GoAnywhere Supports Excellent Customer Services with Easy-to-Use MFT and EDI

Industry: Foodservice Logistics

The Harbor Foods Group, parent company of Harbor Wholesale and Harbor Foodservice, has served the Northwest U.S. for nearly 100 years, delivering food products, foodservice programs, store design, and more to convenience stores, neighborhood markets, quick-serve, chain, and full-service restaurants, as well as to healthcare locales. Headquartered in Lacey, Wash., their distribution centers are located in and around the communities they serve in Washington, Oregon, Idaho, northern California, and Alaska.

GoAnywhere Easily Replaces Legacy File Transfer Process; Provides EDI Too

Harbor Foods transfers about 1,000 files a week to their customers and vendors, including purchase orders, shipping and confirmation receipts, invoices, pricing guides, sales summaries, and regulatory reporting details from their web server to their warehouses and to their end customers. They need their file transfer solution to help them deliver the high level of customer service for which they are known.

When the company acquired a portion of Food Services of America’s business in 2019, they also inherited a 20-year-old legacy file transfer process. This particular process was not as efficient, flexible, or sustainable as Harbor Foods needed for the amount and types of files exchanged throughout their fast-moving foodservice operations. Maintaining or trying to replicate this system would eventually bog down and diminish their quality customer service.

Harbor Foods had a choice to make to ensure the service on which they pride themselves could be delivered as expected. They could either maintain and customize their legacy file transfer solution by hiring an application developer or contract it out at about $200/hour, or they could seek out a more efficient, robust file transfer solution.

In selecting GoAnywhere Managed File Transfer (MFT), Harbor Foods not only now securely transfers the many types of files the fast-paced fresh foods industry exchanges daily, but they also take advantage of the solution’s powerful EDI capabilities.

When evaluating potential solutions, Angie Finnell-French, Business Intelligence Developer, Harbor Foods, checked out reviews on peer review site, G2 before testing a full version of GoAnywhere. Harbor Foods primarily sought to replace the day-to-day functionality of its legacy file transfer system. “ It was critical that to the solution we chose could query directly to databases, in particular DB2 and SQL, and be able to take all our purchase orders, invoices, shipping receipt files and more and convert them for distribution to our customers using multiple methods, primarily FTP and email,” added Finnell-French.

GoAnywhere was ultimately selected for two key reasons: ease of implementation and its competitive pricing structure .“I was so impressed that in less than 20 minutes I was able to mirror what we were doing in the legacy system. I have a developer background, which of course helped, but just by using the online help and the built-navigation as it was designed, I was shocked at how easy and intuitive GoAnywhere was,” said Finnell-French. She added, “The affordability of EDI with GoAnywhere is also a plus. All other systems we looked at charge per transaction. With the amount of back and forth that we do, this cost factor frees us from having to pay for each transmission,” noted Finnell-French.

With dozens of parts in motion, the organization counts on GoAnywhere to help their business run smoothly and to provide the excellent customer service their customers and vendors have come to expect. The reliability, accuracy, and security has not gone unnoticed across the organization as a very usable solution that can save both time and money on the development side.

When Finnell-French is asked whether GoAnywhere can be leveraged for a given project, her answer was always “yes”, and the results justify that response. “It has simply exploded across the organization,” she stated. “For example, our EDI developer didn’t like the third-party tools we were using to interface with vendors and customers requesting true EDI, so we added GoAnywhere’s EDI to our instance. The more we use it, the more it gets noticed and used in ways not originally purchased for, which add to our ROI. We’re continually adding to our library of uses across the company for GoAnywhere.”

Real-time, Detailed Debugging Speeds Project Development

Spending less time on fixes also helps the IT team focus on the broader types of projects that support how Harbor Foods serves their end customers. “While working with Advanced Workflows on projects, the real-time debugging has truly sped up development,” said Finnell-French. “I get very verbose and detailed information on any project errors and can see right down to the string and field causing the issue, making it much easier to target and fix the error. The solution tells me exactly what I need to do every step of the way with detailed changes in variables along the way.”

Finnell-French also appreciates the responsiveness and knowledge of GoAnywhere’s support team. “We always get a response within 24 to 48 hours and it’s usually with a ‘we’ve looked into this, here’s some examples of how to correct it,’ detail. There has been nothing we’ve thrown at them that they haven’t been able to handle or respond to quickly.”

EDI and Balanced Workloads Add to Advantages of GoAnywhere Implementation

Harbor Foods initially began using GoAnywhere’s Advanced Workflows (or projects) on the distribution side of their operations, adding the EDI instance soon after implementation. They plan to replicate this usage on the wholesale side of their operations as well. In addition, Harbor Foods has purchased GoAnywhere’s SFTP server to replace an existing system in 2021 for a more centralized, consistent, and single solution process for inbound and outbound file transfers.

“We also took advantage of the training from GoAnywhere’s support team and, as we were already using the EDI functionality, were able to go much deeper into the processes within two to three hours of more customized training based on our needs.”

Another pleasant surprise has been the ability of GoAnywhere to balance workload, which helps keep operations flowing smoothing and wit out time-consuming interruptions, so critical in the foodservice industry. “We have hundreds of jobs running daily, distributing thousands of files. Whenever an error does happen, it has not been due to workload balance, it’s on us – someone changed security on a network folder, for example. GoAnywhere’s stability is impressive. It is a very stable platform,” noted Finnell-French.

Harbor Foods Delivers Elevated Service to Customers with Help from GoAnywhere

“Our goal as a company is to provide outstanding service to our customers. Because we need to distribute invoices and data to many customers daily, timeliness is critical. GoAnywhere lets us do that rapidly. In most cases, we’re able to elevate the level of service to our customers and around integrations,” said Finnell-French. Throughout the COVID 19 pandemic, when many companies had to pivot quickly, Harbor Foods was already rapidly adjusting due to the recent acquisition. “We needed to figure out how to quickly integrate our file transfer processes to keep service standards high, and GoAnywhere helped us navigate that piece of the puzzle seamlessly with out-of-the-box solutions.”

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