Rapide System Supplies was formed in 1984 by the Managing Director, Charles Walker, as a management buyout from the multinational Dickinson Robinson Group.
The company started selling computer supplies, chiefly floppy discs, printer ribbons and computer paper. Changes in technology and diversification have led to the company now selling office paper, printer cartridges, general stationery, office furniture, printing and office machines. These six product areas are now the heart of the business.
Our customers are mainly businesses and the public sector, chiefly schools, colleges and councils, although recently we have opened a trade counter dealing with the general public. We operate on a national basis having customers across the UK although the bulk of our customers are serviced by our own vans and are within 50 miles of our base in Weston-super-Mare.
Good access to the motorway network is important to a distribution business like ours. Our proximity to junction 21 of the M5 is essential both for our deliveries to our customers as well as for our suppliers delivering bulk supplies to us by heavy goods vehicles.
In 2004 Rapide moved to our purpose built premises in Weston. We looked at moving elsewhere but stayed in Weston mainly due to the majority of our staff living in the town. They are highly trained and many have been with the company since it started. We do not have a high turnover of staff and have always been able to find people with the right skills. Our staff are trained mainly on the job but we use Weston College which has a wide range of courses to suit our needs as well as the North Somerset Enterprise Agency for short term training.
Over the years we have made considerable investments in I.T. to lower our costs and give our customers a better service. The use of the Internet with electronic ordering has revolutionised our business over the years and will continue to do so. We will continue to invest heavily in this area in the future.
In December 2008 we carried out our first acquisition, purchasing the commercial business of Mendip Office and Art, a stationery based business based in Congresbury. This has been a great success as we have welcomed the Mendip customers into the business. We are looking for other suitabe opportunities to expand in this way.
Finally but most importantly. Customer service is at the heart of our business. All of our staff but especially our sales team are trained to respond to the needs of our customers. Our customers have highlighted the following aspects of our service
- Our quick delivery service
- Our use of on-line ordering system
- Our furniture planning and installation service
- Our environmental awareness and actions
- Our knowledgeable and helpful staff
- Our competitive prices