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Behind the Scenes at CMS Distribution: A Tech For Techs Exclusive Tour

On a wet and windy October day, the warmth of Dan Hirst's invitation to explore CMS

Distribution was a welcome one. We’ve known Dan from his previous roles and now, as Gaming Product Manager, he was eager for us to see how CMS operates in Harrogate. As we made our way to the office, the picturesque setting of the place quickly caught our eyes. Despite the grey skies, the backdrop was almost like a scene from a painting, complete with its own helipad (though rarely used) and a train viaduct in the distance, all nestled amidst lush trees and

fields. Inside, the atmosphere was just as inviting. The offices and call centre had a nice, fresh, and clean feel, coupled with a friendly atmosphere. We had an informal meeting with Dan, Helen Blakey, and Joshua Dodd from marketing, to discuss ways CMS can help independents, as well as plans for next year's Tech MAX. We also had the opportunity to chat with Emelia Velissariou (Senior Account Manager) and Adam Kemp (Gaming Product Manager). Even with the high-tech meeting rooms and comfy presentation area with cushions, it was the friendliness of the staff that stood out.

After leaving Harrogate, we headed to Castleford, navigating through what seemed to be torrents of rain. Upon arrival, we were greeted by the sight of an immense warehouse. Inside, we proceeded to the office area, which was impressively larger than many standalone offices we've visited before. It boasted state-of-the-art meeting rooms. Throughout the office, pride in their accomplishments was evident, with posters displaying the past year's achievements, including various statistics. Similarly, the canteen featured a 'Wall of Achievements', showcasing accolades such as ‘Employee of the Month', reflecting the same sense of pride we observed at the Harrogate office.

The warehouse tour began with Darren Cusworth, the Warehouse Operations Director, guiding us through the facility, accompanied by Dan. Our first stop required passing through a security checkpoint, where we were equipped with high-visibility jackets and steel-toe caps for safety and noted the presence of metal detectors for staff exiting the warehouse.

Inside, the warehouse featured a designated area for staff breaks, which included two large garden sheds. These provided a space for staff to hold private meetings when necessary, allowing for confidentiality without the need to pass through security each time.

The warehouse was segmented into distinct areas tailored to specific service requirements, thereby enabling teams to specialise and excel in their respective roles. The tour included a stroll through aisles of racking, impressively extending up to a height of 11 metres. A vast range of products was on display, from PC components and drones to more surprising items in CMS's portfolio, such as hairdryers and toys. During our exploration, Dan and Darren shared some astonishing details, including the fact that the warehouse houses almost 850,000 individual items. They also highlighted a recent achievement where they surpassed their record by dispatching 6,000 individual orders in a single day.

One section that really stood out was dedicated to handling orders for independent businesses. It was set up to deal with anything from a single graphics card to bulkier orders. They had a neat setup for building data storage solutions to their customer specifications, with choices of drives and specific firmware revisions being available options. Upstairs, there was a practical space kitted out for testing, repairing and refurbishing gaming products and drones that have been returned. And get this, they even had a special cage just for flying and testing drones, also housing a dedicated area for scooter testing and repair!

Wrapping up our trip from CMS Distribution's cosy Harrogate setup to the vast warehouse in Castleford, it’s been quite the eye-opener. Harrogate charmed us with its storybook scenery and the office vibe was just as warm. There was a real buzz in the air and everyone seemed chuffed to be part of the team.

Down in Castleford, it was a whole other world. Darren and Dan walked us through the ins and outs of a place that’s clearly more than just a space to stash stock. It's a beehive of activity, tailored to handle anything from a single gadget to truckloads of tech. And don’t forget they’ve got these special spots for custom jobs like tweaking storage systems right down to the last byte, plus a corner for drone testing that’s as cool as it sounds.

Everywhere you looked, there were little nods to the big wins and personal bests of the CMS crew, from a wall in the canteen celebrating the everyday heroes to stats that make you do a double-take – think shipping 6,000 parcels in a day and keeping over 850,000 items at the ready. It's not just about numbers though. The place has a vibe that tells you these folks aren't just shifting boxes; they're passionate about what they do and they’re smashing it, with a solid team and a knack for getting things done right.

From the ground up, CMS Distribution is clearly nailing it – blending serious tech know-how with a personal touch that makes all the difference. They’re not just moving with the times; they’re setting the pace.

And for those of you who like facts and figures. Here’s some interesting numbers.

> Over 130 internal colleague progressions year to date

> UK DJI, EcoFlow and DrayTek official service/refurbishment centre

> Dedicated sales teams for different sectors (indies, VAR, retail)

> Over 250 vendors across consumer, gaming, solutions and software categories

> Dedicated Irish warehouse

> Over 13 offices in 8 countries

> Over 550 staff group-wide

> Dedicated pre-sales/technical support helplines for solutions and software requirements Feel Free to Reach out to CMS Distribution if you wish.


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