Founded in 1991, General Parma Food imports and distributes high quality food products. In its 22 years of activity, the company has reached a portfolio of over 3,000 products, distributing them via a complex system of partners, with direct coverage for Bucharest and Constanta and indirectly through its nationwide partners. (The delivery for the Metro, Carrefour, Billa, Kaufland, Rewe, Sellgros groups and their distributors is done through the distribution platform from Bucharest.) General Parma Food activity is divided into two divisions (HORECA & RETAIL), with specific product ranges.
- What was the situation before the implementation?
- What workflows were implemented?
- What benefits did the company obtain?
Due to the increase in number and volume of the distributed products and the partners and customers number, but also because of competition on the local food distribution market, management decided it was necessary to implement an integrated business management solution.
The triggering factor was a problem that the salespeople faced: while at the client`s office, taking a new order, they did not know what merchandise was available in the repository, and if they could actually fulfill that order.
There were situations when some agents no longer «caught» products. The sales people depended very much on the human component called «invoice clerk» – he decided if more merchandise was to be assigned, said Mihai Moise, IT Director, General Parma Food.
Starting from this point, General Parma Food launched an internal analysis process that revealed the main difficulties the company was facing:
- The difficult management and monitoring of the sales team activity
- Slow processing of the growing volume of specific documents
- The extension of cashing deadlines up to 120 days, as a result of human error
- Impossibility to perform realistic sales area forecasts
- Difficulties in the profitability analysis by distribution channels and products
These elements were aggravating the effort of improving the activity, and the risk of losing some business opportunities was very high.
The result of this aggregation of factors consisted in gaps in delivering the goods to the clients, unsatisfied customers, unhappy agents and, most importantly, the loss of important opportunities. The client, when it doesn’t receive what he asked for, gives up quickly to you, because it’s a very strong competition on the food distribution market, especially in Bucharest, said at that time Mihai Moise, the IT Director of General Parma Food
The process of identifying the solutions and the implementation partner was completed at the end of 2007, when General Parma Food has selected a solution package offered by Senior Software, made up of SeniorERP, SeniorSFA and SeniorVisualBI systems. To these was later added an EDI (Electronic Data Interchange) system, developed by Senior Software, in order to facilitate the information exchange with major retailers ( IKA ).
Throughout the implementation process of the Senior Software solutions, special attention was paid to the workflows customization and their mapping on the General Parma Food specifics. All the solutions were integrated into unified system, which allows the company to optimize the activity of each department.
At the present time, the workflows are automated and carried out in accordance with specific order picking and delivery mechanisms and algorithms of General Parma Food:
- Sales agents check on their mobile device the planned route for each day of the week, which is based on GPS coordinates provided by the SFA application. The Device, which is connected online to the ERP system of General Parma Food, provides the agent with information about the visited customers (they access the customer’s account, check its debit online, etc.) and each operation carried out by the agent at a client is registered in the system.
- When he takes an order, the agent enters the data in the SFA application with the help of the mobile device, this being automatically transferred to SeniorERP. When the order is received, the ERP system will send a message with the confirmation and the quantity reservation, or a warning if the inventory of a particular product is insufficient. (In such cases, the agent can offer the client a series of similar/alternative products from the warehouse.)
- The payment term and the agreed discount is applied to the order in SeniorERP, in accordance with the established trade policies etc. After this stage, the order is taken by the WMS, and the order processing begins (picking is performed, grouped by delivery areas).
- At the end, the WMS sends the distribution department the confirmation (“the batches X from merchandise Y and Z are ready”) with all the additional data that are required now by law (batch, expiration date etc.). After receiving this data from WMS, all the necessary documents are automatically generated in SeniorERP, so that the entire cycle ends in less than 24 hours.
- Based on the registered orders, the system automatically generates delivery routes for the car fleet, and the documents that the drivers need to give to each client. This way, sales and delivery areas with different coverage can be managed easier. In order to eliminate the risk of human error, the system additionally generates a delivery slip for the drivers: a summary document which facilitates the maintenance of a clear evidence about the delivery documents, of the documents sent through the drivers, as well as those who must return to the company.
By using the SeniorSFA application and the mobile devices the company obtained benefits such as increased agents’ efficiency, route optimization, continuous monitoring of the receipts and orders, increased profitability of certain categories of products on areas or sales channels etc. More than that:
- The company obtained some performance indicators concerning the sales agents, such as: X visits with order, Y visits with cashing, Z negative visits etc., that enabled the evaluation of the agents’ efficiency and performance
- It has been removed the problem of the gaps in the supplying activity and the risk of outstocks, because the system is able to provide the system administrators with real-time information about the situation in the warehouse
- The managers can anticipate the inventory evolution on batches, identifying their optimal size and eliminating the risk of blocking the cash flow in merchandise that is hard to sell, based on the analysis of the sales evolution from previous years
- Now the company can streamline the expenses because it has a GPS monitored sales force, who can see the visits and routes daily – which are predetermined.
- Pricing errors were eliminated, and also the ones that might arise while preparing the orders or the misunderstanding of the items to be prepared for an order, due to the shortening of the order transmitting chain and the automation of the activity
- The errors have been drastically reduced, while customer and supplier satisfaction has increased substantially
The implementation of the applications package from Senior Software allowed us to obtain outstanding results, taking into account the difficult economical context. And the numbers speak for themselves. For example, we managed to increase the customers’ number from 3,300, before the implementation, to 5.274, at the present time. The products’ volume increased to a total of 3,000 (with 2.072 products on stock), compared to $ 1,700 products that we were distributing before the deployment. The Senior Software integrated software solution allowed us to effectively manage the entire structure, which is not a simple one: we have 3 locations (two in Bucharest, one in Constanta), we work with 106 suppliers (41 external and 65 local), and we have 100 employees, of which 25 sales agents in Bucharest and 15 in Constanta (10 in low season). All these increases have allowed us, at the end of 2010, to have a turnover of 19 million euros, concluded Eugen Savu, General Manager of Parma Food.