Following its recent acquisitions of forecourt and convenience distributor GAP and Clayton Park Bakery, Spar wholesaler James Hall & Co has replaced IT systems in both companies with BCP’s Accord Distribution solution to deliver business synergies and operational transparency across its new expanded business.
James Hall is one of the UK’s top 20 grocery delivered wholesalers, servicing 500 independent and company owned stores across North West England from its modern, purpose built DC on the outskirts of Preston.
The acquisitions in 2013 were prompted by James Hall’s aim to improve the breadth and depth of its offering to its customers. GAP Convenience Distribution specialises in the distribution of brand leading products to the national and independent forecourt and convenience market, with a traditional focus on motor accessories and, more recently, also toys and foodservice. Clayton Park is a specialist baker of cakes, bread and pies. Customers comprise of both retail and foodservice outlets, the latter including several well know professional sports clubs – Blackburn Rovers FC, Liverpool FC, Everton FC, Lancashire CC and Sale Sharks RC, to name a few. Both companies continue to supply their own customers as well as now supplying James Hall’s Spar customer base.
IT systems were already in use at both companies, but James Hall wanted to standardise systems across its business in order to streamline efficiency and gain transparency across all operations.
As both new business units operate in highly competitive market sectors, where Telesales is key to driving new business, the roll out of Accord to both operations included Accord’s market leading Telesales module in addition to the purchasing, sales order processing and ledger functionality operating at James Hall. In addition, the GAP implementation included Accord’sVoice WMS, which has proved so successful at James Hall.
Implementations were planned to ensure there was no interruption to service to customers, Clayton Park Bakery going live overnight earlier this year while GAP went live over the course of a weekend in 2013, a full stock take being undertaken to ensure stock figures in the new Accord Voice WMS were accurate from the start.
James Hall now has three different businesses, each with differing business models, operating on a single integrated platform and network, managed and supported centrally. While GAP and Clayton Park still operate to a large extent autonomously, there is business-wide transparency and seamless interaction across all operations, so both their own and SPAR customers can be successfully serviced with relevant products from each division and growth in all areas easily supported.
Going forward, James Hall is already looking at additional Accord functionality for GAP and Clayton Park Bakery to meet their differing business requirements. Mobile/web ordering functionality is already on trial for both companies while Kitting is on the agenda for GAP and more extensive manufacturing functionality under review for Clayton Park Bakery.
Dominic Hall, IT director, James Hall, said: “The acquisition of GAP and Clayton Park Bakery has broadened the range we can supply to our own retail customers to help them compete successfully in an ever more competitive convenience market, as well as opening up new markets for us. However, we needed to standardise IT systems to provide a solid basis for successful operation and future growth. It’s early days yet, but, Accord is, as anticipated, proving well up to the job and will scale up easily to handle expansion in all divisions.”