Culina Group, the Logistics Experts Delivering Service Management Excellence with 4me.
About Culina Group
The Culina Group (Culina) is a market-leading ambient and chilled food and drink third-party logistics specialist. It provides warehousing, distribution and contract packing services and has a bonded division with extensive expertise in relation to dutiable goods across the UK and Ireland. Culina has recently added both Fresh and Food Manufacturing divisions and is working to maintain its status as a leading logistics company in the UK.
A Single Tool for Collaboration and Integration
Culina comprises several companies, including Great Bear Distribution, Morgan Mclernon and Warrens Warehousing and Distribution, and consequently several IT service management tools were being used, including BMC Track-It! and Sunrise Sostenuto. In isolation, these solutions adequately satisfied the needs of request management but did little to engender a spirit of collaboration across the various IT teams that support more than 9,000 staff, in 10 businesses, at 65 locations. They also did not integrate with the corporate services provided by Culina’s parent company, Unternehmensgruppe Theo Müller (Müller).
Strategically and tactically collaboration was key. Closer alignment between Culina and Müller’s operations was a critical factor, as so many supply chain management processes overlap. Many Culina vehicles are branded Müller because they are responsible for the distribution of Müller’s dairy products to the retail industry.
Clearly, Culina needed a solution that enabled its support teams to come together to collaboratively work towards a more shared-services approach in the UK as well as incorporating the range of corporate services that employees expect. The decision to consider and select 4me was based on a recommendation from Müller, as well as being influenced by the existing relationship that some of the Great Bear team had with Revo 4me Services (Revo), former provider of BMC Track-It! and current 4me Partner.
The decision-making process, chaired by Nathan Podmore, Group IT Director, included representatives from across IT and the Culina Group. Mark May, Group Service Delivery Manager, became the nominated project lead. 4me and Revo jointly presented the solution and spent time with the project team to understand their requirements in order to transition the various support functions to a single, multi-tenant cloud platform.
- Ten businesses using different IT service management tools
- Lack of integration with the parent
- Lack of collaboration and shared services between companies within the Culina Group.
- Branded self-service portal that allows staff to access their IT service entitlements, self-resolve issues using aligned knowledge articles or quickly log a request with the Service Desk
- 4me was implemented to support incident, problem and change management
- 4me was integrated with Microsoft Active Directory and enabled secure single sign-on (SSO) with OneLogIn
- Seamless collaboration between the different group IT departments, the HR department and with the parent company
“4me’s Service Catalog helped us consider many things about our internal structures and where skills exist, enabling us to completely reshape our support capabilities.”
Nathan Podmore, Group IT Director
The deployment was time-dependent due to the imminent contract end-dates with the incumbent vendors. The initial implementation went live in just over a month, and afforded Culina a period to run 4me in parallel with the other systems and transition services, at a pace that did not disrupt operations and allowed for high user adoption.
The first phase of the project launched a branded self-service portal that allows staff to access their IT service entitlements, self-resolve issues using aligned knowledge articles or quickly log a request with the Service Desk.
If the employee needs to log an issue, the request is subsequently assigned for fulfillment and placed with the service-relevant analyst and/or support team. From this point, 4me was implemented to support incident, problem and change management, and a range of Service Level Agreements (SLAs) were established to ensure time-appropriate delivery of services across the group and to ensure the work-loading and allocation of tasks across the unified and merged support structure remains on target. Nathan Podmore says he is impressed with the discipline that 4me has added.
As part of the implementation, Revo also integrated 4me with Microsoft Active Directory and enabled secure single sign-on (SSO) with OneLogIn.
The Revo project plan included role-based remote training for Culina’s support staff, and this was further supplemented as many specialists also worked through 4me’s online training resources. This remains true today as new support specialists find 4me an easy solution to self-train on.
Since going live in early 2020, Culina Group has had full, uninterrupted availability of the 4me solution. “From go live to now, 4me has simply worked, the updates are weekly and without any disruption to Culina’s operations,” concludes Mark May.
In addition, the number of users has increased by 33 per cent as outlying specialists have been added and further integration with the corporate services, provided by Müller, is underway. HR/Payroll is now a support domain, and Culina employees will be able to make requests to HR about salaries, overtime, pensions and much more.
Although 4me has unified Culina’s IT organization and standardized its service management solution, it is difficult to quantify improvements because so much was previously siloed and isolated. The single view that Culina has gained on the demands being made across the Group means that benchmarking can now begin.
Culina can now start to share skills and resources across their UK locations to improve day-to-day support efficiencies. Previously, visibility of request types and work-loading of specialists was siloed within each business unit and unnecessary backlogs could appear.
4me has allowed Culina to create a structure of support resources and services that is unified. The service catalog has allowed cross-business teams to exist and this has improved operating coverage through collaboration.
The shared approach to IT service delivery will drive new efficiencies across the business and will enable a collaborative platform with Müller.
“Because support and service processes are highly optimized in 4me and work out-of-the-box, this gave Culina a luxury that is scarce in a business that supports both just-in-time manufacturing with Müller and the distribution of fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) to retail – a contingency of time.”
Mark May, Group Service Delivery Manager.