Case Study: Fruitlink Quality Fruit & Vegetable Wholesaler
“We have built our business around Zoho and it is now an integral part of the daily operation of Fruitlink.”
Fruitlink have been proudly supplying retailers and green grocers for more than 25 years. Their expertise is in providing high quality products to nearly 200 independent grocers and retailers, including supermarkets, convenience stores and a variety of gourmet/boutique stores. The purpose built 1800sqm facility at the leading Brisbane Markets, Rocklea, is fully accredited with HACCP SGS System certification. The Fruitlink facility ensures all fresh produce remains part of the ‘cool chain’ from market to stores with a main objective to supply retailers with fruit, vegetables and gourmet products like nuts & other specialty items.
Nearly every process was run on spreadsheets and bits of paper. This process was time-consuming, error-prone and gave management no visibility of operations and issues. The main problem was that growth was being throttled due to manual systems that just could not sustain the speed and accuracy required.
There were five main areas that needed attention:
- Tracking the on-boarding and approval process for new retail customers
- Daily call schedules, previously done via Excel spreadsheets
- Merchandising audits of customers, previously done on paper
- Merchandisers’ visit schedules
- Marketing Campaigns
None of these items were consolidated into a singular overview of a customer, and performance reporting was impossible. Add in separate accounts and the Fresh tracking systems meant fragments of information were held in multiple places.
Fruitlink engaged A1CRM after conducting lots of research themselves into CRM options, they found that Zoho fit the bill as it included a whole host of applications in addition to a fully-featured CRM, and the at the most affordable price there is.
Fruitlink was looking for a partner to help them implement the right systems and processes to save their team the time and headache of having to do it themselves.
A1CRM’s first meeting with the team at Fruitlink was to find out more about their business, how they operate and what their common issues were. We conducted a number of our signature “white boarding” sessions, where together, we mapped out their business processes, literally on a whiteboard. (In fact, Brian gets twitchy if he can’t get hold of a marker and scribble on a whiteboard!). Having their processes mapped out in front of everyone helped highlight how things could be done, rather than how they were.
1. Tracking the on-boarding and approval process for new retail customers
Paper forms had to be completed, plus a number of verification documents, for each new prospective customer. Forms were then sent to head office for a credit check and approval processes which could take days!
Now, these forms are completed online, workflows automate the approval process and new customer details are automatically loaded into Fresh, the inventory management system used by various produce suppliers.
2. Daily call scheduling
Previously, call schedules were done on excel spreadsheets. Each week individual spreadsheets were sent off and returned to be collated. There was no way of knowing what stage employees were at, if calls were missed or even made!
A set of standardised call templates were set up in Zoho and set to fire off each week, creating call schedules for each Buyer. Calls are worked through and the system is updated on the go showing only those remaining calls. This system also managed “disaster weeks” which disrupted regular delivery and calling schedules due to public holidays, like Easter and Christmas.
3. Merchandising audits of customers, previously done on paper
Paper audits on site by staff would require translating the written notes and manually re-writing requests or issues which were then forwarded on to the corresponding contact.
Now all audits are done on site, on a tablet, in a specifically designed Zoho form. Results are automatically uploaded into the customers CRM record, a summary sent to the customer and any lower-than-expected performance or issues are forwarded separately to the relevant team members and/or s to be addressed.
4. Merchandisers’ visit schedules
More excel spreadsheets were used to determine a merchandiser’s visit schedule.
This is now updated directly against the merchandiser and automatically added to their calendar – up to a year in advance. This gives the merchandisers plenty of time to prepare for each customer as they know exactly where they need to be.
5. E-marketing and Campaigns
Email and SMS marketing was done in Mailchimp and ClickSend which were not integrated with any system which made tracking of overall activities difficult.
Marketing is now done in Zoho Campaigns and integrates back to the customer’s record in CRM providing a full view of their activities.
Businesses in the 21st century are not designed to be run using Excel spreadsheets. Multiple, disconnected tools no longer need to be a burden on small businesses like Fruitlink. A good CRM and a great implementation partner with a whole-of-business approach to process improvement, is more accessible than you might think.
The results Fruitlink have experienced are outstanding.
The proof in the fruit box!
Interested to know how A1CRM can improve your business performance?
Phone Brian on 1300 437 540 or email [email protected]