Food producer stops rivals biting at its customer base


Food producer stops rivals biting at its customer base

Will Hadfield

Food producer IAWS has cut the proportion of UK customers it loses to its rivals by using a business intelligence application to identify trade it is in danger of losing.

Speaking last week at Lawson software's annual conference in San Diego, company CIO Cormac Watters said IAWS had begun using Qliktech's Qlikview tool to alert its salesforce when customers stopped ordering its goods.

Often, this happened because the company's rivals had targeted its customers with introductory offers on key products.

"In the area of customer churn in the UK, we can see which customers we are at risk of losing. With this tool we can direct our salesforce to target those customers. Doing this, we have reduced customer churn in the UK by something like 33%," said Watters.

Some 60% of IAWS' UK business comes from sales of partly cooked bakery products to cafes, such as loaves of bread and pain au chocolat. The food producer has a greater turnover in the UK than in any other country.

IAWS has a 30-strong UK sales force that is using Qlikview to interrogate the data held in its enterprise resource planning system, Lawson's M3 Enterprise Management system.

Watters said, "All Qlikview's processing happens in the Ram, and that means we can read our sales history for three years. It does not have this lengthy overnight queue-building that you have in most business intelligence applications."

IAWS said it was able to implement Qlikview only because it had spent the past two years standardising the business processes it had configured in M3.

And Watters added that the salesforce could be trained more quickly than in the past because IAWS had used M3 to standardise call centre business processes.

The system provides the telesales staff with a list of customers to call and an assortment of products tailored to each customer.

IAWS has also standardised the business processes in all 14 of its warehouses globally, enabling it to go live with radio frequency picking at every site this month.

At the warehouses that have already gone live with radio frequency picking, the company is fulfilling 99% of its customers' orders.

The radio frequency project cost £5m over two years, with return on investment anticipated within four years and three months.

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