Retail Assist IT a key driver of success for Bidvest Logistics

Bidvest Logistics, the logistics partner of a number of household names within the food, drink and hospitality industry including Burger King, Nando's, KFC, Pizza Hut, Pizza Express, Ask, Zizzi, Byron, Prt Manger, Compass, InterContinental Hotels, Greene King and Spudulike has outsourced selected IT services to Retail Assist, technology partner of many famous retail and leisure brands such as ASOS, Harvey Nichols, Selfridges, La Senza, Paperchase and VUE.

The global Bidvest Group operates through two businesses in the UK, 3663 Wholesale and Bidvest Logistics. Previously, IT services for Bidvest Logistics had been provided via the 3663 Wholesale arm of the business. However, a requirement for an independent IT platform was identified to allow the wholesale and logistics elements to be run separately to fulfil future expansion plans.

Cindy Howarth, Director of IT at Bidvest Logistics, explains: "The selective outsourcing model we have chosen allows the team here to concentrate on our core competencies. Bidvest is in the logistics sector, not the IT sector. That said, IT is a key driver of our business. Working with a specialist company such as Retail Assist allows Bidvest Logistics to retain a competitive edge by enabling us to be agile and meet the demands of our internal and external customers far more quickly than we have been able to do in the past."

A key requirement of the project was the transition of the Minster Logistics Servers (the key operational system used by Bidvest) housed in the 3663 Data Centre. The primary Data Centre is now Retail Assist's secure facility in Northampton, with the failover servers located at the Royton Bidvest Logistics depot ensuring a fully resilient solution. Retail Assist is housing servers for Bidvest Logistics in Northampton and supporting those housed at the secondary location. 24/7 Operations support and monitoring is being provided.

Prior to the transition, Bidvest Logistics' personnel had been using services from 3663 via a Citrix client.  However, the transformation included a full replacement of all depot IT equipment and upgrading to the latest versions of Microsoft product. Retail Assist was tasked with rolling out a mixture of desktops and laptops to 270 staff across 6 locations nationwide in under 4 weeks as well as building all the central infrastructure to support the new desktop environment. First line support for these users is being provided via Retail Assist's Help Desk and second line cover via Retail Assist's desktop support team. Hardware maintenance is being provided by ICM and managed by Retail Assist.

Independent Retail Consultant, Peter Baxter, managed the tender process.  He  was tasked with ensuring that the supplier chosen could work to fulfil Bidvest's business strategy. Comments Baxter: "The timescales were rigid, as it was critical the full transformation was achieved prior to the busy summer trading season.  Missing this deadline would have meant a 3-month delay, which would have incurred avoidable cost, so the new IT infrastructure had to be in place before this date. Retail Assist had carried out extensive due diligence, so knew and met Bidvest's requirements."

Dan Smith, Managed Services Director at Retail Assist concludes: "Bidvest Logistics is receiving a truly personal service, with personnel at our support centre dedicated to this account. Retail Assist is delighted to be working with Bidvest and developing our knowledge of the requirements of IT within the logistics sector."

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