Fosters Bakery Case Study
Fosters Bakery has been a family owned business since 1952. From humble beginnings has grown a company that moved to the present site at Mapplewell in 1971 and continued to expand the site to the present day to meet demand.
Fosters now operates two manufacturing units and a frozen store facility. They have four bakers shops but the main business is supplying commercial accounts with fresh and frozen baked goods. Customers include major pub company Wetherspoonn, supplying their goods across the United Kingdom and Ireland.
In 1952 there were just two employees and now the company employs 230 staff with a turnover of over £10m.
Fosters Bakery started using EDI in the early 2000’s as a direct request to being asked to trade electronically by their customers. A solution was purchased at the time that met their needs and was used for over 10 years.
“Our customers asked us to trade electronically with them, and they recommended an EDI vendor to us, which we went with.” Sara Beaumont, PA to the Directors, commented.
As always, companies are looking to reduce costs from the bottom line, and this was no different for Fosters Bakery.
“We were paying an annual fee to our EDI provider for support and data transfer costs that were quite high,” Beaumont continued, “ and we had other customers that we wanted to trade electronically with, but the costs to set them up on our system meant it wasn’t worth it for us.” When we proposed an alternative solution, Fosters jumped at the chance because it offered them a full end-to-end solution to modernise their EDI landscape.
“We were fairly happy with our present provider, but the service and cost benefits from moving to Cegedim e-business meant that it was a no brainer.” Beaumont argued, “At first we thought that we could only use our present EDI vendor as they had been recommended to us by our customers, but this has proved not to be the case. The complications of changing to alternative EDI suppliers had stopped us from looking at the other alternative vendors in the market.”
Fosters original solution was a desktop product that was installed on a single PC back in 2000. When Fosters wanted to upgrade the PC, the original EDI Vendor wanted to charge a re-install fee to move the software onto the new PC.
“Ten years is a long time to use the same computer, and when we needed to upgrade to a more up-to-date computer we were going to be charged by our EDI vendor to re-install the software,” Beaumont confirmed, “we decided to keep the software on the original PC and keep it in the corner of the office.”
Fosters original EDI system was installed in such a way that meant that Fosters were responsible for the EDI system and any issues with it would need to be resolved by themselves, with help via a support desk.
“This was far from ideal as we were often waiting hours or days to resolve issues on the system, which is extremely frustrating for us and our customer.”, added Beaumont.
We implemented a cloud-based EDI soltion, Netix Flow platform for Fosters Bakery. As part of the solution we provided a grid network service which connects to traditional VAN’s, AS2, X400 and FTP connections. Netix Flow integrates directly with SAP Business One to ensure that the file formats produced for the previous EDI system would still work.
The Netix Flow and consultancy services helped Fosters do the following:
• Remove the hardware burden from the IT department
• Significantly reduce annual costs
• Access Netix from any internet enabled machine – no additional cost, multiple PC’s in the office, or even from home
• Multi-user access to the EDI service
• Save internal employee time by moving the EDI processing and error resolution onto a consolidated platform.
• Allows additional trading partners to be added to the system at very reasonable rates.
Sara highlighted a few features that Fosters have found really useful. “One particular feature that we find useful is the instant access to support. Problems are resolved immediately without any intervention on Fosters’ part. “, stated Sara.
“The system is accessible to multiple users, which relieves the burden from one person. The old system was only accessible from one PC so if we had a problem with that PC we were stuck. This system allows access from anywhere there is internet access”, Sara added.
Sara continued by saying “The other major benefit is the cost. We have massively reduced our costs, received a better service, and are now confident to offer EDI solutions to more of our customers.”
Moving EDI systems
The process of migrating EDI systems can seem daunting but with our migration processes and utilities the switch is seamless. Sara stated; “We were with our previous vendor for over 10 years and I thought it would be a nightmare to switch providers – but with Cegedim e-business’s experience and service proved to be fairly simple. I am very pleased that we moved over to Cegedim e-business, the service you receive is brilliant!”
We ensure that the data exchanged between trading partners and their clients match existing processes thus eliminating data errors upon switching to Netix Flow. On top of this we liaise with their clients and trading partners to ensure a smooth transition from existing solutions to Netix Flow. Sara added, “Moving to Cegedim e-business has taken the hassle and fear from EDI processes, the team are only a phone call or email away, and often the problem has already been noticed and resolved due to the online monitoring service that they provide.”
With our support, Fosters Bakery’s journey from a decade-old, costly, and cumbersome EDI system to our Netix Flow platform showcases the benefits of embracing innovative solutions. This move not only reduced operational expenses but also empowered Fosters Bakery to enhance their electronic trading capabilities, thereby strengthening their position in the market and enabling them to better serve their valued customers.
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