Reynolds Catering spurs innovation for national business with Infor M3

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For four generations, the Reynolds family has been expanding its produce distribution company and is now a leading fresh produce supplier to the UK foodservice industry, providing more than 3,000 different types of fresh produce and chilled foods from around the world to UK businesses. The company's steady growth has made for a successful brand, but also developed a sprawling organizational network with multiple product lines, a growing fleet, and disparate supply chain systems.

Reynolds processes more than 3,200 orders for fresh produce daily in order to meet the needs of the UK’s leading casual dining companies. The company’s legacy ERP and supply chain systems strained to handle the workload. Infor M3 helped break down operational silos and streamline processes. Reynolds has upgraded its Infor M3 system to add new functionality around invoicing, inbound delivery management, and more.

Reynolds Logo

Waltham Cross, UK 

Food and Beverage 

Infor product 
Infor® M3 


Having embedded Infor M3 at the core of our operation, we are now firmly fixed on making sure we lead the industry when it comes to customer service and developing new offerings.”

Keeping up a furious pace

Some of the biggest names in casual dining in the UK—such as ASK, Pizza Express, Pret-A-Manger, and the Ivy Restaurant Group, and hotel groups such as Accor—rely on Reynolds to supply them with the highest quality fresh produce every day. The company has always risen to that challenge, aiming for stellar service and responsiveness that their clients and partners have come to expect. Reynolds is a family business with a 200,000 sq. ft., temperature controlled national distribution facility at Waltham Cross, near London, and six regional depots. It processes more than 3,200 orders daily, spanning some 62,000 sales order lines and more than 3,000 different products. This equates to approximately 12,000 buffet boxes and 50,000 whole cases on average per day, packed in a 7-hour shift and then delivered by a fleet of 200 vehicles. The entire stock of the business is turned over within 36 hours. Reynolds’ legacy ERP and supply chain systems strained to handle this heavy workload and needed to be replaced. After reviewing its options, Reynolds chose Infor M3 to meet its business needs throughout its warehouse, call center, supply chain, and finance departments.

Business challenges

  • Legacy ERP slows down operations

  • Strained supply chain system creates order backlog

  • Siloed operational data keeps workflow from being optimized

  • Accelerated data sprawl puts increased strain on network management

Meeting the need for efficiency

Reynolds chose Infor M3 because it delivered the functionality to manage the complexity of food distribution including the challenges associated with the short shelf life of chilled products. For example, the application’s unique re-inspection time and sales time features enable Reynolds to reclassify and adjust shelf life at both item and lot level, which has reduced the risk of product waste. Reynolds also appreciated the order capture capabilities of Infor M3, which the company has used to develop a quick but robust order entry system. This is vital given that Reynolds handles approximately 1,000 manual orders every day, with an average of 22 lines per order.

New developments

Reynolds has embedded Infor M3 at the very foundation of its business development. For the finance department, M3 has delivered a substantial improvement in the speed and detail of reporting, which has led to better credit control and a reduction in debtor days. The increased detail M3 provides has improved decision making across the company and led to a reinvention of critical processes—going from a siloed, functional department approach to one with end-to-end processes spanning departments. By implementing end-to-end processes with Infor M3, Reynolds has found ways to become more efficient.

One area of increased efficiency is in the way the company packs cases. Richard Calder, Reynolds’ IT Director, explains: “We ship 12,000 individual cases a day, with approximately ten items per case. If we can improve box fill, we improve efficiency. A reduction of around 1,000 cases per night would lead to a six-figure improvement, but there is a trade-off against what can be feasibly done given the changing nature of orders and ensuring produce quality. Hence why we need input from across the teams.”

Another example involves the introduction of RFID crate tracking. Reynolds faced substantial costs for unreturned plastic crates and needed an automated system that would match each crate to a given pick list and then show the crate itself as having been checked out and back in again. As the cost of RFID tags has decreased, the technology has become more feasible for this project. Now, Reynolds’ customers who don’t return crates can be identified and the situation rectified, thanks to M3. 

We have to continually evolve and look for a better way forward. We’ve found that with Infor M3.”

Innovation at the core

Reynolds prides itself on innovation across all areas of the business. Most recently the Reynolds team worked with IT partner Columbus to replace its legacy data warehouse, installed in 2010, and responsible for managing huge data volumes – 100s of millions of rows of data. The cost of ongoing maintenance became unmanageable. Now with a new infrastructure (built on Apache Kafka and SQL Server) Reynolds has a data warehouse which can handle an on-premises or cloud IT infrastructure to provide future flexibility. Ongoing costs have been slashed by more than 90% with a huge reduction on the number of licenses needed based on a reduction in the number of cores from 64 down to just four on a virtual server.

As well as undertaking a project to implement Infor OS to provide a better, more intuitive user experience, Reynolds has developed an in-house application called REY-HUB, pulling information from Infor M3 to provide customers with near real-time visibility of product and order availability and status. REY-HUB enables individual restaurants to monitor their orders, alerting customers to changes to order status and any unavailable products, for example, advising them of substitutions in plenty of time, allowing them to change any plans accordingly.

As Calder explains: “We’re providing a consumer-level experience to restaurants, something that you don’t often see in a B2B environment. With Infor M3, we have the right information at the right time to enable us to do this. We’ve also been able to develop REY-HUB Central, which acts as a self-service logistics portal, delivering key supply chain information relating to multiple restaurants, making it the ideal tool for those at head office level, underpinning more informed decision-making for our customers when it comes to areas such as inventory, logistics and transportation.”

“Our new developments and innovations are clear examples of the fact that in this industry, you must exploit the opportunities presented by new technology, even if those changes appear small at first,” says Calder. “We have to continually evolve and look for a better way forward. Having embedded Infor M3 at the core of our operation, we are now firmly fixed on making sure we lead the industry when it comes to customer service and developing new offerings, providing optimum levels of service to each and every one of our customers with innovation at the heart of everything we do.”

Business results

  • Rapid order data capture streamlines operational workflow
  • Returns automation provides ongoing cost reduction
  • End-to-end process oversight reduces errors and improves efficiencies
  • Improved customer service secures a more loyal client base

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