Today, Unitas Wholesale has the largest network of independent cash and carry and delivery wholesalers in the UK.
Unitas create agreements between their members on one side, and suppliers on the other. Working with multinational suppliers such as Coca Cola, Heineken and Lays, Unitas has a proven track record of facilitating the best agreements across organisations and industries.
At the time of reaching out to Audacia, all Unitas agreements were either paper-based or on spreadsheets. The organisation, therefore, required consultancy and development to effectively digitise these processes.
Unitas was aware that many competitors had already digitised their services and realised that they required a similar transition to ensure competitive advantage moving forward. The core of this setup was having a system to capture all the agreements that took place in the organisation, from which the organisation could then share with suppliers in accessible formats.
The ability to track invoicing was also identified as a key requirement of the system, so that Unitas would have visibility over all financial activity taking place throughout agreements. With this data, reporting would be centralised and accessible to all necessary stakeholders.
Unitas sought to find a software development company that could develop a modern income tracking system as part of a complex digitisation of all business processes.
The organisation manages agreements between suppliers and members, however each agreement behaves slightly differently to one another with different criteria. Unitas’ range of clients includes retail, foodservice, on-trade and specialist wholesalers, which meant that agreements could differ further still, depending on the services offered by the supplier or member.
With Audacia’s experience translating complex business logic into business critical software systems for industry-leading organisations, Unitas were confident that they could help them effectively digitise their operations.
Audacia provided consultancy services focused around digitising Unitas’ processes. Together, Audacia and Unitas understood the granularity of business processes, defined scenarios, and developed and tested prototypes to create a completely future-proof system.
Covering Agreements, Invoicing and Reporting, Unitas Income Tracker (UNIT) was developed to provide a single source of truth between Unitas, their members and their suppliers.
One key area of the system is Agreements. Unitas Trading Controllers use this area of the system to configure agreements between members and suppliers. Trading Controllers contact members and suppliers, and negotiate deals according to their requirements. Once agreements are made between the supplier and their members the trading agreement will be recorded in the system.
The trading agreement tab is split into sections depending on the services offered by the supplier or member. Events, Food Service and Trade are physical services whereas areas such as Total Marketing, Retail Activities, Digital Enhancements are more focused around corporate activity. Within each trade agreement is a space to add Activities such as an Trade Show.
Invoicing can be applied to all agreements to ensure that all income is accurately reflected in records. Where applied, all financial data from invoicing will then be fed into UNIT’s reporting.
The reporting side of UNIT provides a complete overview of all financial activity surrounding agreements. This area also accommodates the different frequency with which Unitas invoice — quarterly, annually, monthly, or by period — organised into a total of 17 periods over a year.
All of the data stored here then feeds into Unitas’ overall financial activity, including their forecasted revenue and how much they have been invoiced, and is visualised in a dashboard view. UNIT also provides comparisons to last year, which allows Unitas to track performance with granular detail. Reports also give Unitas the granularity to configure agreement data according to which members are excluded from which agreements.
The system meets the requirements of Unitas and has facilitated the overall digitisation of the organisation’s processes.
Processed through UNIT, an agreement is a single source of truth, with all the relevant documents being securely stored within this agreement. All the documents that are signed off by the suppliers are scanned in and uploaded using this software.
Trading Controllers now have a centralised space for recording all data pertaining to planned agreements, and, with the ability to upload additional documents and share these materials, they can ensure that all the relevant materials are included in an agreement before it is reviewed.
By translating these complex business processes into highly visual screens like the dashboard, Unitas also has greater confidence in their decision making and is able to pinpoint areas for improvements through the system's accessible interface.
Unitas Members who have viewed the system have also been highly impressed with its functionality and have shown a strong interest in using the system themselves in the future. Such interactions highlight the real benefit that this system could bring to Unitas clients, where it would also act as a single source of truth throughout all trade agreements.
With the success of this project, Unitas has committed to moving forward with additional phases of the project.