Mid-Market Food Ingredient Distributor COO Leverages Technology to Transform Business

May 09, 2018

IT Plays Critical Role in Successful Supply Chain Implementation

A company partnered with BDO Digital to carry out a systematic overhaul of their supply chain software. Driven by both their company standards and those set forth by their customers, they recognized the importance of leveraging the latest technology to work more efficiently and meet the needs of their customers.

After undergoing a significant business transforamtion, the company was able to standardized processes and documentation across a network of more than 30 warehouses and nearly 500 vendors. The COO of the company, believes his responsibilities over both Operations and IT has been critical in driving growth and innovation and achieving competitive advantage as a mid-market leader in the distribution industry.

The company's continued commitment to technology innovation has paid serious dividends for the business. This investment, driven by tight collaboration between technology and business leadership, has allowed the company to be at the forefront of IT trends.

“It has been a real game-changer for us,” COO says. “Being on the leading edge of technology has enabled us to increase our distribution, improve our quality and customer service, and stay far ahead of the regulatory curve — all of which has enabled exponential growth.”

The COO recently explained the company’s initiatives during a presentation that was part of Loyola University’s Supply and Value Chain Center (SVCC) Breakfast Series.

“Certainly, as a COO it’s important for me to understand and drive how we’re using technology to improve operations by reducing sources of waste and improving efficiency,” COO says.
“Likewise, it’s critical for me to consider technology solutions that fuel our growth and improve our customer’s experience. It’s critical that I bring these solutions to our leadership team and actively participate in key business discussions.”

Managed Services Ensures Business Value

The company also represents the trend of a growing number of mid-market companies utilizing managed services.

“One of the keys to our success has been realizing that we cannot afford to do it all ourselves, nor do we have the breadth of support or expertise needed to keep up in today’s fast-paced tech world,” says COO.

Working with BDO Digital, the company has aligned its business and IT strategy, taking on IT projects that enable flexibility, scalability, and value. This effort includes migrating many of their data elements into a cloud-based system and leveraging data analytics solutions in a way that guides business decisions.

The changes have created a powerful force of efficiency within the company: those elements include improved standardization, resource utilization, and streamlined order processes, COO says. “It has dramatically increased distribution capacity, enhanced order and service quality for customers and differentiated our company from the competition.”

The company is a distributor of a varied mix of food ingredients, ranging from dairy sweeteners to cooking wine and soluble fibers. The company started as Chicago Sweeteners in 1979 founded by Abel Friedman. It later became a nationwide distributor.

Since their supply chain overhaul, the company launched a new line of business in a state-of-the-art distribution facility in Wilmington, Ill., which provides third-party logistics services to key suppliers and is bringing new jobs to Chicago.