Paperchase is the undisputed retail brand leader in innovative stationery in the UK. They have been trading for 30 years and sell gifts, stationery, decorations and personal accessories.

Network | Power


Paperchase were looking to move and expand their DC warehouse and upgrade their IT infrastructure to ensure they could meet the current and future demands of the business. “When I arrived at Paperchase, a lot of the systems were old and out of date. We needed an infrastructure that was modern, resilient and upgradable” said Neil Plaistowe, Head of IT, Paperchase.

Adding value

“I have been working with APSU for over 10 years in different companies and I trust them to provide me with the best solution to my IT related problems. I was conscious that our Head Office hardware was out of date, so APSU recommended, and installed a Cisco solution to bring everything up to industry standard”.

After the internal Head Office infrastructure was updated, Neil put the wheels in motion to set up an innovative, best of breed and future proof infrastructure solution in the new DC. This sat as an empty shell and he was charged with working to an aggressive operational timescale.

Getting started

Unlike most projects where the IT environment is already established, the new DC was being built on a brownfield site, reflecting the green credentials of Paperchase. Neil knew he had a big task ahead of him.

“We talked to APSU, who were able to provide the consultancy we were after, as well as the products. The team proposed the idea of a solution that used Cisco LAN, WAN and RF connectivity to support stock management, time attendance systems, and addressed PCI DSS security. I was looking for a fully integrated solution and this gave me the confi dence that the APSU team, with their different remits, knew what they were doing and I had comfort that the whole project was in the right hands.”

“APSU added value to our decision making process and have a great deal of knowledge which is something I call upon on a regular basis. We have a small IT department and as legislation and technology change so quickly, it’s hard to keep up with the raft of new developments, so I use trusted industry experts to assist me!” enthused Neil.

Once the project specification was completed and agreed, the APSU team set about implementing the systems.

Smooth implementation

“We still had the existing warehouse working whilst we were implementing the new solution. This, in conjunction with outsourcing to a data centre for our back office, made it an easier transition. It meant we could test offline, and for the users, it was business as usual”.

The new systems were cutting edge and Neil was impressed with the results. “This is a best of breed, brand new solution and a world ahead of what it used to be. It has improved security for Paperchase’s entire IT Infrastructure. It’s modern, up to date, scalable, and provides us with a much more stable environment”.

APSU added value to our decision making process, and have a great deal of knowledge which is something I call upon on a regular basis. Neil Plaistowe, Head of IT, Paperchase

Saving time and money

Paperchase’s DC is working more effectively and Neil is really reaping the rewards, “One of the important factors for me is the total cost of ownership. The solution will more than pay for itself in a relatively short period of time, but the added value for the future really means that Paperchase are in a business leading position now.

In addition, it has improved resilience and security which saves us money. APSU also manage our systems, which can identify potential issues before they become a problem and that’s a key business benefit for us. I can now spend my time looking at management decisions, rather than worrying about the warehouse,” he added.

The future

To sum up, Paperchase’s infrastructure is now completely up-to-date and it should meet the business demands for at least the next 5 years. “We may increase the amount of access points, but our investment would be minimal” Neil concludes.

About APSU

APSU is a leading IBM Premier Business Partner, a HP Preferred Partner, a Cisco Premier Partner, and a Microsoft Gold Certified Partner. At APSU we strive to maintain long term partnerships with our clients, and the continuing relationships that we have with clients such as HMV Group, Arcadia and Admiral Insurance is testament to the high quality of service we provide.

  • We help you address the challenges that affect your IT infrastructure
  • Provide cost-effective technology solutions
  • Ensure that you are maximising your IT investments.

Working with us will ensure that your IT systems are effective in helping you create and maintain a competitive edge.


Distributing, retailing and warehousing thousands of active products naturally creates a lot of related information which must be managed effectively for a smooth running operation.

New way of working

Until recently, Paperchase’s systems used to cause problems on a regular basis. Their applications were bespoke, out of date, difficult to use and not delivering the service they required. Consequently, the business started to suffer with deliveries taking too long to get from the warehouse to stores.

“The old system we were using before we installed the iSeries was unreliable causing us a lot of issues and wasted time. We were looking for a solution that could manage our merchandising, warehouse and stock systems” says Neil Plaistowe, Paperchase’s Head of IT.

Saving time and money

“We wanted a solution that would provide us with a low ongoing cost of ownership that was also reliable, secure and efficient and one that could cope with the expansion plans of the business”. Neil knew exactly what he wanted as he had 20 plus years experience of working with the iSeries platform at TRW, BRL Hardy and Burberry. “I have always been impressed with the iSeries as an application platform. It’s reliable, stable and provides great processing power and scalability” enthused Neil. The iSeries has brought industry standards and best practice to the staff at Paperchase and this makes their life much easier. APSU has helped their support staff understand how to operate the system and ensure they get the best out of the latest technology advancements.

Making a difference

“I have been working with the APSU team for over 10 years and I look to them to support us with decisions impacting our entire technical infrastructure, not just our iSeries platform.” says Neil. “I trust them to help me consult, design, implement and support our IT infrastructure.

“One thing I can say about working with APSU is that I’m 100% confident I chose the right solution. APSU really took the time to understand our strategic plans and we made significant savings just due to the timing of the purchase.

The future

“We’ve upgraded our system twice to meet the growing business needs. We recently upgraded from an i520 to an i525 increasing the amount of processors and memory”.

“We are now looking at expanding the System i to logical partitioning to help us move towards a franchise model. We are also interested in the 6.1 version of the operating system which offers native encryption. With PCI DSS (and other) compliance strongly on our agenda this could be a very interesting feature” Neil concluded.
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