Premier Fruits is the UK’s largest independent wholesaler and supplier of fresh fruit, vegetables, exotics and salads. Based in New Covent Garden Market, the company covers London and Southern England, supplying a wide range of products that includes everything from apples and pears through to pecan nuts, quince, dragon fruit and curly kale. Originally based in Western International Market, before moving to New Covent Garden, Premier Fruits has grown over its 16 years in business to cover nine units at its south London site, employing some 50 members of staff.
For its first 14 years in business, Premier Fruits relied on a hugely time-consuming manual system for its record keeping, invoicing and order processing, where staff members would write out tickets, check weights and update the purchase ledger. Convinced of the need to move to a fully-computerised solution, managing director Jason Tanner began looking for a system that could free up employees from administrative duties, so they could concentrate on more productive tasks.
However, as a company that works as both a wholesale and catering supplier, Premier Fruits required a solution that could meet all of its needs both now and in the future.
Since moving over to Freshware in 2014, Tanner says there has been a marked change for the better in the way Premier Fruits does business, although he admits that updating the company’s working methods was not without its challenges.
“I was a bit dubious about going to a fully-automated computerised system,” he says. “It was very hard work for the first six-12 months, getting people to change the ways they did things and to trust the system, but three years down the line – and we’ve got salesmen ranging from 18 to 62 years old – and not one salesman would go back to writing tickets out.”
Rather than eliminating jobs, Tanner says having Freshware in place has made Premier Fruits more efficient as a company, enabling employees to spend time on tasks of benefit to the business rather than having to deal with paperwork. “I said to my staff, ‘the aim is not to get rid of you, the aim is to make the company more efficient,’ and that is what we have succeeded in doing,” he explains.
As an all-in-one solution, Tanner says Freshware provided to be the best option available on the market. “Freshware was the best on everything from the selling side to the accounts programme to just to the ease of use, and when you wanted to make an alteration, Affinitus was there and willing to do it,” he says.
More recently, Premier Fruits has also implemented Chefserve, and Tanner says the system has immediately demonstrated its benefits. “On the catering side, we have just rolled out the scales – the system is interlinked with the scales and that has probably saved us four to five hours a night of one person’s role, which was just doing weight changes. Now, the system automatically updates it and that’s been a tremendous success,” he explains.