Skynamo increases productivity and accuracy
Jumbo is a wholesaler of African and International food products in the UK, which supplies a combination of wholesalers, retailers and international distributors – and has been doing so for three decades.
“One of our founding directors, Mr Hassan Kreyem, started the business more than 25 years ago with the Jumbo brand,” says Adeel Syed, financial controller, “as distributors of a Spanish food brand that is popular with the African community over here.”
The company recognised a gap in the market for providing more of these kinds of products for local African communities, and over time the company grew until Jumbo Midlands was established in 2015, with Mr Kreyem as one of its co-directors.
Adeel says Jumbo Midlands has grown a great deal in recent years, with significant growth in its market base, customer base, and product lines. “We have a range of more than 800 product lines now,” he says. “It’s quite varied and we stock a variety of African ethnic grocery items and distribute to the North and West Midlands, to mainly retail shops and supermarkets, and then we have a cash and carry model too.”
Adeel is responsible for bringing Skynamo into the business, a move he proposed to try and streamline a paper-based sales process.
“We have been using Sage software for the financial side of things, but in terms of the sales ordering, we were on a manual system,” says Adeel. “The sales reps used to visit the retail shops and customers, and they used to send sales orders on handwritten paper, or via a paper sales order form, and sometimes from the customer in their own handwriting, or on WhatsApp – and they’d been doing that for quite a long time.
“I joined this company in 2018, and I believe getting things done in a more systematic way for the sake of increased efficiency, productivity, accuracy, and to save time. And wherever I have worked previously, I have always tried to convince the directors or company owners that we should try to adopt modern systems and tools as much as we can within the budget constraints of the company.
“So, when I got here, I saw that on the sales side everything was manual, and on the financial side, the bookkeeping and accounting was all fine. But the sales were taking a lot of time, and there was a lot of inaccuracy.”
Adeel said he knew there must be a solution. “We are living in the 21st century!” he says. So in 2019, he got onto Google and found Skynamo.
“Initially they were not set up to synchronise with Sage,” he said, “but they were in conversation with Sage, and it was in process. About six or seven months later I contacted them again and the good news was that they were ready and could integrate with Sage. So, we had a lot of meetings and conversations. And then I managed to convince the directors and partners that this was the right solution.”
"Skynamo helped this wholesaler to increase productivity and accuracy for its sales team, who were operating on a paper-based system."
Naturally, at first, some were reluctant to go ahead, Adeel says. And it took a little time to get everyone on board. “But I’m glad that we did it,” he said. “Of course there were some initial technical challenges – as there always are with new software – but Skynamo were very helpful in sorting it out.”
Adeel says he appreciates that Skynamo really took the time to understand their business. “No software can work from day one,” he observes. “It takes time to really understand the business model and the requirements, and to customise various aspects of the software to the client’s needs.
“But I’m glad that we managed to achieve what we have. In terms of accuracy, and time, we are down to about 10 minutes turnaround time from the sales rep. And the sales reps really enjoy it, they really love it – the whole system, and the tools.”
Adeel says one of the biggest achievements was uploading the whole product catalogue – including pictures – onto Skynamo. “One of our internal team members prepared the whole picture catalogue by product code and sent it to the Skynamo team, and in a very short period, they uploaded everything accurately,” he says. And now, when new products are added, he adds, they are very easy to upload and synchronise.
Adeel has been so happy with Skynamo that when one of their competitors asked him about the software, he recommended it without hesitation.
Feedback from the sales team has been positive, he says, and the reps find it very user friendly. “There are some training sessions you can join to take you through the system, but none of us have ever attended them – we didn’t need to,” he says. “If there have been things we couldn’t understand, we query it directly and our queries are very quickly answered.”
He says he appreciates the service he receives from Skynamo, who are always responsive and willing to customise the software wherever possible. “And I’m really glad it all worked out,” he says, “because I’m the one who recommended this and so the biggest burden was on my shoulders! So, I’m glad to say this software works very well.”