“People are happier when they’re healthier, so if you eat well, you stay well.” Tom Griffiths, one-half of the duo who founded the now nationally recognised brand, Emma & Tom’s, expresses what began as a simple idea and transformed into a lucrative business venture. While it’s been important for the business to produce nutritious, whole food products that prioritised the customer’s health, it’s been just as imperative to maintain healthy operations to see continued business growth.
Watch the 3-minute Emma & Tom's success story video.
Running a company that now manages 40 delivery vans, a high-touch distribution model, orders from over 3,500 stockists, and some big plans for international expansion is no simple feat. On top of this, Emma & Tom’s chose to maintain a personal connection with each of its independent stockists by delivering products directly to each café on a weekly basis. How were they able to achieve this? Passion for the business, smart ideas, and some bold decisions were key. But technology was also another main ingredient in their continued success.
Emma & Tom’s started its operations in 2004 and after being in business for some time, the business owners saw a need for better visibility and real-time business information, given that much of their workforce was out on the road. Using a simple accounting package was no longer adequate to keep up with their high-volume inventory and transaction demands. At the same time, cloud technology had been developing considerable momentum. Full ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) solutions were becoming available at SMB-targeted price points, thanks to the rising popularity of cloud-based systems.
ERP is essentially business software which brings together the business’ entire operations using one consolidated system working from a single database. That’s important, as it provides one source of truth for all operational areas. It also enables business intelligence reporting and provides better insights into cross-department trends.
"Running a company that now manages 40 delivery vans, a high-touch distribution model, orders from over 3,500 stockists, and some big plans for international expansion is no simple feat."
Emma & Tom’s was interested in an ERP solution that would provide live product, inventory and stock commitment information, real-time pricing, the ability to manage CRM records, take orders and keep customers informed with up-to-the-minute data.
Emma Welsh, the other half of the company’s founders, scrutinised several cloud-based ERP systems, focusing on each software’s ability to keep supporting the business as it grew. It was an important factor for long-term international expansion plans. Emma explains, “We needed a solution that would integrate and optimise our operations, allow our workforce to be more flexible, scale as the company grew and offer cloud-based cost benefits by eliminating the need for servers and updates.”
As the demand for faster information becomes a part of our daily lives, businesses like Emma & Tom’s are placing emphasis on the availability of real-time data. Investing in future-proof technologies is already yielding significant benefits over traditional, local server-based software applications. Cloud-based solutions are simply offering greater flexibility. No matter whether business resources are out on the road, visiting customers, or working remotely from home, they’re able to continue working uninterrupted and utilise real-time business data.
“We needed a solution that would integrate and optimise our operations, allow our workforce to be more flexible, scale as the company grew and offer cloud-based cost benefits by eliminating the need for servers and updates.” - Emma Welsh
Despite the benefits of ERP solutions, implementing new business management software can still seem overwhelming to small businesses. Emma & Tom’s, however, took a fresh approach to the situation. Emma explains, “We decided to bring over only essential historical data, a decision which gave us the ability to more clearly focus on future growth.” It’s a strategy that paid off, helping Emma & Tom’s to get started with its new cloud-based ERP system sooner. And the results supported their decision. The business has seen significant year-on-year growth since implementing. It’s now operating efficiently with 4 distribution centres and a centrally-managed national distribution network.
Emma & Tom’s was able to handle more products and has consequently expanded its range. It now employs over 60 staff, has 40 vans managing deliveries and over 3,500 stockists nationally. The company vision of taking its brand international is the next challenge, but having the technology and experience in place provides a strong foundation to make it happen.
Not all businesses have the same priorities or take the same approach to implementing new software, but investing in the right business management software can set the stage for considerable growth. And accounting for the additional benefits and more reasonable cost of entry that cloud-based ERP solutions offer, it becomes a simple equation.
"Not all businesses have the same priorities or take the same approach to implementing new software, but investing in the right business management software can set the stage for considerable growth."
There are still further benefits to be leveraged from cloud-based ERP solutions such as time-saving automation to cut down repetitive, manual processing. Some platforms provide real-time dashboards and KPI meters that allow you to see your business position on a single page – perfect for making agile business decisions the moment you need to. And some provide intelligent functionality that helps determine optimum stock and reorder levels, supporting much faster stock turn. But the greatest strength of cloud ERP systems, in general, is providing a single platform for all your business information and making it available to you, wherever and whenever you need it.
Emma & Tom’s is just one example of a successful business who started out small and leveraged technology to grow their business. They’ve empowered their growth, gained more efficient operations, and now have the scalability needed to support their future business expansion plans. With
If you’re looking to build your business, it could be time to investigate the cloud ERP software options available. Using technology to fuel your business performance could be the healthiest business decision you’ll make.
After some ideas on how to grow your small business? Get your Small Business Growth Playbook and get the insights on how to see real business growth.