The history of Holt Farm
Brook Farm is a third generation family farm run by the Thompson family in Great Oakley in North Essex.
Founded in 1948, they have gradually expanded over the last 70 years and are now market leaders in specialist products for the wholesale markets and food service sector.
They deliver to a wide variety of restaurants in London, including supplying their own spring onions and cabbage to the Chinese restaurant market in London.
They have even started to make their own spirits in the form of gin and the Chinese spirit, Baijiu.
Unfortunately, due to COVID-19, Brook Farm had to quickly pivot their business from B2B to B2C/D2C; setting up a fruit and veg box delivery scheme with free delivery to homes in the Colchester area. And then Holt Farm was born!
They even began promoting other local suppliers on their website; delivering their goods to customers as part of the veg box offering. This included meat, baked goods and wine from a local vineyard.
This was done on a cost neutral basis to ensure that Brook Farm could continue to employ some of their staff, whilst ensuring the local community has access to fresh food.
Their new strategy quickly proved a success, with their initial orders of roughly 30 a day quickly increasing to 160!
Whilst Holt Farm was benefiting the local community and keeping their business running, the process was not easy. They quickly realised their website was not set up for the volume of B2C/D2C orders they were receiving, and manipulating the order data and route plans was becoming a significant challenge.
In fact, the planning process for each delivery day was taking roughly 1.5 days a week, and resulted in members of the team working long hours, often until midnight, organising the deliveries for the next day.
Holt Farm knew there had to be a better way, so they spoke to another local vegetable delivery company, who recommended they contact MaxOptra for help.
The entire process was incredibly quick, and after the initial demonstration, MaxOptra had Holt Farm implemented and up and running in just two days.
In fact, with the use of MaxOptra, the process of organising orders and planning routes has now decreased from 1.5 days to 2.5 hours – an 80% time saving!
As well as saving time and making individual roles more manageable, MaxOptra has helped Holt Farm offer a far superior delivery service, with more accurate delivery schedules, and the ability to give customers estimations of when their order will be delivered.
Holt Farm are aware that they will need to continue to adapt to what the future holds, and as shopping habits change. However, they are excited for the possibilities that MaxOptra has opened up for them and hope that with the benefit of the planning and delivery solutions that MaxOptra has provided, Holt Farm is here to stay for the foreseeable future.
"MaxOptra provides a solution that we didn't even think was possible without having the budget of larger supermarkets. For those who don't have millions to invest, MaxOptra offers a fantastic solution that has saved us considerable amounts of time, money and stress"