Smart-phone ordering and sell-by date management – Jones Food Solutions demonstrates that the future is here.
With a new mobile ordering app., and an advanced warehouse management system from STL, Jones Food Solutions is extending its integrated IT system both up and down the order chain to create one of the slickest order fulfilment operations in the UK.
Its first customers are now ordering directly and on the move from their smart phones, and its new STL WMS will ensure swift location of product and tight sell-by date management to minimise wastage of both time and investment.
Smart IT saves a day a week
The progressive, Somerset-based wholesaler is no stranger to the benefits of IT. It was an early adopter of STL’s then ground-breaking delivered solution comprising a Merchandise Management System (MMS), Sales Order Processing (SOP) system, and wrist-mounted RF-mobile picking devices. Combined, these significantly improved the company’s order management and picking rates, saving it the equivalent of a full shift per week while improving the accuracy and responsiveness of its deliveries.
STL SOP also provided Jones Food Solutions’ sales operatives with a comprehensive, single and up-to-the-minute picture of available stock, current prices and promotions, and customer profiles including purchasing history. This enabled its operatives to prompt customers about potentially forgotten order items, and describe complementary products and special offers that might be of interest. All this led to a noticeable upswing in sales as well as customer satisfaction.
Customers love mobile ordering
Now, its latest phase of IT investment has seen Jones Food Solutions integrate the SwiftCloud mobile app. into its STL delivered solution. This sends customer orders seamlessly and immediately to Jones’ STL SOP, which is running on its RF mobile picking devices for speedy fulfilment.
>Martin Jones, Chairman of Jones Food Solutions, said, ‘This final step has effectively allowed us to say goodbye to manual order processing and related paperwork, saving us a lot of time, and cutting out the potential for human error.
‘Our customers love it, too. It gives them the freedom to order whenever and from wherever it suits them, with just a few easy clicks.’
Further, SwiftCloud allows the wholesaler to target customers with promotions to increase loyalty and intelligently manage stock.
Foodservice-specific warehouse management
Meanwhile, the company has been working closely with STL to tailor its powerful WMS specifically for the foodservice sector.
Its key requirements were stock location and date management.
>Mr Jones said, ‘As our range and order volume grew, stock location became an increasingly complex task. Mislaid batches were costing us both in increased administration and loss of productivity. Worse, it affected our ability to manage rotations reliably. That could have led to us unwittingly holding products beyond their sell-by date, and losing that investment.
‘Fortunately, STL’s tech team was up for the challenge and have designed a fantastic solution to this problem.’
The new STL WMS software has been fully integrated with STL’s popular MMS and SOP systems, to provide seamless support for all warehouse management processes – from receiving goods and inventory management to dispatch.
Once populated, STL WMS automatically locates the oldest batches within a warehouse, ensuring they are used first. Crucially, it also provides tight sell-by date control, so that if a product has moved slowly, is can at least be promoted prior to its sell-by date to generate some return and minimise waste.
Ivan Durkin, Managing Director of STL, said, ‘Many delivered wholesalers talk a good talk about IT, but few have the courage and foresight that Jones Food Solutions has demonstrated in working with us to develop a foodservice-specific WMS. This was a terrific collaboration, and we’re very excited by how the end product could revolutionise delivered operations.’