If you take a trip to Barnstaple in North Devon you will invariably see Youings Tobacconist at No1 the High Street. It’s a bit of a misnomer as this site sells a wide range of eclectic products from tobacco and cigars through to toys, models, houseware and gifts for tourists.
However, behind this business is a successful, thriving regional wholesaler also located in Barnstaple. The business has been run by 4 generations of Youings supplying food, drinks and associated products to small retailers, hotels and holiday homes, caterers through to universities and schools; and have preferred supplier status for Devon County Council Schools.
The business also acquired Havana Coffee Company supplying products to its classic base as well as opening new channels into cafes, coffee shops and pubs. Their fleet of 9 lorries operate throughout the South West providing an exemplary level of service with an order cut off time of 14.00.
Substantial growth had meant that the original offices and warehouse on the Barbican Estate were no longer enough. Youings took over several other premises on the same estate but were still reaching capacity. This left them handling the complexities of stock in different warehouses.
Blue Rock Systems have been involved with Youings since the start of 2018 when the team took over the support contract for their Microsoft Dynamics NAV business system. It was obvious from the outset that this business and its management team were keen on innovation, both in terms of Information Technology but operationally as well.
Youings started a project to build a purpose-built 30,000 sq. foot warehouse and distribution centre. Based a few miles away, its aim was to provide increased capacity and vastly improve logistical efficiencies while they sought to enhance their business systems to support their success.
The first project with Blue Rock Systems was to implement a warehouse solution with mobile scanners. This certainly wasn’t a simple task and changes had to be made to the standard solution to support the cut off times and service levels that Youings provide. The solution will have 14 mobile pickers fully integrated into the back-office NAV system (when fully operational).
Subsequent to the warehouse project Youings have committed to implement an online business to business web trading solution using Blue Rock’s BlueCommerce system. BlueCommerce is designed to not only minimise data maintenance on the website (as much of the data is “pulled” live from the Dynamics NAV system) but provide customers with the ability to order online and enquire on their account, previous purchases, etc.
Running along side these projects are two others. The integration of Dynamics NAV to Youings Solar Vista system will provide a portable solution for the field service engineers, integrating to a best of breed service solution for the coffee machines that Havana supply. Also, recent developments in the European Union’s Tobacco Products Directive will mean that Youings will look to integrate their NAV system further to ensure they conform to the new legislation.
Mark Crook, IT Administrator at Youings commented “All the projects Youings have undertaken with Blue Rock have been with the aim of improving both the internal and external stakeholder’s relationship with Youings. As part of that, Youings has changed and adapted as more complex challenges arrive in an increasingly rapid rate and we aim to continue this positive trend… There is a lot of excitement pending arrival of the new E-Commerce site, with the anticipation of offering a greatly improved customer experience, and a website that is inline or even in excess of market expectation.”