Having complete supply chain transparency offers numerous benefits to manufacturers and consumers, particularly when it comes to fresh produce.
With ‘food miles’ and sustainable farming practices becoming increasingly important to consumers, a manufacturer’s ability to accurately and reliably convey the journey from ‘field to fork’ has become essential.
It’s something that sits at very heart of Jupiter Marketing’s mission and is regarded as being fundamental to its continuing success. The Shropshire-based, family-run wholesale distributor specialises in grapes, apples, pears, citrus fruit, kiwi and stone fruit, alongside a growing range of vegetables, salad and herbs.
It’s unique ability to offer a ‘root to retail’ service has seen it become one of the world’s leading fresh produce growers and suppliers, with a globe-spanning network of growers, suppliers and packers.
Managing such a complex, multi-faceted supply chain is not without its challenges, especially given the time-critical nature of fresh produce and fast-changing consumer demands; yet Jupiter Marketing’s forward-thinking approach to digital technology provides the business with the agility, flexibility and traceability it requires.
To learn more, The Manufacturer caught up with co-founder and director, Yvonne Tweddle.
Where do you see the greatest opportunity for Jupiter Marketing lying?
Yvonne Tweddle: Without a doubt, the ability of modern digital technologies, particularly around data collection, and traceability systems is very exciting. As is how technology enables greater supply chain collaboration.
One of the most significant factors our suppliers experience is competition. Typically, competition encourages companies and suppliers to move around which doesn’t necessarily allow for the best working relationship and combined successes.
The difference with our supply chain is that we’ve taken competition out by committing ourselves to our suppliers.
Being able to forge long-term, mutually-beneficial relationships has created significant opportunities for both our business and our suppliers, and it’s something we’re very passionate about.
You mention data collection, how has Jupiter Marketing’s relationship with data changed in recent years?
Two years ago, we were fully paper-based; now, we work entirely with a digital file management system – we’ve just removed all the cupboards! That has been an outstanding leap forward for us. The efficiency of our finance team has effectively doubled, it has reduced the number of emails being sent, attachments, invoices, everything.
It also allows us to have ‘one version of the truth’. For example, what the system cleverly does is enables us to see historic versions of documents. So, if in a technical scenario, we want to look at what the technical procedure was on a certain day, then we can go back to that exact date and time to understand that procedure and investigate whether the correct approach was followed. That makes every action we take 100% traceable and transparent.
How has your relationship with Sage and Datel evolved?
Jupiter Marketing has partnered with Sage almost since our inception, we’ve grown up with it. We’ve gone on to use various versions and platforms and we’re currently using Sage Business Cloud which provides us with true global control.
Ultimately, we’re responsible for paying growers and employees, and we need our accounts to be accurate and generated easily and quickly. One of the real benefits is that we can run multiple companies off the same system; everything we do, everywhere we go can be controlled from an accounting perspective from our head office in Shropshire.
It also allows us to work in different languages if we need to from various offices, which is very important to our organisation. Of course, the one thing you can always guarantee with Sage is that the figures are correct. To run any business successfully, that’s the most important thing to get right.
Several years ago, we started working with Datel [the UK’s largest Sage Business Partner]. Datel has helped bring Sage closer to us as a business and the relationship has really found its synergy ever since.
How are you ensuring that your workforce has the necessary skills to leverage the software’s full functionality?
Investing in our people is really important to us and we strive to create the right environment, one in which our employees want to work in. We have a full-time trainer in the business who our employees can book a slot with either face-to-face or remotely through the cloud. That’s important as we have a number of employees who work remotely in Argentina and Greece, alongside offices in Chile and South Africa.
Each area of the business also has a ‘champion’ which means updates on new tools or functionality, best practice and top tips can be quickly and simply shared with their teams.