Table of Contents
Challenges and Complexities
Implementation and Beyond
Working with BizBloqs
Unexpected BizBloqs Benefits
Final Words and KPIs
foodpickers is a Belgian company, based out of Brussels and founded in 2014. The founders saw an opportunity to bring top-quality health food brands not only to the specialized health food and organic shops, but also to the conventional retailers who were just about to increase their focus on this segment.
They take the time and effort to understand what is going on in the European and even global food industry, in order to create a food product portfolio that is of high quality and matches the preferences of the demanding modern consumer.
Although a large part of the portfolio consists of organic food, the foodpickers’ product selection also contains products that are not officially certified as organic but are healthier than other options in a specific category (e.g. Asian noodles).
It is critical that their product range has well-defined, healthy ingredients and supplements the existing range of their reseller and retail partners well. The products may be dry, chilled or frozen. As a mid-sized importer and distributor of such health foods, they have found their niche position in the market and perform very well.
CHALLENGES AND COMPLEXITIES
foodpickers started out on Exact Globe and followed an upgrade path to Exact Online Wholesale Premium to manage their business digitally. In the beginning, a lot of processes were simple and manual and the team was not too stressed to handle the logistic requirements.
Everything changed however, when they signed their first large chain retailer. foodpickers soon hit the limits of their existing systems and processes, realizing that further digitization was needed in order to continue the rapid growth and support their larger customers. It was an Exact representative that introduced them to BizBloqs, leading to the consideration and eventual implementation of a warehouse management system.
The first introduction led to a few meetings with members of the BizBloqs team. Their logistic experience and expertise was immediately clear and foodpickers felt assured this was a partner they could work with for the challenges they were facing. Both the costs and time needed for the implementation were reasonable and foodpickers specifically liked that the usage model for BizBloqs would be based on a monthly subscription fee after.
The uptime and reliability of foodpickers’ systems is a strong dependency for them, so the fact that BizBloqs is hosted in the cloud with a highly reliable infrastructure suited their purposes well too.
To put the BizBloqs solution in perspective, foodpickers also researched some alternatives. Microsoft solutions seemed to be meant for much larger companies with greater and broader needs because their ERP solution would have been overkill. A bespoke Belgian solution provider could have been interesting too, but that would have meant a complete development from scratch. It would have been too costly and risky, as well as time-consuming to consider seriously.
BizBloqs could address the needs, including requirements for EDI support, while the costs were reasonable. This made proceeding with BizBloqs very attractive. With confidence in the software, stability of the hardware, and especially the BizBloqs expert team, the choice for this Warehouse Management Solution was easily made.
IMPLEMENTATION AND BEYOND
The experts of BizBloqs recognized quite quickly that their Knight subscription would be the best balance of monthly costs and features for foodpickers. As per the usual process, BizBloqs then sat down with the customer to identify the specific requirements that would require customization. Due to the generous nature of foodpickers, they facilitate the needs and requirements of their clientele. It was clear that this would mean the necessity to implement EDI support as well as a somewhat complex picking and packing process. Eventually this would lead to an implementation that gives foodpickers the position to service each customer to perfection with the right documents and the right information, as well as the products ordered exactly as intended.
One remarkable and unique part of the process flow at foodpickers was directly related to one of their large customers, Carrefour. They dictate a special process for a box or pallet arriving at their premise, referred to as Alloti flow (and Alloti box, Alloti pallet). Despite the custom requirements, Carrefour has neatly documented how to comply with their requirements and BizBloqs was able to implement this without major challenges. That does bring us to the next remarkable part of the foodpickers implementation.
The standard BizBloqs process for an implementation is to capture all the processes and desired flow, after which an elaborate configuration and customizations take place. The customer is then required to do some extensive testing, before signing off and putting the system to work in a commercial environment. Due to the very specific requirements of Carrefour and the need to supply them with foodpicker goods, this project had something more comparable to a rolling start. It took a lot of close coordination and unwavering focus from both BizBloqs and foodpickers to pull that off, but it can now be looked back on as a great success. In reality, the BizBloqs solution is perfectly capable and suitable for rolling start implementations. It is generally the customer who isn’t equally well-equipped to deal with the challenges that come with such scenarios.
foodpickers also made full use of the availability of some relatively new features in the BizBloqs offering. It allows for managing cold storage products and frozen goods. These are stored in entirely different zones and are seamlessly managed by the BizBloqs system. An interesting oddity was also encountered in regard to the pallet labels. Normally, these roll out of a label printer as a sticker. For foodpickers these are printed in duplicate on A4 paper instead. The formats for pallet labels (SSCC) and packing slips are created exactly to the needs of the different customers and customer groups, as to meet all requirements as mentioned before.
The implementation plans had to be adjusted as much as twenty times, just to jointly respond to progressive insight and various requirements of the foodpickers customers. In practice, it turned out that several of their clients didn’t really have their process set in stone and kept updating their wishes and demands for foodpickers to facilitate them. This situation remains even today and keeps foodpickers on their toes to maintain their processes seamlessly aligned with their clientele. The flexibility of the BizBloqs platform has proven to be an extremely valuable asset, allowing them to do just that without huge costs or disruption to their daily business operations.
The implementation was overshadowed by EDI issues with a third party. Minor issues they may have encountered with BizBloqs were easily forgotten. BizBloqs also had some dependencies on the third-party handling EDI, but that was really the only challenge in the process. Sometimes changes occur in the live system and the information on this to customers is scarce… As soon as the need arose, we implemented the system so there’s no real before and after.
foodpickers has served a wide range of customers pretty much right from the start. The founders have a great enthusiasm for health foods and enjoy doing business with like-minded people. This means that foodpickers will facilitate the wishes and needs of a small individual organic retailer and help the local neighborhood market to fill a small health food segment. It certainly doesn’t rule out the largest franchised supermarket chains of course, because that is a great way to reach all their potential customers just the same.
That leads to a number of complexities for the implementation of BizBloqs solutions and beyond. First of all, the great variety of clients automatically also leads to a great variety in the orders. You can imagine a small order, perhaps slightly over a 100 Euro, versus a large order of tens of thousands of Euro. You will need to create processes that allow foodpickers to efficiently handle both extremes of order sizes while still generating the documentation that clients from very diverse segments want to see. This way foodpickers can seamlessly support their clients’ processes.
For example, each customer already has their own processes in place and especially the bigger clients demand compliance by foodpickers to minimize impact on their end. This means that foodpickers need automated custom processes to handle the orders per customer. For example, some clients may insist an an itemized packing list with individual pricing, while others will not accept unless the prices are completely removed. Another complexity might be a requirement for custom unique article numbers.
Customers have their own requirements for documentation (with price, without price). Bizbloqs gives the ability to make it quite flexible at this customer level. Peter Mitteregger, Business Development Executive and co-founder of foodpickers, says: “BizBloqs truly understands the warehouse processes. Their ability to be flexible at the customer level allows us to model processes for optimal results”.
WORKING WITH BIZBLOQS
The people at BizBloqs know very well what they are doing. Their business process experts have been a real anchor during the implementation and after going live with the foodpickers solution. Peter says: “This company instills a level of trust by being there when you truly need it”. Also, the Support team have proven themselves time and time again. It seems everyone at BizBloqs knows their stuff.
For example, recently a large retailer changed their document requirements as deliveries were re-routed to a different distribution center and BizBloqs helped us change things in 2 days to make us compliant again. This was supported excellently.
UNEXPECTED BIZBLOQS BENEFITS
Although it was never a consideration when foodpickers were selecting a logistic solution, they found in practice that it’s very easy to train people faster. The experienced people of foodpickers already made few mistakes if any, but the BizBloqs solution also makes it easy to prevent human errors by less experienced people. You can bring interns, students or sales people in to help out for the day or a few hours and rest assured that the system will guide them to work without faults.
It’s intuitive to just grab a scanner and follow the on-screen instructions. The standardization of the workflow and forcing the correct processes with use of the scanner has been very useful.
In the case of foodpickers, when you deal with high volumes and low margins, mistakes can quickly prove extremely costly. This is why such hidden benefits do tend to show up on their radar pretty easily.
The whole world has been in turmoil, with the global pandemic and Brexit to name a few massive negative factors. For foodpickers, they have continued to grow despite market circumstances and continue to collaborate with BizBloqs for their evolutionary needs and logistic wishes.
FINAL WORDS AND KPIs
We have seen a variety of unique scenarios that foodpickers has to deal with in order to keep their clientele perfectly happy. BizBloqs takes great pride in the fact, that the solution that they have built has been able to handle all these custom requirements and unique processes without impacting the business of the customer. With an average of 5 concurrent users at foodpickers, their Knight subscription of the BizBloqs solution is very actively used and plays its pivotal part to handle purchase orders, sales orders and a great number of shipments.
To be somewhat more concrete, the OMS or Order Management System is handling hundreds of orders every month, which leads to handling up to over 100,000 shipment units going in and out in a busy month. The volume of shipments can vary significantly also from one month to the next, which is nicely facilitated by the way BizBloqs has set up its business model, where clients don’t get punished for their peaks and low periods.
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