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Catering supplier is UK's first with new ERP

By Retail Technology | Monday June 3 2013

JJ Food Service is first in the UK to sign up new supply chain software company to extend existing system functionality

Multichannel catering supplies retailer, JJ Food Service, has become the first UK customer of European supply chain systems company Relex.

The retailer decided it needed to add forecasting and purchasing optimisation to its existing enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems to improve the efficiency of its supply chains.

With a turnover of £182 million last year, JJ Food Service sources both locally and globally and offers institutions, restaurants and the public a wide range of food and catering products via several purchasing channels including online, phone and onsite ordering, with both collection and delivery options.

Streamlined resource planning

The company had set itself the goals of reducing waste, improving product shelf life, particularly with fresh and chilled goods, optimising stock levels and availability for hundreds of products with a lower turnover and managing promotions better.

Its not the high turnover, big volume items that let us down most of the time, said Mushtaque Ahmed, JJ Food Service chief operations officer. Its the more peripheral lines that we carry so we can offer a one-stop-shop service. Thats what drove the decision to bring in the forecasting and optimisation, which our existing ERP didnt include.

Another key goal for the company is to automate repetitive reordering tasks to free managers to use their skills and expertise to better effect.

Every company finds it a challenge to recruit good managers, he continued. Its far easier to free up our best people to deal with tasks where they can make a real difference than it is to recruit and train new members of the team.

We reckon theres an 80/20 split between tasks we can automate and those that need direct oversight. Automation means we can deploy our best people where theyre most needed.

Good cultural fit

Ahmed said other factors that influenced the decision to become the first UK company to use Relex systems included the strong work ethic that characterises both firms. 

The combination of a pilot, rapid implementation and SaaS [software-as-a-service] model makes for a fast, flexible and low risk choice. It was easy to say yes.

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