As one of Carlisle’s most popular food retailers, Christmas can be a busy and sometimes challenging time for the team at Pioneer.

The Brief

In order to ensure their customers have all they need to create the perfect Christmas dinner, Pioneer run a pre-order service for turkeys and other food ready for the big day. In the past, this was a manual process which consisted of a paper order form that was filled in by customers and later entered into a spreadsheet by an employee.

Not only was this proving inefficient and open to human error, but with three stores (each with separate order lists), it was difficult to effectively gain a complete overview of what was needed and allocate stock accordingly. Add to this several incidents where the spreadsheet had become corrupt, and Pioneer knew they had to find a better approach.

Our Approach

Nighthawk Software was approached in 2021 to provide a solution for the problem Pioneer found themselves with, and adding to the challenge was the fact we were approached in late summer meaning time was tight!

Pioneer wanted a web-based system to replace the spreadsheets and enable managers across all stores to input orders directly into one single system, with stock automatically allocated to each store as needed.

With Pioneer needing to start accepting orders from 1st November, we had just two months to get the system designed, built, tested, and live!

With the gauntlet thrown down, we got to work and by the end of the two month deadline, we were able to deliver the perfect web-based solution for their needs.

Our solution followed a similar format to the paper order forms already in use, meaning that the interface was easily understandable by staff and required minimum training. We also incorporated Pioneer’s brand colours which reflect the colours used within their brochures.

The simple web interface made it easy for users to find and order items, with frequently ordered items highlighted prominently, and everything else available for pre-order easily searchable.

The back-end stock management system also ensures it is easy to add new products, control pricing, and enter stock availability giving the team at Pioneer complete control over their stock and prices.

The Outcome

The system we developed proved a big success and helped make a busy time of year for the team at Pioneer a little easier and far less stressful. Orders could be easily located when due for collection and stock levels enforced to prevent over ordering.

The real value of the system began to show the following year, when Pioneer began planning for Christmas 2022. With more accurate information to hand they were able to review demand for each item meaning that less popular lines could be dropped to concentrate on the more popular items.

In Summer 2022 Pioneer were back in touch to expand the system ready for the next christmas period. With additional pickup locations available and the need to keep last year’s data for refrence, it was a fairly simple project, which will provide powerful results in terms of reporting. With the ability to compare purchasing patters vs previous years, Pioneer can gain even greater insights in to their business and pick up on changing trends.

The following year, Pioneer were back in touch to expand the system ready for the next Christmas period..
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