Raja Foods didn’t become one of the leading distributors of Indian food in the United States overnight. It took years of dedication and refinement of a business vision to celebrate “our food, our culture,” as their company motto states. Raja owns the nation’s largest chain of Indian grocery stores (operating as Patel Brothers—with 50 retail stores and counting) while also distributing its food products to hundreds of independent and big box customers throughout the U.S.
We recently sat down with Raja vice president, Swetal Patel, to talk about the company’s growth and the role of technology. Simply put, Patel said, “Our goal is to get Indian food to the consumer any way we can.”
“We’ve grown from 30 to 50 stores, and doubled our sales volume over the last 10 years. A challenge for us was the increasing amount of time it was taking to process orders for delivery to the stores. It’s common for our customers to place orders with hundreds of items, especially in anticipation of the weekend—when they are busiest. Not only was this process very time consuming, but we were inevitably prone to mistakes when rekeying the faxed orders into Sage 100 ERP,” Patel said.
Raja’s solution was to purchase and implement iSales 100 by xkzero to automate remote ordering. iSales 100 was an immediate success for Raja Foods. To start, they gave 35 of their top grocery customers an iPad Mini (with scanner accessory from Infinite Peripherals) with the iSales 100 app. The manual process—using pencil, paper, clipboards, fax machines, and redundant data entry—was eliminated overnight.
Now, using iPad Minis with iSales 100, these store representatives simply walk the grocery aisles, scan the bar coded shelves, and automatically submit the completed orders into Raja’s Sage 100 system. Because each iSales user can be assigned a default fulfillment warehouse depending upon geographical location, orders are immediately ready for picking from each of the four distribution center warehouses owned by Raja.
Patel said, “Our old process took twice as long as the scanning process using iSales 100. We completely eliminated having to enter the orders into Sage 100. That alone has saved about 100 hours per week. But in addition to that, we’re doing a better job of keeping the grocery shelves properly stocked and that means keeping loyal customers coming back.”
“Our next step is to provide the iSales 100 app to even more customers—the more who utilize the app, the more we’ll save and the better we can serve them. Anyone with remote ordering needs should be using iSales 100,” Patel said.
Other resources distributors may be interested in:
- Choosing the right mobile sales app
- Why Apple vs. Android is not the question for mobile business
- 6 questions to ask before deciding to invest in mobile business
- Manufacturers and Distributors: a checklist to help understand your unique mobile sales needs
- How a large food distributor eliminated the fax machine and clipboards
- 6 cool ideas for distribution companies