After reviewing the various options on the market, Common Market chose Philadelphia-based software provider Integrated Management Solutions and it’s Food Connex Cloud Food Management System, based on the Progress® OpenEdge® platform. “We were really excited to support a local business. And they met our three primary requirements,” says Garcia-Granados. “First, they offered a cloud-base solution. We didn’t want to be relegated to sitting in our office. We needed a system that empowered us to be on the farms or with customers, submitting orders and viewing inventory in real time.”
The second key factor was the solution’s ability to support the company’s high standards for transparency and traceability. Common Market maintains a high
level of transparency and accountability at every step in the process, from growing and producing to storage and distribution. “For us that was a mandatory feature; how much information we could actually store and print on the labels and invoices about where the food came from,” says Garcia-Granados.
And third, cost played a significant role in the decision to choose Food Connex Cloud. “Food businesses are very low margin organizations, and so we needed to be conscious of the cost of the solution. We couldn’t implement a technology system that was going to absorb our entire profit margin,” explains Garcia-Granados. “With a cloud-based system there is no hardware or software investment, no ongoing costs associated with maintenance and no need for on-site IT support.” Common Market also appreciated that Food Connex Cloud would easily integrate with their existing QuickBooks accounting system.
Today, Common Market relies on Food Connex Cloud to run their entire operations, from purchasing, pricing, and invoicing to inventory management and real-time sales reporting. Common Market’s goal is to get good food from the farm gate to the wholesale customer as efficiently and cost-effectively as possible via one order, one delivery, and one bill. Food Connex Cloud has made that possible.
Common Market aggregates food in its warehouse and delivers five days a week to its 200 customers throughout the Delaware Valley. Customers order case-load quantities of food from Common Market’s consolidated availability list, representing the full bounty of seasonal food produced in the local region by Common Market’s network of sustainable farmers. Food Connex Cloud tracks all of the activity associated with the company’s sales, inventory and deliveries.
“With Food Connex Cloud, our customers now know exactly where their food is coming from,” says Garcia-Granados. As Common Market receives product from the farms and fulfills customer orders, Food Connex Cloud tracks all of the vital information. Then using the product’s “brand feature” they are able to automatically include information on the invoice or labels about the individual farms that produced that specific product. “With Food Connex Cloud we are able to maintain our grower’s identity throughout the process of distribution so that our customers know exactly what they are getting and from where. We provide our farmers’ name and location on each case of food, as well as on each invoice so our customers can be confident that they are getting the freshest local produce available.”
Common Market is using the picking labels option in Food Connex Cloud, which makes things easier for both Common Market and its customers. Because the customer’s name is clearly labeled on the product, the drivers and customers no longer have to check product against an invoice during delivery. The invoices themselves are also much cleaner and easier to understand because Food Connex Cloud displays the catch weights and quantities properly, such as by eaches and cases.
Because Common Market serves so many institutional kitchens, like hospitals and schools, they are required to have a third-party food safety audit. The company also conducts mock recalls twice a year. “These are complicated efforts, and without an automated system they would take hours or even days to complete,” explains Garcia-Granados. “But with Food Connex Cloud, it is as simple as running a report. The system creates automatic traceability, which is a critical issue in food safety within our industry.”