A major independent British foodservice wholesalerWholesaler – Thomas Ridley Foodservice – believes Accord has played a critical role in its success and growth in the fiercely competitive foodservice market. A BCP client since the mid 1990’s, the company has recently made a major investment in a new IT infrastructure, together with new Accord Telesales software and Accord Web Ordering software, which it believes will further improve efficiency and the service it offers to customers.
Thomas Ridley Foodservice is an independent business providing a trusted and flexible solution for professionals in the kitchen and throughout an establishment. Thomas Ridley provide a multi-temperature delivery service to the catering industry throughout East Anglia and North London, delivering ambient, chilled, frozen food and catering sundries. The product range includes branded products and their own label Country Range. The customer base includes hotels, pubs and restaurants, nursing and residential homes, golf clubs and leisure, hospitals, industry and shipping.
The new investment builds on an Accord system first implemented in the mid 1990’s when Ridley’s were looking for a powerful, cutting-edge food & drink distribution package to help them manage and control all aspects of their business. Accord software was chosen from a short list of more than 6 solutions then, being one of the only systems able to handle both sides of Thomas Ridley’s business (Cash & Carry and Delivered), offering all the functionality required (proactive Telesales and comprehensive and flexible pricing features, in particular) and providing a solid foundation, able to accommodate the future growth of the company.
Hugh Godfrey, MD, considers Accord a brilliant system which has allowed the company to improve procedures, reduce operating costs, maximise sales, streamline stock control and improve customer service and management decision making. It gave us back control of our business and in so doing saved us £’000s.
Thomas Ridley’s latest investment introduces new technologies and Accord enhancements to provide further efficiencies and ensure the company maintains its competitive edge.
A modern Windows based network infrastructure has replaced an inflexible and restrictive Workgroup network. The new architecture is easy to manage and expand, highly secure and reliable and gives Thomas Ridley a host of new functionality, including flexible and secure Email and Internet access to all PCs on the network and the framework necessary to implement Web Ordering.
This new infrastructure was implemented with minimum disruption to normal trading, being built at BCP then installed at Thomas Ridley over the course of a weekend, ready for trading as usual on the Monday morning and configuration of the new Telesales system.
Designed to promote a proactive and intuitive approach to Telesales, the new Accord Telesales software provides Thomas Ridley with a powerful combination of features to improve efficiency, grow turnover and improve customer service. These include:
- Modern Computer Telephone Integration (CTI) to help operators to work faster and more accurately
- Instant access to a comprehensive range of customer information and real time stock control and price data to help operators to interact intelligently with customers, promote deals and promotions and develop the order
- CRM and Customer Feedback features so that customer contact from all sources EDI, fax, email, telesales, web. – can be co-ordinated in the Telesales operation to ensure consistency, improve efficiency and maintain customer service levels. The system ensures duplication of contact is avoided, call backs are not missed and builds up a comprehensive record of customer and competitor information which can be used to identify trends or problems and as a valuable resource for forecasting and planning.
Benefits from the new Telesales system have come through immediately for Thomas Ridley, in terms of improved customer service and enhanced levels of information available to their telesales operators, all of whom have adopted it quickly, finding it easy and intuitive to use.
Accord Web Ordering is due to go live imminently and will bring further improvements to customer service, allowing those customers who have difficulty placing their orders within the normal work schedule to order via the Internet at a time convenient to them any time day or night.
Justin Godfrey, Director at Thomas Ridley, explains: The main objectives of our latest investment were to reduce costs, improve efficiency, grow turnover and, most importantly, to improve the service offered to our customers. It’s still very early days, but we are delighted with the improvements we’ve seen so far. We’re expecting significant cost and efficiency benefits to come through, alongside sales growth and further improvements in customer service, as Web Ordering goes live, the Telesales system is more fully utilised and full advantage taken of additional features like mix & match promotions and customer feedback.
Since implementing its original Accord system Thomas Ridley Foodservice has grown from a £15m turnover company with 85 employees, servicing 1800 accounts to a £25m operation with over 120 employees, servicing 3000 customers. Hugh Godfrey believes that Accord has played an important part in our growth and will continue to contribute significantly in the future. BCP have a clear understanding of our business and the market in which we operate; Accord delivers powerful functionality critical to success in the foodservice sector.