Smoothie-maker innocent is speeding up its expansion into Europe with the help of a managed electronic data interchange (EDI) service from Inovis.
Ben Tuppen, innocent UK's logistics manager, said the firm did not have the internal expertise to support the fast roll-out of the business into seven new regions, so it turned to customer relationship management supplier Inovis.
"We had the (DOS-based) Atlas/Masterlink EDI system, which ran in a box at the back of the room," said Tupper. "That was fine for the UK and Ireland, but we needed greater expertise to help us take on new customers quickly and let us get on with the business."
Continental markets for innocent's smoothies and juices are Germany, France, the Benelux, the Alpine countries of Switzerland and Austria, and Scandinavia. Tuppen said innocent is trying to keep a good balance of independent retailers and multiple stores because that matches its history and cultural fit.
But it needed a partner that could cope with both the very small retailer as well as the national giants. Inovis now handles all customer take-on and training and ensures that trade documents pass between the two parties securely and consistently.
Innocent has about a dozen recipes that it packages into different containers to create some 80 stock keeping units (Skus) that the system must recognise. "We are just exchanging purchase orders and delivery notes at present, and the delivery note drives our invoicing system," Tuppen said.
It may increase the number of Skus and documents on the system. "We have an 'all you can eat' contract with Inovis," Tuppen said. This means its costs per new customer are fixed for the three year contract, no matter what enhancements innocent wants. "We are talking about more data flows now," Tuppen said.
Innocent began installing Inovis in August last year and by September was running live. "It was essential that we took only a month to get up and running to meet the schedule of one of our big customers," Tuppen said.