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 Rt Hon Kwasi Kwarteng.

Rt Hon Kwasi Kwarteng's Foreword For The Parliamentary Review

By Rt Hon Kwasi Kwarteng

This year’s Parliamentary Review reflects on a tumultuous and extraordinary year, globally and nationally. As well as being an MP, I am a keen student of history, and I am conscious that 2020 would mark the end of an era. It will be remembered as the year in which we concluded Brexit negotiations and finally left the European Union. Above all, it will be remembered as the year of Covid-19.

In our fight against the pandemic, I am delighted that our vaccination programme is beginning to turn the tide – and I pay tribute to the British businesses, scientists and all those who have helped us to achieve this. But the virus has dealt enormous damage, and we now have a duty to rebuild our economy.

We must ensure that businesses are protected. We have made more than £350 billion available to that end, with grants, business rates relief and our furlough scheme supporting more than 11 million people and jobs in every corner of the country, maintaining livelihoods while easing the pressure on employers. The next step is to work with business to build back better and greener, putting the net zero carbon challenge at the heart of our recovery. This is a complex undertaking, but one which I hope will be recognised as a once in a lifetime opportunity.

Through the prime minister’s ten point plan for a green industrial revolution, we can level up every region of the UK, supporting 250,000 green jobs while we accelerate our progress towards net zero carbon emissions.

With our commitment to raise R&D spending to 2.4% of GDP and the creation of the Advanced Research & Invention Agency, we are empowering our fantastic researchers to take on groundbreaking research, delivering funding with flexibility and speed. With this approach, innovators will be able to work with our traditional industrial heartlands to explore new technologies, and design and manufacture the products on which the future will be built – ready for export around the globe.

And I believe trade will flourish. We are a leading nation in the fight against climate change. As the host of COP26 this year, we have an incredible opportunity to market our low-carbon products and expertise. Our departure from the EU gives us the chance to be a champion of truly global free trade; we have already signed trade deals with more than 60 countries around the world.

As we turn the page and leave 2020 behind, I am excited about the new chapter which Britain is now writing for itself, and for the opportunities which lie ahead of us.
Rt Hon Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy