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Interview With Chris Neighbour

Updated: 6 days ago




1.     Q: Could you tell us a bit more about Ultimat Frames?

A: The journey began 25 years ago when Dru Cook, (Managing Director) and I, then colleagues in mobile phone sales, ventured into the art world by establishing a small gallery with a framing workshop. Despite initial financial struggles, our ambition led us to acquire and expand a chain of seven art galleries across the southeast of England, eventually growing to 13. Recognising the potential in framing and innovating art presentation, we launched Ultimat, focusing on business-to-business services in the photography, interior design, and hospitality industries, among others. Our diversified approach now includes manufacturing, printing, and selling both high-end and budget-friendly options, catering to a global clientele.

2.     Q: Have you been working on any exiting products over the years?

A: Absolutely. Ultimat has partnered with prestigious galleries in London, New York, and LA, framing works for high-profile artists and photographers. Our team handle bespoke projects from conception to delivery, offering comprehensive solutions to art consultants and interior designers. We've worked on everything from works by Picasso and Banksy to framing cricket bats for the English Cricket team and framed shirts for Manchester United. Our niche market presence is sustained by word-of-mouth, obtaining strong relationships within the art and framing communities and with our suppliers. We pride ourselves on our ability to bring creative visions to life, serving an exclusive clientele that includes notable art galleries, hotels, and artists.

3.     Q: How do you see the future of Ultimat?

A: The challenges presented by the fluctuations in markets recently, alongside the complexities of Brexit, have tested our resilience. However, our distinctive market position and specialised offerings have us poised for a promising future. Our strategy is focused on broadening our clientele and refining our expertise in key areas. These recent challenges have only served to reinforce our commitment to innovation and adaptation, ensuring our continued growth.

4.     Q: How about Ultimat’s employees?

A: At Ultimat, our team of 25 cover a broad range of talents, from crafting our products to navigating sales and ensuring our customers are satisfied. Dru and I are deeply involved, guiding our team as we collectively bring creative visions to life. It’s collaboration that propels us, blending diverse skills with a unified goal. This approach not only leads to high-quality outcomes and streamlined operations but also solidifies Ultimat’s reputation.

5.     Q: When did Ultimat and ERPiQ cross paths?

A: In our effort to refine our operations, we looked for a partner to help us make the most of The Priority ERP Software, which we had only been using at a basic level. This search led us to ERPiQ. Their extensive experience and deep understanding of the software immediately made it clear they were the right choice. Partnering with ERPiQ has enabled us to fully utilise our resources and significantly improve our efficiency. Their expertise continues to be key in modernising our systems, pushing us toward a streamlined and more effective operation.





Q: Ultimat recently migrated its systems to the cloud. How did that benefit your company?

A: Migrating to the cloud has significantly enhanced our operational efficiency and security. Since using Priority ERP from 2014, we faced challenges with outdated on-site servers, leading to increased costs and security vulnerabilities. The shift to cloud services marked a pivotal change, allowing for seamless remote access to our ERP systems, essential in the post-pandemic work landscape. This transition eliminated the need for complex VPNs or remote desktops and reduced the maintenance burden of physical servers. The cloud has simplified our upgrade processes, ensuring our systems are always current and secure. Overall, the move to the cloud has delivered substantial benefits across the board. 

6.     Q: How do you as a client see ERPiQ?

A: Initiating our cloud migration in early 2024, ERPiQ's expertise and responsiveness significantly streamlined the process. Quick and effective communication facilitated smooth system enhancements and the development of custom solutions, tailored to our specific needs. Their deep software knowledge enabled rapid, precise problem resolution, distinguishing them from larger, less responsive IT firms. This professional, efficient partnership with ERPiQ has ensured a seamless transition to cloud operations, enhancing our overall productivity and operational efficiency.

7.     Q: Biggest achievements at Ultimat?

A: Very difficult one to answer, I suppose growing from a tiny shop into a bustling business with 25 employees has been incredibly rewarding. We started with manual processes and faced our share of challenges, including tough economic times. Now, we're equipped with the skills to create anything from the ground up. Our love for what we do and our commitment to quality are why our customers keep coming back. We've shown that through hard work and dedication, any obstacle can be overcome, turning a small dream into a successful reality. This journey reflects not just our growth but the trust and loyalty we've built with our clients, who value the craftsmanship and care we put into every project

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