Technology helps bring fresh food into the future for Northgate Market
Those in the grocery business know that fresh food is a trend that’s not going away as more and more consumers look to a healthier, more locally sourced diet. Grocers are using fresh as a differentiator to win over customers, and according to the latest from FMI, 85% of North American retailers plan on allocating more space to fresh food over the next three years.
But Northgate Market, a retailer based in southern California, has already made it a priority to revamp its business processes to meet fresh food demand. In doing so, the grocer has experienced a significant increase in sales by ensuring the right product is available at the right time and reducing labour costs by aligning production with real-time sales demand.
“A few years ago we decided we wanted to double down on fresh and prepared foods as that was a real differentiator for us and the DNA of our business,” says Harrison Lewis, Chief Information Officer at Northgate Market. Recognizing that Northgate was venturing into unchartered territory with existing technology systems that were only geared towards packaged goods, he put together a plan. “It was a road map of what we needed to do to facilitate this unique business process and what kind of technology partner could support us.”
Northgate met with its long-time partner Invatron, the market leader in Fresh Item Management, to look at expanding their relationship and building a technology foundation focused on Fresh. Lewis was pleased to discover that Invatron could provide a solution that could take Northgate Market well into the future.
“I was skeptical and didn’t think there was a system out there that would fit our needs — I figured we’d have to cobble together something already used in restaurants,” he says. Instead, Invatron took the time to understand Northgate’s long-term strategy and provided a tailored solution via its Periscope Fresh Item Management platform.
Implementing a brand new business model where store processes were standardized to improve efficiencies was not without its challenges. “In standardizing recipes and
ingredients and how we do things across our stores, our employees had to learn and unlearn things they’d been doing in the past,” says Lewis. “More than just implementing new technology it was about change management.” To engage employees in the process and ensure a successful system rollout, the grocer developed a steering committee with Invatron as an active partner throughout the process.
A year later, Periscope Fresh Item Management has already been launched successfully across the majority of Northgate Market locations, with the rest to follow by the end of July.
“Even locations that did not have the technology in place yet were beginning to adopt these new processes because they saw the benefit,” says Lewis.
With these new processes in place, Lewis says Northgate can ensure that customers are getting consistent taste, texture and high quality when it comes to fresh and prepared foods, regardless of which location they’re in. “This has absolutely given us an edge over the competition and we are very pleased with the results.”
In the coming months Northgate will continue to work with Invatron to leverage other modules within the Periscope platform to further optimize their fresh operations.
Invatron is the market leader specializing exclusively in Fresh Item Management, software solutions for Food Retailers. Invatron’s software platforms (Periscope and E-Plum) are supporting more than 20,000 stores globally who are realizing their full potential by achieving operational excellence, maximizing financial performance and delivering a Fresh Food offering that exceeds their customers’ expectations.