Williamson Foodservice is a family owned and operated business based in Inverness with depots in Stornoway and Glasgow. Specialising in fresh and chilled food and drink they operate a temperature controlled fleet of 36 trucks which services the hospitality and retail industries throughout the North of Scotland and Western Isles.
“We have been customers of Affinitus for many years” commented Gary Williamson, CEO “originally with the MarketMaster solution, and then upgrading to ChefServe some 5 years ago”.
ChefServe underpins Willamson’s Order Processing, Purchasing, Inventory, Warehousing and Distribution facilities. It is a complete ERP system enabling the business by integrating all operations creating ‘one version of the truth’.
“Fast order entry and fast order turnround are key to food service” observed Gary “if we can’t provide it, someone else will, so having timely and accurate data for decision making is key for us, and that is what ChefServe delivers”.
The company have some 40 users on the system and have recently added the Customer Web Portal to enable customers to place orders online. “The portal is proving useful as it reduces the number of in-bound calls” confirmed Gary “so enabling our tele sales team to focus more on outbound/market-building calls to driving growth in the business”.
Fresh produce is a big part of the Williamsom’s food service business, “We offer a range of food stuffs to our customers including dairy, seafood, soft drinks, wines and spirits, cakes, but fresh produce accounts for about 45% so Affinitus’s track record in ‘Fresh ERP’ is a definite benefit”.
Like many food service companies, the business is heavily reliant on tourism, and has naturally been affected by the Covid19 pandemic.
“Without the pandemic we have a painfully short season; essentially every investment we make costs twice as much as we only have a 6 month year!” commented Williamson “Come October the weather and short days mark an end to our tourist season. Our business is built on people eating away from home, and lockdown has meant we have had to create new business models to survive. We have seen a growth in other markets as our competitors shut down, including direct sale to consumers. We have launched ‘Ness Valley’, our own direct sale customer portal, and that has been successful for us. We have also seen an increase in orders from the NHS and business with the oil service vessels and drilling platforms. We fully expect these to slow down over the coming weeks as business starts to return to normal, but in recent weeks these new markets have helped us a great deal ”.
Scotland re-opens on July 15th, and there are signs of life as hotels and restaurants start to gear up for an 8 week summer period.
“ChefServe does what we need it to do” concluded Williamson “and we rely on it to run our business. There are extra features we would like to see in the product, but I know Affinitus are always investing and working on new versions”.