Integrating digital technology into wholesale businesses is crucial to continuing success in today’s competitive environment, but finding an IT partner who understands the needs of the sector is as important as choosing the right solution.
Business Computer Projects Ltd (BCP) is a leading supplier of business software solutions to wholesalers and foodservice businesses across the UK and Ireland, with a track record spanning four decades of helping these businesses achieve their long-term goals. These days BCP’s solutions cover everything from finance and warehouse management through to ecommerce.
Andy Pratt, Business Development Executive at BCP speaks to Wholesale Manager.
“We are best known for our Accord system, which gives end-to-end supply chain coverage. Combining back-end ERP solutions with voice-enabled warehouse management, Accord provides wholesalers with complete visibility, traceability and reporting of their entire business. What makes Accord unique is that we have incorporated our 40 years’ experience of working with wholesalers into the software and provide sector-specific solutions.”
BCP doesn’t just provide the kit, they offer a full service and work closely with customers to help them get the full benefit. Andy explains:
“Our dedicated customer service approach combines project management, operational engagement, account management and frequent business reviews, to ensure we maintain a high level of synergy with customers. We work with a wide range of people across our customers’ businesses, not just the IT team. We aim to agree clear success criteria, defined outcomes and timeframes suitable for everyone to make sure every project is a complete success.”
Building on the success of Accord, BCP launched an ecommerce platform last year called Oporteo, taking BCP’s offering to another level:
“Oporteo represents our major investment and commitment to helping B2B businesses embrace the challenges of ecommerce and digital transformation. It is specifically designed for wholesalers and includes industry-specific features for those working in the food and drink industries.”
The wholesale sector has welcomed the new platform with open arms, says Andy: “The uptake of Oporteo has been excellent. The combination of a user-friendly interface and selling tools you find in leading retail websites, with out-of-the box industry functionality, is helping to drive market leaders across the sector.”
To provide further digital support, BCP has launched Oporteo PIM to make life easier for wholesale distributors who have to manage ever increasing amounts of product data. Wholesalers’ product ranges are extending, and so is the diversity of product data they need to handle due to the demands of new sales channels and increasing regulatory requirements.
“Businesses can no longer just hold basic product details, they need customer friendly descriptions, classification, imagery, attributes, nutrition, allergens and more. The effort and cost needed to collect and manage all this information is becoming an overwhelming challenge for many.”
Oporteo PIM is a product information management system that consolidates all this product data into a central hub, making it a simpler and more efficient way for companies to manage, maintain and distribute product information, wherever it is needed. Oporteo PIM removes the need for all the additional spreadsheets, databases and filing systems that are used to work around these challenges.
Like BCP’s Accord supply chain solution Oporteo PIM is unique because it has been designed around the specific needs of the wholesale market.
“Our 40 years’ experience within the sector has enabled us to develop the required functionality into a standard packaged product, offering a close fit at a much lower costs than typical product information management solutions.”
One of the key features of Oporteo PIM is its total flexibility. Businesses can define whatever data fields they want and the type of data they want to record, including text, numbers, images, videos, documents or barcodes.
To help make it easier for people to maintain product data, the system includes integrated management features and workflow processes. This means it will recognise and report, for example, if legally required information is missing.
Oporteo PIM is aimed at any business that has an extensive product range and is equally of value for the wholesale and retail sectors. Oporteo PIM improves businesses’ agility by being free of their ERP system and reducing time to market:
“Wholesalers are continually required to comply with ever-changing rules and regulations, for example, the allergen regulations and the need to communicate this information to customers. Oporteo PIM can hold this information in a reliable and secure place, which can then be published to all the sales and communication channels. This information is generally obtained from external sources such as suppliers, manufacturers and third party data sources, but Oporteo PIM’s import features ensure the collection process is simple and efficient. “
Other benefits Oporteo PIM provides include reduced operational costs, high data quality and the security of business essential information. The core ERP systems many wholesalers currently use are limited in their ability to hold the diverse range of information, whereas Oporteo PIM is designed specifically for product information:
“If a business wants to open a foreign language website, for example, you simply need to set up new fields to hold foreign language product descriptions and send that to the appropriate website.”
BCP launched Oporteo PIM at the ecommerce expo at Olympia at the end of September, where it got a great response from attendees. Andy recalls:
“The key benefit people were most interested in was the improved business agility and the ability to quickly amend product data. Many people explained to us that they had to manually update their product data across multiple systems and spreadsheets, which is very time consuming and costly for them. Most weren’t aware that a solution like Oporteo PIM existed, so the fact it is a central hub that holds everything they need was very appealing.”
And BCP aren’t stopping there:
“We see digital technology and the associated digital transformation for the wholesale sector as a major growth area and strive to ensure our solutions are always ahead of changing business and market conditions. We have a strong investment programme in further developing our digital solutions portfolio, with further advancements planned for both Oporteo PIM and Oporteo Ecommerce.”