In 2017 Barbers commissioned us to create a supplier portal for them, the system went live in July 2018…
Barbers are based in Somerset and are a well-known producer of Cheddar and other hard cheeses. Founded in 1833 they are the world’s oldest cheddar cheese maker and their products can be found in shops and supermarkets throughout the UK and Europe. As one of the largest producers of cheddar in the UK, they purchase in excess of 200 million litres of milk from 150 individual dairy farms across Somerset and Dorset. As the major ingredient in their cheesemaking, ensuring a fully traceable, regular supply of high-quality milk day in, day out is critical to their business.
Barbers wanted to transform the way they communicate with their milk suppliers, to create a trusted system that allows 24/7 communication. This system needed to ensure suppliers are kept fully informed on essential information from Barbers, and Barbers needed to be kept up to date with all information relating to contracts, background and traceability. Barbers also needed to increase engagement with suppliers, to enhance the customer/ supplier relationship.
Barbers also needed to be able to supply their customers with accurate, up to date information regarding their farm suppliers and product for quality assurance and traceability, as without this information their sales processes and customer relationships would be impacted.
Initially, we worked with Barbers to create a working brief for the project. This brief identified the main functionality requirements of the system, the required data fields and other structural and technical considerations. We also created simple wireframes for the main pages to help with initial visualisation.
On completion of this brief, we started to visualise the portal pages in detail. This was a key element in establishing good UX, as we needed to consider a broad range of users, from occasional and reluctant web technology users to the very much more tech-savvy farmers. The aim of this stage was to create a clear, simple interface, split into logical areas, all easy to view and update.
Through this process, the portal developed, with information and areas being added, plus consideration for future functionality. Over time the final design and functionality were established for 2 types of user; the farm suppliers and Barbers themselves, the administrators.
Once the portal was complete we worked with Barbers to migrate all existing supplier information into the portal. They then supplemented this with the forecast information they had available from manual submissions, plus any other historic information provided manually by the suppliers.
Barbers also uploaded historic newsletters, documents and news articles going back over 12 months. Having identified the key team who will manage the portal internally for Barbers we then went through a period of training, completed final testing and refining before launch.
With all records as up to date as possible, the portal tested and complete and the internal team trained and in place, the portal was officially launched in early summer 2018 and immediately post-launch farmers were encouraged to bring their information up to date, which included automatic reminders in the Portal.
Barbers have now transformed the way they communicate with their milk suppliers. The portal has been very well received, all suppliers are using the system and keeping their information up to date, submitting forecasts and benefitting from the resources and news.
The Portal is contributing greatly to customer and supplier confidence, assisting in ensuring a more stable and high-quality milk supply and the new supply chain information held in the Portal is enabling Barbers to secure more domestic and International customers.
Benefits for Barbers:
- free flow of information to and from suppliers
- essential supplier information and background information becoming complete and up to date
- accurate milk production forecasts being submitted
- ability to respond to retail customer enquiries relating to quality assurance, herd health and farm systems
- ability to support farm suppliers with dairy and market information and keep farmers informed on important news
- ability to support farm suppliers with a resource library of dairy-related information within the relationship
- ability to send newsletters and regular updates to individuals and groups
- ability to increase engagement with farm suppliers and to form a trusted ongoing relationship
Benefits for the Milk Suppliers:
The suppliers now have a single system they can use to keep all their information up to date. Being available 24/7 they can now update it when it is convenient and in combination with the useful news and resources, the portal is significantly enhancing their relationship with Barbers.
The feedback from the suppliers has been very complimentary and they have quickly recognised the importance of the portal both as a tool to keep their details up to date and also as an essential information resource for key industry and farming information.
Benefits for Retail Customers:
Barbers now have all information required for traceability and quality assurance to secure more domestic and International sales as well as the ability to maintain high-quality relationships with their existing customers.
“Working with the professionals at Resolution Design helped navigate and evolve through the development of a 24/7 secure information conduit for our farmer suppliers and ourselves at Barbers.
We now finally have a portal resource that will assist and support our farmers and our own systems where supply chain information is a prerequisite in securing and supporting a broad range of domestic and international customers.”
Michael Masters, Milk Supply Manager, Barbers
“The development of the Suppliers Portal has transformed the way we work with our Milk Suppliers. Key to success has been the considered planning and skilful creation of the Portal, making it simple to use, yet complex in functionality. We are now looking forward to enhancing the portal further and driving more digital transformation through our business. Many thanks to the team at Resolution of their excellent work.”
Chris Newcombe, Chief Financial Officer, Barbers