Hannah Food Service: Business System Proves its Worth in Scalability, Efficiency and Incredible Growth

Diane Harvey
Updated on

Hannah Food Service is a family run business which has been serving the food service sector for over 35 years.  Based in Skelmersdale, West Lancashire, Hannah Food Service supplies foods to a wide range of catering outlets, including fish and chip shops and pizza retailers. With a turnover of over £18 million and sixty seven staff, the company now also offers food services to schools, hospitals and care homes. Started from a freezer in the back of a house thirty-nine years ago, Hannah Foods moved into a purpose-built 40,000 square foot warehouse in 2008, which currently stocks just under 4,000 product lines.

In 2003 Hannah Food Service started to experience explosive growth. Eleven years later, the business is continuing to expand at an annual growth rate of 20%.

However, with such immense growth, Hannah Food Service started to experience problems with the existing system, which it had been using since 2007, as Anthony Whiteside, General Manager, explains. “We had been using the system for about four years”, he says, “and initially it met our needs reasonably well. But, as the number of products and volume of transactions grew, it started creaking at the seams and response times were becoming completely unacceptable. It was clear we needed a new system.”

Why SAP Business One for Hannah Food Service?

After an initial meeting, where Anthony was given an overview of the SAP Business One application, Signum arranged a more detailed demonstration.

“I had never heard of SAP Business One”, says Anthony, “but I liked what I saw at the initial meeting and thought it was worth exploring further.”

The fact that the company would soon be moving to a new, purpose-built warehouse, with a pallet capacity ten times larger than the existing facilities, meant that effective stock control was a key requirement for the new system. “The old system, which was predominantly an accounting package, only had very basic stock control, but people in the warehouse knew where everything was”, explains Anthony. “With so much extra capacity we needed the system to drive the picking and packing process.”

The second demonstration went well. Afterwards Anthony met with his staff and Hannah Foods’ directors. The decision was unanimous – everyone agreed SAP Business One was the application the company needed.

“Signum’s technical people did a very good demonstration”, says Anthony. “We could see that SAP would not only do what we wanted it to do, but that it was capable of expanding as we did. We felt comfortable we would not outgrow it.”

Benefits for Hannah Food Service

Since SAP Business One went live stock control has improved considerably. “We can now obtain reports about stock usage, which enables us to anticipate demand more accurately”, says Anthony. “I would estimate that we have been able to reduce our stock holding by 30-40%.”

“The report writing features in the application are very powerful and Signum helped us write some special reports”, says Anthony. “Now we are alerted to potential stock shortages before they affect us. The system also automatically provides purchasing with replenishment lists, complete with the supplier contact and pricing details. Previously, this would all have been done manually using spreadsheets.”

“The picking and packing functionality of the system has really been thought through well, the system tracks the end-to-end process, increasing efficiency and reducing the possibility of errors”, says Anthony. “It’s also extremely flexible. It’s so easy to combine orders for multiple customers onto one vehicle, which is important to us.

“In fact, SAP Business One now drives the whole sales process using daily deliveries and run numbers. “The telemarketing team knows which day of the week to call each customer and their normal delivery day”, explains Anthony. “Order processing knows on which day and run number the customer delivery will be made.”

5 Years Later

“Turnover before we implemented SAP was at around £5million” says Anthony, “Now we’re turning over double that.”  Staffing has also expanded – going from 35 members of staff in 2009 to 67 in 2014.

Perhaps the greatest statistic is the difference in the amount of product lines.  From 600 in 2009 to just under 4,000 now, the number of product lines Hannah Food Service is able to offer to a much larger and more diverse customer base has increased by over 500%.

Commenting on how SAP Business One made the transition into Food service a much easier one, Anthony says: “The system allowed us to expand very comfortably and it has been easy to set up lots more product lines and groups.”

Why Signum Solutions?

From not having heard of SAP Business One, Anthony is now very enthusiastic about the application. “I think it’s awesome”, he says. “The controls are right and it has brought benefits to all areas of our business.”

Anthony is equally enthusiastic about the help Hannah Food Service has received from Signum. “Signum’s staff are fantastic people, very thorough and always willing to help us. They are continually working with us to enable us to gain the maximum benefit from the system, which is essential for a growing business like ours.”


Read the full case study.

To learn more about Hannah Food Service, please visit the company website www.hannahfoods.co.uk



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