BCP customer CFC Food Partners Ltd (CFC), is claiming company-wide improvements in operational efficiency from its investment in BCP's Accord distribution system.
Based in Wakefield, CFC is a rapidly growing foodservice wholesaler supplying cafes, sandwich bars, colleges and hospitals across NE England. It provides a wide range of ambient, chilled and frozen foods, plus a selection of non-food items and specialises particularly in sandwich fillings.
The investment was prompted by CFC's wish to modernise and improve efficiency, particularly relating to stock control and telesales, as a foundation for growth and expansion. Existing operations were largely manual and paper-based, with limited, very general, IT functionality. "We'd been struggling for a while and having to work hard to make up for the limitations of our existing system," says Shawn Giles, MD, CFC. "We realised that a sector specific solution would make life a whole lot easier and, if we chose carefully, would scale up to meet our needs as we grew."
Following a thorough selection process, CFC chose BCP's Accord foodservice system, BCP securing the contract because of its food and drink industry background, consistent track record of successful implementations and, not least, Accord's powerful functionality, which proved an excellent fit. Shawn Giles: "It was as if the system had been designed especially for us. Its rationale and functionality just mirrored our business model."
CFC has realised efficiencies across its business as it benefits from a fully integrated, powerful IT solution that controls all operations, delivers true visibility, improved reporting and key sales, product and buying information. Particular improvements have come in the areas of Telesales/Sales Order Processing, Replenishment and Stock Management.
Existing Telesales was a paper-based order-taking system. Operators took orders 'blind' in terms of stock availability, which could adversely impact on service levels. With Accord, Telesales operators have real time stock and pricing data, plus a wide range of other information, at their fingertips so they can react quickly to customers' requirements, offer exceptional customer service and work proactively to increase sales. Shawn Giles: "The results have been excellent and the telesales operators really like it – it's so easy to use - so they can work more efficiently, contacting more customers each day. It's played a key part in helping us to grow the business. Sales have gone up significantly without any increase in staffing levels, which means we're operating more profitably." All CFC's orders are now handled via Accord telesales.
Purchasing has improved significantly. CFC can now 'buy better' in terms of price and availability, and, critically, in terms of quantity, balancing orders and stock to minimise the occurrence of out of stocks while at the same time minimising the amount of working capital tied up in stocks.
Stock control had been difficult with only physical stock showing on the existing system and a lack of integration. A lot of time was spent on manual stock checking and service levels were challenging. The fully integrated Accord system allows CFC to streamline inventory levels, minimise losses from out-of-date products and significantly improve customer service levels. Shawn Giles: "We now know exactly what's in stock, where it is in the warehouse, what's on order and when it's due in, so we can satisfy orders much more efficiently."
Operations are now much more efficient, allowing optimum use to be made of human resources and there have been considerable improvements on the logistics side with Accord providing a much more flexible approach to logistics and planning customer deliveries on particular rounds on particular days.
Better stock control and more flexible delivery planning have contributed significantly to improved services levels which are now averaging around 98% - a vast improvement on previous service levels.
Since the initial implementation of Accord, CFC has extended its use to manage another foodservice depot in Hull on behalf of a charity, making use of Accord's powerful multi-depot functionality to manage operations at both locations. It's early days there, but already, the same benefits experienced at the main depot are coming through – across all areas.
Shawn Giles: "Accord is an excellent fit for our business, and has lived up to its reputation, delivering even more functionality than we'd expected. BCP itself has given us an A* service which we could not fault, always prepared to go that extra mile to satisfy our requirements." CFC plan to extend their use of Accord and, longer term, will be looking at implementing both Voice Picking and online ordering to deliver further efficiencies and customer service improvements.