New beginnings for Foodstuffs North Island

Foodstuffs is New Zealand’s biggest grocery distributor and one of the country’s largest business organisations. Founded in Auckland in 1922, the company now comprises two 100% New Zealand-owned co-operatives. Formed in 1924 Four Square is widely recognised for its iconic “Cheeky Charlie, the Four Square Man” imagery. There are now 205 Four Square stores throughout New Zealand.


The Challenge

Four Square’s portable data terminal (PDT) ordering system was at the end of its life. As the brand-wide means of ordering product from Foodstuffs’ distribution centres, the PDT system was reliant on difficult-to-repair 25-year-old technology and dial-up modems that were prone to failure. Not only did the struggling technology make orders prone to error but it also did not allow stores to review their orders and make corrections.

The Datacom Difference

Datacom delivered Foodstuffs a new order management system built on Amazon Web Services. 

That new system supported retail teams in Four Square stores to place orders for products from the Four Square distribution centres. Delployment and staff training in the new system across all 205 stores was completed in only one month. The application proved so intuitive, requiring only a 30-minute over-the-phone training session, that just one support person was found to be necessary. From previously using a system that had not been fit for purpose, Four Square store owners can now review and edit their orders before transmission so easily they can delegate the process to their staff, improving their skill set and work input in the process.


The service improvements were immense. The previous system was cumbersome and extremely manual. 

The new system has proven to be intuitive - it  makes it easier for teams to use and has reduced errors. The brand's former error rate of more than 75% for orders submitted has dropped to less than 10% ; this means substantial time savings in remedial investigations for Four Square store owners.

The Four Square stores also report further savings from now having visibility of cost, pricing and promotion data, which has improved their ability to order the right amounts of product at the right time. One pilot store reported an increase in weekly turnover of $2,000 due to the improvement the application has made to their buying decisions. 

"We have gone from the Stone Age to the Space Age"

Four Square franchise manager