An Australian wholesale distributor of local agri-based produce and dry store products, which have been in the business for over 50 years, has grown organically to supply to 90% of retail stores in Eastern Australia. Their emphasis is to promote and support the local producers and their sustainable methods to grow food.
The procured food is then converted into artisan products and daily essentials to supply restaurants, cafes, caterers, and retailers in Australia.
With almost 200 suppliers, small and medium producers, and 40 clients ranging from five-star hotels to your local cafes, the organization's core operations are a combination of multiple process flows.
The star hotels might have a pattern in their orders, but they have peak seasons and off-seasons. The local cafes are very dynamic in orders and prefer fast-moving product lines.
The other crucial aspect of this industry is handling the perishability factor and taking the right decisions to make it just-in-time inventory and maintain the margins. Are the suppliers ready to cater to the varying demands?
There are many dynamic parameters in the Food and Beverage Industry.
Dynamic Consumer Demand
Regulatory Changes for Food Safety
Supply chain disruptions (e.g., the impact of covid 19)
Tracing the product deliveries (considering food perishability)
Agility of the Organization is the key and to reach a level of Agility you need Digital approach to get the visibility, and improve efficiences.
The need of the hour is an Intelligent ERP - thereby transforming the internal processes with digital technologies. Digital Transformation is not a magic pill and a plug-and-play solution. It is the application of technology (es) to improve business efficiencies and increase reach.
Digital Transformation provides an opportunity to overhaul the business operations completely, its processes, and customer relationship management.
Digitalleaf's experts have analyzed the organization's current business operations and identified three opportunities to transform and scale:
The organization's Standard Operating Procedures that are still manual processes
Identify quick wins that can be digitized first and then extend the scope.
While you want to embrace digitization, your ecosystem isn't ready yet.
Digitalleaf's approach to the transformation was a combination of Tactical and Strategic Solutions.
Our experts have done a detailed discovery exercise mapping the entire customer journey, including suppliers, clients, and internal stakeholders. Digitalleaf solutions have arrived at 15 opportunities to digitize with the support of technologies (or approaches) such as Machine Learning models, Robotic Process Automation, and chatbot-driven automation at a strategic level.
Automating Order Management with the help of Robotic Process Automation
The Process of receiving orders from the cafes/star hotels is a highly labor-intensive manual process. The customer sends an order with the list of products, quantity, and unit price registered to the wholesale distribution company.
The team receives the orders over an email, logs into Sage X3, and creates an order entry. If there is a difference in the unit price as per the system, they capture those as exception comments. While this looks simple, it is a tedious, time-consuming data entry work limited by a human's dependence to check the order emails to create an entry. There was definitely a lag in creating the order if the orders are received late in the day, thereby increasing the average handling time by 2 days for any orders.
There was scope for improvement here. What if orders are created within minutes from the time they are received? What if the inventory team takes quick actions to deliver the order to the customer in less than a day instead of 2 days? How will it impact the overall customer experience?
Digitalleaf's solution to this was deploying a Robotic Process Automation solution that scans through the email for any orders, downloads the order document, extracts the details, and creates an entry into Sage X3. The robot, which works 24X7, creates orders in less than 2 minutes, thereby making the overall process faster by 300% and improving the overall customer experience.
Digitalleaf's approach started with a tactical solution to automate the order management process and a strategic vision of digitizing the overall operations. An extension of this automation is checking the inventory for the stock and the product expiry management. Based on the workflows defined, the robot places an order with all the suppliers. The orders placed are created as a Sales Order in the Sage System. With this steady scaling of bringing the entire operations under the scope of digitization, the organization has become more agile and customer-focused, leaving the back-office operations to the robots.
In our next post, we will present the Digitally Transformed Operations of the wholesale distribution company and how they achieved a 300% ROI on their investments.
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