How Emma & Tom’s created a winning distribution system

Posted by Tom Griffith on 22nd October 2018

PEOPLE are happier when they are healthier – so if you eat well, you stay well, Tom Griffith, co-founder of Emma & Tom’s told Australian Food News.

The Emma & Tom’s brand was born, quite deliberately, as a way of turning the potential weakness of being a small company into the strength of being a company run by real people. How we manage our distribution reflects this approach.

Emma & Tom’s started off using distributors, but we quickly recognised that this led to a lack of control over deliveries – and over the customer experience. We lived in constant fear when the phone rang that it was going to be another issue, like a case of fermented juice being delivered to a customer.

We knew we wanted to have more control over our delivery and customer service, so we made the bold decision to bring distribution back in-house.

While the costs we incurred doing this were higher, our new distribution model provided an opportunity to sell, deliver, and merchandise our products on each customer visit, and continuously improve customer relationships.

The changes also meant that customers could receive invoices on-the-spot. Stock could be sold on a sale or return basis. The increased contact with customers strengthened relationships and has even helped our stockists to sell more. Weekly service visits conveyed reliability to our customers and facilitated strong sales results.


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Invest in clever technology

To manage the logistics of our distribution model we realised we needed to invest in clever technology. With a growing number of stock lines, multiple inventory locations, 45 delivery vans and over 3,500 stockists around the country, we needed to ensure our operations ran like a well-oiled machine.

We invested in a cloud ERP platform, JCurve ERP, which gave us stronger control over our entire business. It helped us to integrate and optimise our operations, allowed our workforce to be more flexible, scale the company as we grew, and provided cost-saving cloud benefits by eliminating the need for servers and ongoing updates.

Another challenge our ERP software solved was to manage our growing, high-volume accounting needs more effectively. It provided live P&L and balance sheet information and real-time visibility of sales, pricing, CRM, inventory, and other business-critical data.

As Emma & Tom’s continues to grow, we will keep investing in providing excellent customer service as we know this is what sets us apart; that and our quality product.

Part of this approach means we will keep managing our distribution in-house, but also look at further refining it to effectively support the business and our customers.