Italpane is a wholesale distributor, purchasing from a network of 15 bakeries and supplying over 400 freshly baked gourmet products to their customers.
Mark knew straight away that he wanted to do things differently, and use technology to transform his business.
“When I bought this business everything was done over the phone. That first year was just hell. 150 orders would come in over a three hour period in the afternoon. Sometimes you couldn’t hear them correctly. There were data entry mistakes every day. It was a nightmare.”
Changing the ordering process was the first port of call. “When I looked at buying the business, I thought ‘this is easy to fix with online ordering.’ So I searched for what was out there, found Ordermentum, and got in touch with Adam and Andrew when they were first starting out. I had a meeting and said ‘if you guys are going to do this, this and this, I’m going to buy this business.”
Another great benefit is that his sales team can have much more productive conversations with customers. “My staff have more time to go and see customers, and are able to say ‘Hi’ in a friendly way, rather than only communicating ‘Sorry we stuffed up.’”
His operations staff have embraced Ordermentum too. “Our operations manager used to spend hours doing data entry, now his job is really easy. He loves it. His job description has changed a bit, so now part of his role is to go and make sure people are ordering through ordermentum and when they start leaving voice messages again, making sure they get back online again.”
And one surprise perk? The stress levels of his staff! “It’s really de-stressed our operations manager a lot. It was really stressful before, all the data entry and getting those orders in before 3:30 every day. He often felt responsible for mistakes, even though usually it was a customer getting their own orders wrong.”
With ordering solved, Mark turned to payments. Despite orders coming in smoothly, customer relationships improving and data entry issues reduced, Italpane was still losing a lot of money from unpaid invoices. “I lost $80,000 in two years from non payment. It’s a lot of bread.”
Using Ordermentum gave Italpane the ability to charge upfront for orders, using Direct Debit or Credit Card. “Every new customer, I’m slowly changing to be paid through Ordermentum.”
Mark took a hard line with anyone not wanting to switch to upfront payment.” I’ve literally said ‘See you later, I’m not interested in dealing with you.’ It’s a big risk but it’s also short term pain for the long term gain.” Sales numbers dipped initially, but losses from unpaid bills were instantly eliminated - “We’re only just now starting to get the numbers that we were getting when I bought the business. I’ve weeded out the customers who weren’t paying, so it’s not really a loss even if sales numbers are a little lower.”
Mark sees a big change on the horizon for the industry, with more people embracing both new technology and new ways of paying. “It’s about the younger generation coming through. Those people in their 20s now are taking over cafes, they are happy to pay on the spot. They don’t want month long accounts like the older generation. Ordermentum is getting more well known in the market, so more retailers are comfortable now with online orders. And when they have multiple suppliers on the platform, they really embrace it.”
“It just de-stresses your life and makes it easier.”
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