Temple Cycles is a fantastic success story of a Bristol-based business experiencing phenomenal growth, whilst powered by two pieces of software which were launched from Bristol - Shiptheory and Unleashed. What started as founder Matt's hobby and side-hustle during his time at University of Bristol has developed into a large business, assembling high quality custom bikes and distributing them around the world.
As the business grew, things became more and more complex - custom bikes have limitless customisation options, and can be sent all around the world to consumers or to stores that are selling Temple's bikes themselves. Learn how the combination of Shiptheory and Unleashed have empowered Temple Cycles to ensure their operations run smoothly and efficiently, helping enable their enormous growth.
We visited the Temple Cycles workshop to get the lowdown on how Shiptheory and Unleashed makes them 50% more efficient.
We've got really humble beginnings. Our founder, Matt, started the business while at university, upgrading and renovating classic British ration frames from the sort of 70s and 80s. He saw a gap in the market for new frames - made in the same classic style, but with up to date geometry and materials. So after that initial brainwave, the first Temple Cycles was born.
That was around 2014, and since then, we've expanded so much that we've had to move - three times! We've got a big workshop team, where all bikes are hand-assembled in the UK, and we've also got our own London store.
The main challenges have been as keeping up with our growth, almost 100% year on year. This is mainly due to staffing, but also inventory management, order placing and shipping. In terms of brand identity, we've also stuck to our guns, rather than outsourcing. We've always wanted our bikes to be as UK-manufactured as possible. That's why we still do all of the assembly in Bristol, and do our painting in South Wales as well.
We were getting to the stage where our spreadsheets were too complicated. We have one spreadsheet to control stock, one to control our order flow and one because our bikes are very customisable. Although we have a standard range, you can customise what grips, accessories and colours you want. So very quickly you end up with thousands of variations of the same 12 or so bikes.
With Unleashed, it's very easy to see and control the order process. Linking our Shopify Store to unleashed allows us to see exactly what options a customer has chosen, we can see what stock levels that that affects, and can also then assign different statuses as the bike goes through the build process downstairs.
We had Unleashed first, and in the early days, we were able to manually enter all of our shipping details into various platforms and use different shippers to get bikes out the door. As we've grown as a business, the volume of bikes we're moving has grown dramatically. So we needed a solution that was basically a one stop shop. We trialled a number of different companies software, but in the end we went with Shiptheory.
It works seamlessly with Unleashed - as soon as we've completed an order in Unleashed it pops up immediately in Shiptheory, carrying all the information across and making life for us much easier. We ship across the world as well as the UK, so being able to have different shipping options for both domestic and worldwide shipping. It really makes our lives so much simpler.
I think it was mainly the ease of using Shiptheory. Onboarding and setup was very uncomplicated, there were no awkward APIs to install...it was a very seamless integration with Unleashed. As we were already leaning heavily on Unleashed, we really needed something that would work very well with it, and so far we've had nothing but good things to say about Shiptheory!
Because we ship a lot to the EU, we have to create commercial invoices. Initially, Brexit was a huge stumbling block us. However, with Shiptheory, you're able to upload a product catalogue which updates from Unleashed. Unleashed holds all of our commodity data and product descriptions, which then ultimately need to be given to customs. Updating information in Unleashed also updates the product catalogue in Shiptheory, and then auto populates a commercial invoice for us. Originally, we were having to manually create commercial invoice every time we shipped a bike outside of the UK, so this is a huge time saver for us.
So when it comes to building bikes, if we turn out, say 20 bikes a day, you're looking at savings of up to a half hour per bike, which is a massive saving for us. It allows us to be more efficient in other areas as well.It's freed up loads of the operations teams time, in order for us to then look at, look ahead at where the business is going, which is, is exactly what the operations team should be doing. It's allowed us to empower some of the workshop staff so that they can take ownership of certain processes. Without it, we we'd still be doing lots of stuff very manually.
Using the two together has made the biggest impact on the business of anything that we've implemented. It's allowed us to develop as a business from out of the back of someone's garage into a fully functioning and flourishing bike company. Without Unleashed and Shiptheory, we wouldn't have been able to get to this stage where we are now. It's easily made us more than 50% more efficient across the business, and it's been absolutely vital for our growth.