Industry: Retail, Food and Beverage
For over 125 years, Gordon Food Service (GFS) has been delivering high-quality food service products and services to its customers. What once began as a butter and egg delivery business in Grand Rapids, MI is now the largest family-owned food distributor in North America, servicing everything from restaurants and retail to universities and healthcare. A lot has changed for Gordon Food Service since its founding in 1897, but one thing certainly hasn’t: its commitment to the people they serve.
Gordon Food Service has a mature Procurement team that had implemented a Procurement suite and a homegrown analytical solution, “which was our fancy way of saying an Excel spreadsheet,” shares Kelvin DeVries, Strategic Procurement Technology Manager at GFS. The team quickly outgrew these tools as the inaccuracies and inefficiencies they faced—despite these solutions—were ultimately holding GFS’s Procurement team back from delivering their full potential.
“At any given time, we might be sourcing 500 unique items across 15 distribution centers, sourced from 20 different suppliers. Thinking about manually trying to award all those items while taking into consideration each supplier proposal and the soft factors that are important to our business… it’s enough to make your eyes gloss over,” explains Kelvin.
One of GFS’s greatest pain points with their toolset was the immense amount of effort it took to manually analyze large amounts of tender data in Excel and to refresh their analysis during negotiations. “It was not uncommon to take a 1-2 hour break during live negotiations with suppliers while an analyst uploaded a new bid and reran the analytics” says Kelvin.
Manual analysis of large amounts of tender data in Excel and painstakingly slow data refreshes ate up their time and distracted them from more value-adding tasks. As the team and the organization continued to grow, they realized that their manual way of working was not going to suffice.
The Excellence team at GFS got to work seeking out a new solution. GFS needed a tool that could rise to the occasion: a flexible solution that could grow with their changing needs and gear them up for sustainable success. “Our list of wants became very exhaustive” shares Kelvin, “but at the end of the day what we were really searching for was a solution that could streamline our user’s day-to-day experience - an analytical tool that could guide our users through their data.”
Archlet’s analytical foundation, commitment to the end-user, and holistic decision-making capabilities promised to not only enhance GFS’s current state, but also lead their business forward into the future. “From the beginning, we could tell that Archlet was right in line with our aspirations.”
Gordon Food Service has successfully applied Archlet’s analytics and scenario optimization across 50+ events to streamline its Procurement team’s day-to-day operations and improve the agility and quality of its decision-making. This has resulted in some transformative improvements in how Procurement operates.
With Archlet’s automated tender analysis and quick, real-time refreshes, Gordon Food Service is now able to enter negotiations faster and complete them in half the time. That means GFS analysts can spend less time maintaining the tool and more time evaluating bids, identifying savings opportunities, and contributing to the organization’s overall procurement strategy.
An important part of GFS’s overall procurement strategy is taking a holistically minded approach. When making award decisions, price is and will always be important to GFS, but working capital, payment terms, distance to the distribution center, and relevancy in the market all run in parallel with product cost. With Archlet, data that was previously unused or hard to quantify can now be included in their decision process.
GFS can create better insights by analyzing award scenarios that include these types of non-commercial data points, and act on them as they try to make the best decisions for their organization. “With Archlet we are able to leverage their powerful built-in AI to consider our business constraints and desires. The tool helps guide our users to the right sourcing decision, knowing that it’s factoring in everything that is important to our organization” explains Kelvin.
“Archlet has never lost sight of their end-user… it’s a commitment both of our organizations share. It’s something you can feel throughout the user experience. But more than that you can tell that Archlet genuinely cares about our business and its continued success” Kelvin shares.