The west-country based food wholesaler has also realised significant improvements in customer service including newly introduced dispatch notes and ePODs. These have contributed to faster and more accurate invoicing and a significant reduction in credit notes.
“I started looking for a system to help reduce the time it took to train new drivers as before they were partnered with an existing driver for 3 or 4 days in order to learn the ropes. While this worked, it wasn’t efficient and it also meant that potentially bad habits were simply being propagated,” commented Forest Produce’s founder and Managing Director, Tony Quick. “However, from my first conversation with Podfather I was astonished; not only did they have a solution for my original requirement they immediately started offering resolutions for problems I thought were unsolvable.”
Since implementing the Podfather system, Forest Produce has seen a 75 per cent reduction in the time take to train new delivery drivers. What used to take days, learning processes and individual routes, now takes just a few hours getting to know the business and learning how to use Podfather. Back-office admin and support teams are also realising efficiency gains through the use of the system resulting in a saving of around 40 hours a week.
“The hospitality sector is facing unprecedented skills shortages and, as we are constantly expanding, we are constantly trying to recruit,” Quick added. “Using Podfather we are able to be more efficient with the resource we have which allows us to respond to this challenge.”
Using Podfather, Forest Produce is also building on its green credentials having introduced a zero to landfill policy from the start. From day one with Podfather, Forest halved the amount of paper it produced daily with electronic delivery notes and will shortly be digitising its pick notes with the introduction of barcodes. Additional green savings have been achieved with intelligent route planning and vehicle usage, resulting in fewer miles travelled, and Forest has now introduced its first all-electric vehicle to its fleet.
Forest Produce has also boosted customer service with newly introduced Dispatch Notes. Using Podfather, customers are alerted to any differences between goods they have ordered and those actually dispatched before the vans have even left the depot allowing them to respond and adjust the day’s service accordingly. ePOD notes, including in-box photos that are date / time stamped, are also reducing customer queries, especially in the case of dead-drops (when no customer is present). Whilst real-time updates from the drivers allows for timely removal of refused substitutes, improving the accuracy and speed of invoicing and reducing the number of credit notes being issued.
“Podfather aligns so closely with our company values and ethos it has been more of a partner in our journey rather than just a tech-supplier,” Quick concluded. “So much so that drivers who were, shall we say ‘reticent’ about its introduction now say they simply could cope without it!”
Forest Produce was established 2003, started by Tony Quick, his wife, a farmer, who financially backed the business, one van and one driver. Fast forward twenty years the company now employees 45 members of staff and operates 16 delivery vehicles making an average of 2,000 deliveries a week. With a focus on reliability, quality and integrity, together with an understanding and appreciation of innovation and value, Tony also cites a naked man in white wellies and a bad-ass Spaniard as helping to shape the Forest journey!