Foodpartner chose ERP

Let’s rewind to 2010: A new food supplier enters the market. Sokrates Kalderidis didn't just want to throw himself into the industry – he wanted to be the best in class. After many years working in the restaurant and food business, the entrepreneur knew one thing for a fact:

He needed to streamline every little financial and logistics process.

Sokrates Kalderidis, Founder and Managing Director at Foodpartner.

“It doesn't help to be experienced within the food industry if you don't know how to transport the products from A to B. I did market analyses, talked to people and read up to learn how to do this better than anyone else. I realised that the prerequisite was good systems”, he explains.

And best in class, you can perhaps say that he became. This is the story of the unstoppable food supplier. What makes him so utterly excited about ERP?

Punching, office hours and frustration.

Finding the perfect setup turned out to be a tricky one. In the first years, he tried several solutions but constantly encountered problems. It could be anything from manual handling of papers to warehouse errors. The common denominator was cumbersome logistics processes that ate up a lot of time.

“If I'm going to do something, I want to do it as automated as possible and with as little punching as possible. When I finish up one thing, I want to move on. In the old systems, I had to go back, move stuff around and punch numbers constantly”, he says.

Kalenderidis wanted to work differently, with a better overview of the flow of goods, purchasing and other logistics processes. ERP was on the table … but was the system well enough developed yet?

Kalenderidis had heard about ERP and contacted Visma partner Columbi to dig more into the functionality. He understood Visma invested heavily in the solution and immediately saw endless possibilities.

“I understood that Visma goes all-in on automation. That's what got me”

All steps in the logistics process could be automated and linked together with the bookkeeping. I realised I had to jump on the train straight away.”

Although there were some limitations, he also saw the potential. Kalenderidis caught what Visma was thinking and understood that “it’s going to be big”.

Screenshot from the ERP dashboard

“The screenshots were so simple. Intuitive, and everything connected with everything. Wow, I thought, this will get better and better.”

No turning back with an open API.

“When you integrate something with an older solution, you need an insane amount of adaptations. Even if the system is updated, you still have to build the functionality you need”, explains Kalenderidis.

He continues:

“You get a wound, have to plaster it, then you get another wound and have to plaster it again. I don’t want it like that! I want the system to work for me, not the other way around. So when I realised that ERP had an open API, there was no turning back.”

Went from 20 to 1 percent warehouse mispicks.

In the old system, even when they used handheld operating systems, the margin of error was often between 15–20 percent a week. Naturally, they spent a lot of time investigating the errors.

“Earlier, we had stock imbalance all the time. We always ended up having to do inventory corrections and update everything manually. This disturbed me! It wasn’t working out. Now it looks different. With handheld terminals from BX Software, talking directly to ERP, our mispick rate can be as low as 1 percent. We see the same huge difference in goods receipt. It’s a great relief for everyone. Now the balance is right, and there’s accuracy in receiving and picking!”

Orders automatically register as sales orders

Now that they’re in control of logistics, Foodpartner has also supplemented with a separate customer app – letting the orders automatically roll into the systems as sales orders.

“This is another advantage of an open API! The app was easy connect to ERP. The only thing we do now is looking over the sales orders. Nothing’s done manually. We’d rather spend our time on our customers, and the system allows that. I know that other food suppliers have similar solutions, but not all get the orders straight in as sales orders”, Kalenderidis explains.

And what do the customers think?

“The app is so simple and user-friendly that customers can order in just a couple of keystrokes. Thanks to AI and algorithms, it also calculates how much they need. Every time they add a product, it remembers and calculates for them. The only manual orders we get now are from the elderly who prefer to call in by phone.”

“It’s efficiency in capital letters. And a prerequisite for this to work is a system that can handle it. It's simply a win-win situation!”

Can grow by 20 percent a year

The Foodpartner founder estimates that other food suppliers of their size need more people in the administration to take care of manual tasks. Foordpartner, however, is now working so productively that they can get by with 2–3 resources in the administration.

“It’s solely due to the fact that I have a system that supports me and allows me to expand. ERP can help us grow by 20 percent a year”, he claims.

“During the pandemic I didn’t need to be at the warehouse or be in close contact with my colleagues. The same goes for the production environment – we trust the system for keeping us all up to date, without us having to shout at each other. There are many small things that make the system as a whole a success.”

Foodparner’s top 3 perks of ERP
Full automation

“The automation’s the greatest joy of them all. Everything flows from purchasing and goods receipt to invoicing and bookkeeping. Everything runs automatically, the only thing we do is look over it”

Running payroll quickly and safely

“There’s a lot of optimisation in payroll as well. All we do is press ‘next, next, next’, and then it’s all done. With the system being in the cloud, I can log in from anywhere, either on desktop or mobile. We have both fixed and variable wages, in addition to additional hours, overtime and billable hours. ERP covers all of this.”

“I’m simply happy”

“Who wants to work like a robot every day? The software is constantly developing, even things I haven’t thought of myself. I feel energised and just want to work more, find out more! It’s no longer a matter of ‘now I have to go and punch this and that’. I get to work and I’m simply happy!”

“If it doesn't exist today, it will tomorrow”

Kalenderidis is satisfied with weekly software updates, without him having to do anything – and without downtime.

“I’m very impressed with ERP. Every time I talk about developing something new with our Visma partner Columbi, they say ‘you're always happy’. And although not everything can be fixed and developed at once, I’m happy. It's because I have the best people backing me. Visma can be summed up like this: If it doesn't exist today, it will tomorrow.”

Foto: Trygve Sørli / WeMade

He pulls out an example from their neighbouring business, working with import.

“I’ve been over there before and talked about how ERP is the future, and wondered what they’re really doing. The answer has been that this or that has been difficult with the existing system.

But the enthusiasm of Sokrates Kalenderidis must have affected them somewhat.

“Yes, a month ago they called and wondered if we could perhaps show them how we are handling our processes in ERP? That’s fun. I hope we’ll see them on the right side soon. ERP makes everyday life easier, for both staff and customers. What’s holding them back?”

“A month ago they called and wondered if we could perhaps show them how we are handling our processes in ERP? That’s fun. I hope we’ll see them on the right side soon.”

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