Food giants going high-tech with a human touch

Today’s rising expectation of businesses to provide ‘Amazon-style’ service and efficiency has seen many large retailers and suppliers employ integration technology to automate ordering and fulfilment processes.

But businesses are now feeling the pressure when it comes to managing their growing ecosystems of suppliers and systems.

NZ-based tech-integrator, Crossfire, is helping put an end to that by connecting supply chain operating systems together without the frustrations and errors of managing integrations internally.

The secret ingredient; its fully managed integration service which creates a seamless flow of real-time data between all parties and systems, without the need for any in-house expertise or software.

Crossfire services clients from a wide range of industries, including leading Australasian retailers, suppliers and logistics companies.

This includes giants like Foodstuffs, Lion and Mainfreight as well as some of Australasia’s hottest brands, including Oob Organic, H2coco, SodaKing, and Karma Drinks to name just a few.

It also integrates to a range of large retailers such as Woolworths, The Iconic and Coles through to international juggernauts like Amazon, Target, Walmart, and Costco.

“Integration using the likes of Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) is not new,” says Head of Crossfire, Henry Payne. “It’s been around for a number of years. But the complexity and cost of managing it internally continue to cause headaches for IT teams and business owners, no matter what size they are.”

Henry Payne.

“People are looking to remove the hassle and risk from their business through integration, not add to it. That’s exactly what we do. In effect, we’re removing human error and inefficiencies with tech at the same time as ensuring our clients get a quality ‘people-first’ service directly from our integration experts.”

Payne says integration has now become fundamental to many large retailers, who also now expect their suppliers and logistics partners to interact with them digitally.

One major retail giant reaping the benefits of Crossfire’s managed integration service is New Zealand’s largest grocery retailer, Foodstuffs.

With thousands of suppliers and millions of orders, invoices and data points to manage, Foodstuffs recently built a tailored, central supplier portal to help manage its growing number of suppliers, product orders and invoices across its network of owner-operator stores.

The centralised system, dubbed ‘The eXchange’, was developed by Crossfire’s parent company and custom software solutions provider, Sandfield. Crossfire then connected Foodstuffs’ supply chain partners using EDI, whilst taking care of hosting, monitoring and support.

“Their approach to our solution resonated well with us compared to some of the other bigger players in the market we were talking to,” says Chris Monkton, Purchasing Process Owner, Foodstuffs North Island.

“The team were also very calm and collected in the face of complexity and varying business dynamics.”

Monkton says Crossfire’s tailored solution delivered beyond expectation, despite it being a complex project to manage. “We liked the collective, tailored approach Crossfire provided. Nothing was too difficult and we now have a long-term partnership, beyond just a simple supplier-vendor relationship, we can build on to drive our business processes forward.”

Another large Australasian food business taking advantage of Crossfire’s managed integration is food distributor, the Botany Group.

With an impressive portfolio of local and international food brands, the company’s main distribution clients include supermarkets in New Zealand and Australia as well as some commercial and industrial-scale customers.

“We needed an EDI partner that could respond quickly, were cost effective and had the ability to work within a specific time frame. Crossfire delivered all of that for us.” says Botany Group Director, Kimberley Holland.

“They’re great to deal with. There seem to be dedicated people always available, always responding when we need them and they’re amazingly cost-effective.”

To find out how fully managed integration could benefit your operations, check out the Crossfire website.