Renzi Foodservice Case Study

Renzi Foodservice extends their ERP with custom budgeting, reporting, and mobile apps


Full Case Study

Who is Renzi Foodservice?

Renzi Foodservice is a Foodservice Distributor servicing areas throughout the Northeast. Established in 1977, they are one of the largest family-owned & operated Broad-line Foodservice Distributors in the Central New York region.

The Challenges

Renzi faced a common challenge. They relied on multiple systems—not all of which communicated with each other.

Renzi ran their business on a Retalix ERP system—a system designed for the foodservices industry. But, besides their ERP system, they also relied on a few other software packages, such as:

  • Powernet—software that lets their customers place orders online.
  • Powersell—software that lets their salespeople place orders while in the field.
  • Trackmax—software that lets them track manufacturer rebates.
  • BFC—software that lets them manage their warehouse.
While these systems helped Renzi run their business, they didn’t offer complete integration. As a result, Renzi faced a few challenges:

1. They had difficulty tracking "True Profit"
photo credit: PublicDomainPictures via pixabay cc

Each of their systems helped Renzi meet a specific need. But not all of them communicated with each other. They had difficulty integrating data from every source and delivering a clear view of their business.

Most importantly, tracking “True Profit” presented a challenge. In the foodservice industry, “True Profit Analysis” is a critical statistic. The “True Profit” of an item includes all costs and profits associated with each product, such as:

  • unit cost,
  • manufacturer rebates,
  • shelter income,
  • handling costs,
  • warehouse labor,
  • company overhead,
  • and more.

Without factoring in every cost/income associated with each product, determining profitability is impossible. With data points residing in different systems, tracking "True Profitability" was a difficult task.

2. Their reporting process wasted time

Reporting was also a time-consuming process. It required that they pull data from different systems and format/manipulate the data in Excel. Then, they emailed reports to users.

“Our reporting process easily required 8 hours a week, across multiple people,” says Paul Millard, Renzi’s IT Manager. “And that’s an underestimate.”

This time-consuming reporting process created another problem: It didn’t produce real-time reports. By the time they had pulled the data out of their systems and created the necessary reports, they were stuck with day-old or week-old data.

Millard wanted to automate their reporting process. “What I’m trying to do is provide timely, accurate, consistent reports and stop having users ask for a custom ad-hoc report every 5 minutes,” says Millard. “I want to provide them with the right set of information that they need in one spot.”

3. Budgeting was a month-long process

Renzi’s unique budgeting process is unlike other companies in the foodservice distribution industry. But, it’s effective, and it fits their business.

The problem with a unique budgeting process: They couldn’t buy an off-the-shelf budgeting solution. Renzi needed a way to create custom budgets that pulled data from many sources and tied into their ERP system.

However, Renzi’s current BI software provided “read-only” data access. It didn’t allow write-backs to the database. This meant they couldn’t create budgets through their system. The result: Budgeting was a manual, month-long process.

4. They had no mobile access to their data

Mobile data access was a growing need. Renzi’s sales team wanted access to real-time product data while on the road. Renzi’s executives also wanted access to reporting and budgeting data on their smartphones.

But, mobility wasn’t a built-in feature with their current ERP system. While their ERP provider offered a separate mobile module, it came with a $75,000 price tag.

Even if they did license the mobile module, it wouldn’t completely fix the problem. While it would provide mobile access to the ERP data, it wouldn’t give mobile access to their other systems. They needed a way to integrate data from different systems and make it accessible across any mobile device.

Solution

Renzi started their search for a solution with their ERP provider. Running on an older version of Retalix, they explored the option of upgrading to the latest version. But, they soon learned that the cost to upgrade to the latest version was $250,000.

Due to the cost and effort associated with an ERP upgrade, Renzi’s ownership decided to explore other options. They asked Millard to find a solution that would get more life out of their existing ERP system.

Millard soon discovered m-Power, the development platform created by mrc. After taking m-Power for a Test Drive, he soon realized that it met every requirement. With m-Power, Renzi could:

  1. Streamline reporting: m-Power offered powerful BI and reporting capabilities. It could pull data from multiple sources and integrate with their ERP system.
  2. Deliver custom budgeting: m-Power offered customized budgeting capabilities, which could integrate with their systems.
  3. Provide mobile access to their ERP data: m-Power automated mobile web application development. It let Renzi deliver ERP data access on any device.
  4. Deliver real-time data in a single location: m-Power also created secure employee portals. Employees could log in and access important data from a single location.
  5. Extend the life of their ERP system: m-Power let Renzi create web applications that integrated with the ERP data. That means they could augment their ERP with modern features, without replacing it.

Value

“We chose m-Power for its flexible Business Intelligence capabilities, but also realized that it offers a far more extensible platform as compared with other more specialized BI tools. With m-Power, we’ve consolidated our data into a secure web portal where each department can easily access the data and reports they require in seconds. We have utilized m-Power to extend capabilities of our existing Retalix ERP database—avoiding modification costs and giving us more bang for the buck.”
--Paul Millard, IT Manager at Renzi Foodservice

Renzi licensed m-Power, and began building solutions to meet their needs. In just a few months (with two employees, working part-time on the projects), they delivered a wide range of solutions. Most notably, Renzi:

Streamlined reporting, saving 8 hours every week

Renzi’s manual reporting process formerly required 8 hours of work every week. Using m-Power, Renzi created a wide variety of BI and reporting applications for their users. They placed these applications in a company-wide, employee portal.

Now, users no longer request reports from the IT department. They log in to the employee portal and access the reports and budgets they need. These applications pull data from multiple systems, and are available on-demand—whenever employees need them.

The portal includes role-based, and application-level security—just two of the security options that come with m-Power. This means that users from different departments can log in, but only see the data they’re authorized to view.

Automated their budgeting process
Renzi's web-based budgeting applications are available on-demand

With m-Power, Renzi finally had the tool they needed for their custom budgeting needs. Because it let them pull data from disparate systems, they can create budgets to their exact requirements.

The best part: Budgeting is now automatic. They transformed budgeting from a month-long project into on-demand applications. Whenever executives need to access the budget, they login through the portal.

Delivered “True Profit Analysis”

Because m-Power lets Renzi connect data from many systems, they now have a complete view of their financial data. For Renzi, this meant they can track one elusive statistic: “True Profit Analysis.”

Now, they can instantly view the true profitability of their products, routes, and customers. This gives them a clear view of their business, and helps them make fast, informed decisions.

Provided mobile ERP data access, avoiding the $75,000 module fee
Renzi's mobile apps let salespeople check inventory and executives access reports and budgets

Using m-Power, Renzi created mobile web applications for their sales team and executives. Users now access real-time data and analytics straight from their ERP, using any mobile device.

Now, executives can access reports and budgets from their phones. Because m-Power creates mobile web apps, they work across any smartphone or tablet. The best part: Mobile capabilities come standard with m-Power. This let them avoid the $75,000 cost for their ERP’s mobile module.

Extended the life of their ERP system, delaying a $250,000 upgrade

Using m-Power, Renzi breathed new life into their existing ERP system—allowing them to delay an expensive ERP upgrade. Now, they can augment their ERP with new applications and features, without altering the system at all.

Why is this important? Because m-Power doesn’t change the ERP system itself, it won’t keep them from taking future upgrades. Applications created over one ERP version will work with a new one.

The Value: Renzi’s cost/time savings with m-Power
Before After
8 hours/week in manual reporting m-Power automated Renzi’s reporting process
1 month in time spent on budgeting m-Power eliminated Renzi’s month-long budgeting process
$75,000 mobile module fee m-Power let Renzi avoid a $75,000 fee for a mobile module
$250,000 ERP upgrade fee m-Power let Renzi delay an expensive ERP upgrade

Future

While Renzi has already created an extensive list of applications, they have no plans of stopping. Going forward, Millard plans to:

  • Deliver even more reporting capabilities
  • Replace some of their existing systems: Millard plans to explore the option of replacing the capabilities offered by some of their existing systems with m-Power. If they go this route, Renzi will see a $25,000 annual savings in maintenance fees.
  • Deliver a customer portal: In the foodservice distribution industry, customer service is one of the only ways to gain a competitive advantage. Millard sees an opportunity to improve their customer service using m-Power. He plans to create a portal that will give their customers access to reports, inventory lookup, online ordering, and more.

Going forward, the future looks bright for Renzi Foodservice. They now have a platform that lets them address multiple issues, both now and in the future.

To learn more about Renzi Foodservice, you can visit their Web site at: http://www.renzifoodservice.com/

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