Fresca Group: EDI Case Study


The UK’s Largest Independently-Owned Supplier of Fresh Product Selects TrueCommerce

Fresca Group Ltd. needed to improve efficiencies and reduce its IT department’s daily involvement in EDI related issues. Fresca chose to outsource its customer facing EDI requirements to TrueCommerce, to provide connectivity to its customer base via a single B2B platform. The company have achieved greater visibility and control of their customer ordering process, whilst freeing up its IT department.

Background and Challenges

The businesses within Fresca Group Ltd are all fresh produce specialists. They have interests at every stage of the fresh produce supply chain.

Fresca businesses source, supply, prepare, pack and deliver fresh produce to customers, ranging from supermarkets, multiple retailers and wholesalers to food service companies and caterers. They share IT support from a central department.

As part of their trading relationships with UK supermarkets the Fresca companies have been required to trade electronically for over 10 years – exchanging key business documents, including orders, invoices, ASN’s and receipts via Electronic Data Interchange (EDI).

As the group expanded, so too did the requirement for EDI. Their IT team soon found that they were using a myriad of on-premise EDI solutions – with each division using a different solution.

With the large retailers accounting for almost 80% of the available consumer spend on fresh produce, Fresca’s relationship with supermarkets is key to the group’s success.

Timeliness and accuracy are imperative if crucial customer delivery dates are to be met. It was therefore quickly recognised when the group’s older, unsupported solutions became unreliable and an increasing level of in-house IT resource was required to maintain them, that the company could not afford for EDI issues to impact its customer service.

The decision was subsequently made to look for a group-wide EDI solution that was delivered as a fully managed EDI service.

The company were faced with the challenge of either upgrading to the latest managed service offering from their existing long term EDI provider or investigating the market for a new provider.

After careful analysis the decision was made to look for a new provider.

More Supported

The Fresca businesses required a fully managed EDI service that would provide the accuracy, stability and visibility required to deliver the highest level of service to their retail customers, whilst reducing the cost to the business.

It was crucial for Fresca that the chosen provider offered an excellent level of support, was capable of handling the volume and complexities of their EDI traffic and was able to seamlessly migrate them over to the new platform.

The decision was made to move to a fully managed EDI service to ensure the continued delivery of a consistently high level of service to our customers.

Following a rigorous selection process, we chose TrueCommerce for its tried and tested managed service that would allow us to focus on our core business.” said Jason King, Senior Systems Analyst at Fresca Group.

“TrueCommerce’s experience in transitioning clients from an existing on premise solution was a key factor in our decision and TrueCommerce were able to offer real life examples of migrating similar companies onto its platform.”

Fresca moved to TrueCommerce’s fully managed EDI service, OneTime, to communicate more effectively with their customers, improve visibility of supply chain information, reduce the drain on internal resources, and increase the speed of responding to changing customer requirements.

The scope of the project was to transition the purchase order management process with 11 key customers from the company’s incumbent EDI solutions to the TrueCommerce platform.

TrueCommerce’s implementation specialists handled the complete on boarding process – including mapping, testing and training – migrating one trading partner at a time to the TrueCommerce platform. As with all EDI projects that involve a transition from one solution to another, it was imperative that a minimal risk approach was taken.

As part of the fully managed service delivered by TrueCommerce this included a period of hyper care managed by a dedicated team during and after the transition to ensure there were no disruptions to service.

“With companies such as Sainsbury’s amongst its client base we felt confident that TrueCommerce had the knowledge and expertise to on-board a company of our size and stature and were sensitive to our apprehension in switching providers.” added King.

More Prepared for What’s Next

The transition from numerous on-premise EDI solutions to TrueCommerce’s fully managed EDI service has provided Fresca businesses with a stable, scalable platform for future growth without the risk of IT purchases, maintenance costs and upgrade issues.

The companies benefit from TrueCommerce’s managed service team who look after the day-to-day running and change management on their behalf, allowing their IT department to focus on other key initiatives, whilst still having the ability to respond quickly and efficiently to customer requirements.

The fresh produce sector is a particularly fast moving and demanding environment, therefore accurate and efficient electronic trading is essential. Fresca businesses need to ensure their products are processed and supplied within hours and cannot afford for order processing errors and delays to occur.

The benefit to Fresca of TrueCommerce’s EDI service is that in addition to the automated alerts that are available in TrueCommerce’s EDI solution, the TrueCommerce team proactively monitor the platform for additional message validation failures and errors.

Where possible an immediate fix is implemented, which means that in many cases issues are resolved before they even reach Fresca. A 24 x7 help desk is also available to Fresca businesses and their customers should issues arise.

“Fresca places a high importance on lean structures and operations across all its businesses and IT solutions form a key aspect in the company’s quest to maximise efficiency.” said Jason King, Senior Systems Analyst at Fresca Group.

“Since moving to TrueCommerce’s EDI managed service we have benefited from a single EDI platform for all divisions within the group, which has hugely reduced the amount of in-house IT resource required to support EDI on a day to day basis.”

“With TrueCommerce clients including both suppliers and retailers TrueCommerce have an excellent understanding of both sides of the supply chain.” said Matt Wilcock, Sales Executive at TrueCommerce.

“This full ‘end to end’ involvement enabled the on-boarding of all Fresca EDI partners in a timely and planned process and continues to provide Fresca businesses with improved levels of visibility and efficiency across their customer facing supply chain.”