its head offices, resulting in the loss of the premises and £225,000 worth of stock. The company had to relocate its staff and business operations to its second branch in Sleaford.
AGM offers specialist auto electrical products while selling a wide range of general motor factor parts and tools from a large portfolio of suppliers, which includes OE manufacturers such as Hella, Britax and Federal-Mogul. After becoming a member of the United Aftermarket network in June 2010, the factor was able to add more brands to its portfolio.
Formally the Cragmay Ltd. Spalding branch, AGM has been operating under its current name since Cragmay split into two separate companies in October 2012. It is currently owned and managed by Jacob Greeves alongside Adrian and Rodney Moore, sons of Cliff Moore, who co- founded Cragmay in 1977.
In 2011, the company launched its own online shop, which enabled it to sell products throughout the UK and Europe.
2014 saw the 20th anniversary of the opening of AGM’s first Spalding branch which expanded to become its main operating base. In addition, 2014 also saw the opening of a second branch and trade counter in Sleaford.
Rescuing the business
Despite the scale of the damage, all was not lost. The business had taken crucial measures to ensure that there could be a recovery should just such an event occur. A few weeks before the fire, AGM switched to Autopart Online, the cloud-hosted version of MAM Software’s business management solution. Being on the hosted system, AGM’s important business data was safely stored in a remote data centre and was still accessible to its staff after the fire. “The fire caused major damage to our head office. It happened in the early hours of the morning so thankfully no-one was hurt, but we lost the whole premises and the entirety of the stock we had there,” as Adrian Moore, Managing Director at AGM, explained.
“We called MAM to tell them what had happened and the assistance they gave us was great,” Adrian continued. “As we were on a cloud-hosted system it meant that we could carry on trading on the same day from our Sleaford branch. The biggest obstacle was the lack of stock, but thankfully we didn’t lose any of our data.”
“The advantage of using a cloud-hosted system is having both branches effectively sharing the same server, so you’ve got full access to sales history and customer accounts. This meant we could just carry on.”
“If we had an on-site server when the fire happened, I can’t begin to imagine the cost of replacing the system. The setup time for a new server would have been weeks rather than hours.”
The refurbishment of the damaged premises is currently underway and the company hopes to move back into its Spalding branch next summer once work has been completed. In the meantime, AGM has moved its head office into temporary premises (see main image).
Plans for the new building involve the footprint being the same, due to planning rules, but the trade counter inside will be bigger to take better advantage of the space available.
When speaking about Autopart Online’s flexibility, Adrian said: “The whole process of setting up our temporary branch was made a lot easier because of Autopart Online. Certainly, the cost of re-opening our Spalding branch will be reduced because there is no need for the on-site server.”
“We’re extremely glad that we could help AGM overcome these difficult circumstances,” said Mark Kendall, Head of Sales at MAM Software.
“When AGM contacted us about the situation, our support services acted swiftly to minimise the disruption caused and allow the business to carry on trading on the same day.”
“Losing an on-site server in a fire, or any other unforeseen event, can have devastating consequences for a business. Because AGM are using Autopart Online, their vital product, supplier and customer data was thankfully unaffected.”
“As Autopart Online is a flexible solution, the task of setting up AGM’s Spalding branch when it comes to re-open will be seamless. As well as re-establishing the branch, Autopart Online will allow AGM to easily expand its computer network with new users and branches.”