The evolution of TLM: how we became an industry leader in technology and innovation

by 13 November 2017

The evolution of TLM: how we became an industry leader in technology and innovation

TLM Technologies’ recent nomination for the APEA Milestone Award is yet another example of their amazing rise to success. Just 18 months after opening the TLM Support Hub in Exeter, they are now supporting the technology in over 1,900 forecourts and convenience stores across the UK. In 2011 TLM was a small pump maintenance business; it has since evolved into one of the leading technology companies in the UK convenience and fuel industry.

The goal

The brains behind TLM, CEO Lee Papper has worked in the industry for over 25 years, and takes pride in the experience and expertise of his team.

The ambition was to be able to provide a complete end-to-end system of technology solutions to convenience and fuel retailers, and Lee Papper never lost sight of that; “A critical part of our original offering was our experience in installing and maintaining site controllers – and because these systems are so interconnected with the EPOS and therefore the back office and head office systems, the next logical step was to be able to supply and support those solutions.”

This was achieved in early 2016 when they became an Oracle Gold Partner with preferred referral partner status, and full user distribution agreement – so TLM could now supply and support the Oracle convenience and fuel EPOS and back office solutions.

Setting the standard

“The opening of the TLM Support Hub in Exeter was the first step on our journey” explains Papper – “applying the vast experience of our team to providing the highest level of support for our customers.” Headed up by Bob Laidlaw, who himself has over 30 years’ experience in running helpdesk service centres and nearly 20 years in the convenience and fuel industry, the Support Hub is fundamental to the end-to-end offering from TLM – enabling them to both supply and fully support the Oracle convenience and fuel systems.

Man at a computer wearing a headset

Operations Director Bob Laidlaw commented, “Reaching the milestone of over 1,900 sites on support in just 18 months is proof of the TLM team’s hard work and dedication. We have full confidence in the expertise and high standards of customer service in our team, and are continually looking at how we can improve for our customers.”

Top TLM customer HKS Retail agrees – Shane Thakrar, MD at HKS said, “The TLM team can always be relied on to give top customer service, often going above and beyond what is expected of them in order to make sure that any issues on our sites are resolved in the quickest time possible. Having a supplier that we can depend on to support our business in this way is vital.”

The next step

Successfully supplying the Oracle systems and supporting their estate in the convenience and fuel sector is a huge achievement, but Lee and his team understood that the demand for modern technology and new functionality had led to a vacuum in the market.

No longer content to just supply the Oracle solutions, Papper wanted TLM to be a market leader in innovation – providing the very latest technology to the sector with functionality to rival and even outclass the systems used by the big chains.

He recruited a ‘best in class’ team of developers, including Chief Technology Officer Adrian Felton. Adrian and his team have decades of experience developing technology solutions for the convenience and fuel market, so were in a prime position to develop TLM’s own suite of solutions to really take their offering to the next level.

Unsurpassed functionality, maximum freedom of choice and flexibility

The new development team were given clear criteria – the new suite of solutions must be developed in conjunction with retailer focus groups to ensure they meet and exceed the demands of the market; each solution must be fully backward compatible with the Oracle ones, and they must be hardware agnostic, ensuring that users benefit from unsurpassed functionality, maximum freedom of choice and flexibility – with minimal risk.

Join the evolution

They named the new product suite ‘evolution’, paying homage to the way that the technology evolves with the requirements of its users. CTO Adrian Felton said, “It’s very important for us to stress that the evolution product suite is not only the cutting edge of technology for this sector in terms of functionality, but that it will always continue to be. The way it is designed and built means it is completely adaptable – so upgrades and new functionality can be applied in a fraction of the time of traditional EPOS, back office and head office systems. Seamless updates also ensure that users will always be running the latest version of their system; no more waiting for time consuming upgrade projects.”

The future

There is a unique culture at the heart of TLM, which is at the core of every decision Lee Papper has made since the start of his journey – that is the genuine pride in his team, and confidence that they can provide the very best products and service. Looking to the future, Papper has big plans for TLM and evolution – expanding globally is the next step, and with projects already completed as far away as Thailand – there is no limit to what his team can achieve.

“Our culture is built on staff feeling empowered to help and rewarded for care” he says – “giving them the facilities to do this – our market-leading product suite, combined with our continued investment in infrastructure like the Support Hub, and the solid foundation of our service offering, means that the TLM team can continue to do what they do best, and look forward to a bright future!”

To find out more about how TLM can help your business evolve, please get in touch!

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