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Worldwide Fruit are enthusiastic advocates of Muddy Boots' Greenlight Quality Control software. The platform has enabled the company to develop robust end-to-end quality assurance procedures, removing waste from the supply chain, increasing efficiency exceeding customer expectations. In so doing, the company is driving forward in its ambition to be their customers' “First Choice" fruit providers.
Worldwide Fruit was established in 2000. Now an award-winning international fruit marketing and distribution company, it specialises in providing apples, pears, avocados and stone fruit to the UK market. Around 250 staff are employed at its two sites based in Spalding, Lincolnshire (HQ) and Whitstable, Kent. The main HQ in Spalding comprises a 4,800m2 grading, packing and distribution facility and 790m2 of office space. It's a huge operation, now handling 4.4 million cases of produce every year and 52.8 million packs of fruit.
The company numbers some of Britain's leading supermarkets amongst its customers and works with over 1,000 growers across the world. Effective supply chain management and development is critical to the continued success and excellent reputation of the business. "Our relationship with the supplier base, going right back to the grower in the orchard, is fundamental", says Willie Wood, Head of Technical at Worldwide Fruit. "We understand the pressures the growers are facing. We're here to support them to remove waste from the supply chain at source and ensure we can deliver optimum grower returns. We therefore need robust and effective data management systems for all our global supply base. It is imperative that we have a partner who can deliver this area of expertise."
After an investigation into potential supplier partners, Muddy Boots were chosen to help Worldwide Fruit achieve its objectives of improving efficiency throughout the supply chain, allowing them to reduce the number of rejected or poor-quality products going through the business. In line with the company's sustainability agenda, it was also intended to transition from paper-based to the more efficient electronic systems offered by Greenlight Quality Control, that are fast becoming industry standard.
One of Worldwide Fruit's core values is 'Together', which emphasises the importance of all team members feeling involved and passionate about the business and their contribution to its success. This value applies equally to the company's suppliers. "The relationship we have with Muddy Boots really does support this core value," says Julie Thorold, Quality and Compliance Manager. "We worked very collaboratively on development, making sure we were aligned on vision and how Muddy Boots fit into it." Luke Ives, Business Development Manager at Muddy Boots agrees: "It really helped to ignite the passion for the work. It was not a transactional relationship at all, more of a partnership enabling us to have open and honest conversations."
Once commissioned and throughout the development phase, regular meetings and workshops were held between Muddy Boots and the Worldwide Fruit team to build initial specifications and assessment templates and ensure that all staff were brought up to speed and embraced the changeover. Once the new platform was introduced, Muddy Boots' team continued to work alongside the Worldwide Fruit team, holding regular conference calls to discuss and resolve any identified issues, and helped to align the system to Worldwide Fruit’s business goals.
Changing to an entirely electronic based system was a significant cultural shift for the business. However, after a period of only six months the platform was fully integrated with Worldwide Fruit's systems and senior managers could rely on obtaining the quality reports they needed to make business critical decisions.
Greenlight Quality Control enables Worldwide Fruit to see how its suppliers are performing throughout the season in a way that traditional paper-based systems cannot. Whereas paper-based systems require labour and time-intensive trawling through paperwork and dusty filing cabinets to find the information required, Greenlight Quality Control enables real time data to be captured instantly and consistently and stored and shared electronically. Information can be accessed quickly and easily via interactive and user-friendly dashboards. Powerful reporting and analytics tools are then utilised to identify trends, for example over time, by supplier, product or any combination of variables. These features have enabled Worldwide Fruit to spot any problems early on and identify where strategic benefits can be made - not only to their own advantage but for all those in the supply chain: grower, supplier, packer and retailer.
Julie Thorold, Quality and Compliance Manager at Worldwide Fruit, says: "Greenlight Quality Control is allowing us to see how our suppliers are performing throughout the season. We can tackle underperforming suppliers immediately and drive improvements with them so that we don't live with problems throughout the season."
Greenlight Quality Control has facilitated a measurable improvement in product consistency. Since the platform was introduced, produce rejection rates have fallen from 40% to less than 10%. This focus and visibility of their business ensures Worldwide Fruit's reputation as suppliers of top-quality fruits is being retained and enhanced, it ensures continued customer satisfaction and is helping Worldwide Fruit reach its ultimate objective of being their customers' first choice fruit producers.