Calculus Software Solutions

A Message from Lord Pickles and Lord Blunkett, followed by Calculus Software Solutions's best practice article

The ability to listen and learn from one another has always been vital in parliament, in business and in most aspects of daily life. But at this particular moment in time, as national and global events continue to reiterate, it is uncommonly crucial that we forge new channels of communication and reinforce existing ones. The following article from Calculus Software Solutions is an attempt to do just that. We would welcome your thoughts on this or any other Parliamentary Review article.

Blunkett signature Rt Hon The Lord David Blunkett
Pickles signature Rt Hon The Lord Eric Pickles

Rupert Woolger, founder and
managing director
Integrated credit card processing
is just one element of a fully
integrated retail solution
Based in the town of Crowborough, East Sussex, Calculus
Software Solutions is a software company with a focus on
service and implementation consultancy. Knowing that
the traditional small business is under immense pressure from
every angle, especially from large retailers, Calculus Software
has sought to help the situation by building, integrating and
supporting IT systems for the independent electrical retail sector.
These tools deliver enterprise-class functionality at SME pricing,
allowing these businesses to compete by combining efficiency
improvements with innovative functionality. Here to discuss this
in greater detail is managing director, RupertWoolger.
The modern electrical retailer is not simply buying product at a price, adding
a mark-up, then selling it on through their store. Prices of stock can fluctuate
multiple times a day, and stock held in a warehouse will have been purchased at
a range of different prices. Suppliers offer additional margin support to promote
the sale of their own products through the retail channel, and this support also
changes continuously. At the retail end, the dealer is competing with a wide range
of businesses online through their own e-commerce site and other marketplaces
such as Amazon and eBay. They must respond to changes in the pricing and
availability of stock as well as the changing costs of that stock. Our products
empower independent businesses to achieve this and stay competitive.
I founded Calculus Software Solutions in 2000, having started development on our
core product the year before. While working at an independent electrical retailer
»Managing director:
»Established in 2000
»Based in Crowborough, East
»Services: Development of
software and solutions for the
independent electrical retail
»No. of employees: 17
»Over 270 customers
throughout United Kingdom
»Typical customer turnover
£500k-£5m per annum
Calculus Software
Highlighting best practice
in the run-up to Y2K, I was involved
in the research for a replacement IT
system – a review process which led
me to identify a significant gap in the
market. The original vision was simple:
to provide a modern, easy-to-use retail
system at a price realistic for a small
After 18 years of development and
expansion, our products have become
sophisticated, but our development
techniques also allow us to respond
quickly to offer custom configurations
of the system to suit each unique
business, while keeping the system
simple to use for each end-user. By
staying engaged with our customers,
our products and services have evolved
to keep pace with the real-world
challenges they face.
The business has changed from
being a simple provider of software
to a service-led business where the
implementation consultancy we offer
alongside our products is almost as
important as the products themselves.
Our software provides our customers
with a range of powerful tools; we
then advise them on how they can
be used to improve their business.
During this process, we often identify
new areas where we can help drive
efficiencies, which helps feed our
Efficiency from start to finish
From the start, we have been driven to
improve efficiencies within businesses,
identifying and removing manual
processes, and making new tools
available to improve sales and margins.
The nature of our customers means
we are not targeting to reduce staffing
levels by increasing efficiency; instead
we are looking to release staff from
administrative tasks to allow them to
carry out new roles which drive the
business forward.
It is often required of our staff that
they possess many skills – this works
well with our ethos of helping the
business use resources for productivity
rather than administration. Rather than
staff spending time manually updating
product pricing and availability within
the retail systems, our platforms
connect directly to a range of
manufacturers and distributions to
keep this information up to date
automatically. The time saved from
these manual tasks can then be used
by those staff to update and market
the company’s e-commerce website,
and ultimately drive more sales without
requiring any additional investment
Our mobile apps allow delivery drivers
and service engineers to receive their
work digitally; to capture proof of
delivery electronically and to feed
updates back to the main system in
real time.
These facilities allow our customers
to offer improved service levels to
clients, in turn helping to grow their
business. Replacement parts can
be sourced as soon as an engineer
leaves a property, and often be ready
for fitting the following morning.
Mobile apps give real-
time tracking of parcels,
delivery status and
service engineers
Our ethos of
helping the
business use
resources for
rather than
A smallindependent service firm
implementing our systems reduced
the average turnaround time to
completion for their service calls by a
day. This allowed them to grow their
business with commercial and public-
sector entities significantly, while at the
same time reducing their admin load.
Changing face of retail
We see a growing divide between
those retailers who actively invest in
IT and evolve their businesses, and
those who do not. Purchasing patterns
within the electrical retail sector are
extremely price-driven and, despite
the sophistication of the products,
are highly commoditised. Traditional
stores face growing difficulties
competing both in gaining footfall
and in converting sales, due to higher
costs associated with their high-
street locations. There are retailers
still showing growth, generally those
using IT to be agile and respond
quickly to the marketplace, such as by
using our real-time integration with
suppliers such as BSH – manufacturers
of Bosch, Neff and Siemens products
– to allow them to adapt their online
product listings and pricing in real
time as their supplier pricing and
By remaining focused within our
sector, we can innovate in ways that
help support our customers and
remain agile. Opportunities to give our
customers a competitive edge change
all the time, and may not remain
open for long, so it is important we
are able to deliver solutions as quickly
The future
Calculus Software Solutions will
continue to grow organically, and our
products and services will continue to
evolve and adapt as the retail space
changes. The majority of our revenue
is on a recurring basis for licensing
and maintenance. Combined with
our self-financing, this allows us to
be very resilient, an important factor
for customers investing in mission-
Our services will become ever more
critical to the success of our customers,
and those retailers who fail to invest
in solutions such as ours will face a
growing existential threat to their
businesses from those who are.
The retailers who are our customers
are changing, and we are a key
part in helping them to effect that
There are
retailers still
showing growth,
generally those
using IT to be
agile and
respond quickly
to the
Our experienced engineers help our customers maximise their
benefits from our services while keeping everything running smoothly
Detailed stock location tracking allows
optimum use of warehousing space

This article was sponsored by Calculus Software Solutions. The Parliamentary Review is wholly funded by the representatives who write for it. The publication in which this article originally appeared contained the following foreword from The Rt Hon Theresa May MP.

The Rt Hon Theresa May MP's Foreword For The Parliamentary Review

By The Rt Hon Theresa May MP

This foreword from the then Prime Minister appeared in the 2018/19 Parliamentary Review.

British politics provides ample material for analysis in the pages of The Parliamentary Review. For Her Majesty’s Government, our task in the year ahead is clear: to achieve the best Brexit deal for Britain and to carry on our work to build a more prosperous and united country – one that truly works for everyone. 

The right Brexit deal will not be sufficient on its own to secure a more prosperous future for Britain. We also need to ensure that our economy is ready for what tomorrow will bring. Our Modern Industrial Strategy is our plan to do that. It means Government stepping up to secure the foundations of our productivity: providing an education system that delivers the skills our economy needs, improving school standards and transforming technical education; delivering infrastructure for growth; ensuring people have the homes they need in the places they want to live. It is all about taking action for the long-term that will pay dividends in the future.

But it also goes beyond that. Government, the private sector and academia working together as strategic partners achieve far more than we could separately. That is why we have set an ambitious goal of lifting UK public and private research and development investment to 2.4 per cent of GDP by 2027. It is why we are developing four Grand Challenges, the big drivers of social and economic change in the world today: harnessing artificial intelligence and the data revolution; leading in changes to the future of mobility; meeting the challenges of our ageing society; and driving ahead the revolution in clean growth. By focusing our efforts on making the most of these areas of enormous potential, we can develop new exports, grow new industries and create more good jobs in every part of our country.

Years of hard work and sacrifice from the British people have got our deficit down by over three quarters. We are building on this success by taking a balanced approach to public spending. We are continuing to deal with our debts, so that our economy can remain strong and we can protect people’s jobs, and at the same time we are investing in vital public services, like our NHS. We have set out plans to increase NHS funding annually by an average by 3.4 percent in real terms: that is £394 million a week more. In return, the NHS will produce a ten-year plan, led by doctors and nurses, to eliminate waste and improve patient care.

I believe that Britain can look to the future with confidence. We are leaving the EU and setting a new course for prosperity as a global trading nation. We have a Modern Industrial Strategy that is strengthening the foundations of our economy and helping us to seize the opportunities of the future. We are investing in the public services we all rely on and helping them to grow and improve. Building on our country’s great strengths – our world-class universities and researchers, our excellent services sector, our cutting edge manufacturers, our vibrant creative industries, our dedicated public servants – we can look towards a new decade that is ripe with possibility. The government I lead is doing all it can to make that brighter future a reality for everyone in our country. 

British politics provides ample material for analysis in the pages of The Parliamentary Review 
The Rt Hon Theresa May MP
Prime Minister