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St Pierre Groupe Proves Benefits of Digitalisation with Infor and Anthesis

Infor CloudSuite Distribution Enterprise Delivers Visibility in the Face of Volatility for Brioche and Baked Goods Leader

St Pierre Groupe is an international branded bakery business with a turnover in excess of £100 million. Headquartered in Manchester, UK, its branded products are available worldwide in more than 35,000 stores. Its brand portfolio includes America’s number one brioche brand, St Pierre; leading extended life bakery brand Baker Street; and category leader in part-baked bread, Paul Hollywood. In 2019, it won the Queens Award for Enterprise in International Trade.

The right recipe for success

Managing this kind of fast-paced growth is challenging enough, without the additional curveballs seen as a result of a global pandemic and Brexit. Against this backdrop, St Pierre Groupe identified a requirement to modernise its core ERP system to instil robustness, consistency and scale across the business, driving enhanced visibility and control via dynamic insights and intelligence.

“The business had been growing exponentially, particularly in the US, but was operating without an integrated financial and multi-country capability,” comments Rachel Eade, finance and operations director at St Pierre Groupe. “Our supply chain was being managed on MS Access databases resulting in a lack of visibility, which is of course essential for international trade. As a business, this gap in our back office had become untenable. We knew that we needed a platform which would free up colleagues from transactional tasks, primarily to accelerate decision-making and improve customer service.”

Enhanced intelligence

St Pierre Groupe engaged a specialist selection consultancy to help choose the best platform for its business ambitions. Through this process, it distilled a requirement for enhanced intelligence, greater analytics for budgeting and forecasting to better understand challenges across supply and demand. Its chosen enterprise resource planning (ERP) platform needed to encompass scale and international capabilities to build on rapid growth, as well as delivering ease of use and value.

Infor CloudSuite Distribution Enterprise was selected based on its successful track record in the food sector; its ability to scale, its dedicated food industry-specific capabilities, out of the box functionality and ability to support international, multi-currency operations. Easy integration with St Pierre Groupe’s other core systems using Infor Operating Services and overall value were also key.

“The Infor team did a great pitch and demonstrated excellent planning capabilities within the system, which really impressed us,” Eade continues. “Ultimately, we made our selection based on Infor’s track record and scale, combined with the fact the solution could be implemented out of the box. Similarly, the solution architect at Anthesis came with a wealth of experience and instilled us with a huge amount of confidence. The fact that the implementation went well, and went live on time, is testament to this.”

Staying one step ahead

Since going live, St Pierre Groupe has continued to navigate unpredictability. The fallout from the pandemic is being felt across the industry in the form of price increases from suppliers, additional paperwork due to Brexit, driver shortages and supply chain disruption. While by no means a panacea to these challenges, Infor CloudSuite Distribution Enterprise is allowing the company to access – in real-time – granular data on sales and costs, and track demand more closely.

“The biggest benefit of using Infor CloudSuite Distribution Enterprise is access to granular data on sales and costs. These increased insights allow us to view variability more clearly, and we can analyse our most profitable regions and business lines as a result.

“This visibility has helped us to pursue our US growth, and if the world had stayed the same as it was in 2019, the system would have been brilliant,” Eade adds. “The fact that the world is ever changing and we’re having to deal with higher admin costs – customer charges, driver shortages, bakery shortages, and absorbing huge additional amounts of paperwork as a result of Brexit – means we’ve not been able to leverage the automation benefits as much as we would have done otherwise.”

The multi-tenant cloud deployment model helps to reduce St Pierre Groupe’s total cost of ownership (TCO), allowing the company to fulfil its core objective of freeing up time and dedicating resources into meeting the market challenges it continues to face. Crucially, it underpins team agility to capitalise on new opportunities, whilst facilitating scale.

“Anthesis has brought value to the project and its team of consultants continue to support us well. When we’ve had to change a business process, for example when needed to hold stock in the US, Anthesis helped us to navigate that and redefine processes to accommodate the change. This partnership has allowed us to maximise value out of the system and as we move forward, we’re looking forward to using what we have in a better way, refining processes and cementing our use of the platform,” Eade summarises.