Prolifics Helps Fedway Associates Inc. Create an Omni-Channel Portal App


Fedway Associates Inc., New Jersey’s largest liquor and wine distributor, uses its omni-channel portal app to easily locate products, automate manual processes to improve workflow efficiency, and enhance the customer experience. Kirk Wolthouse, Vice President of Marketing Services, talks about how Prolifics helped Fedway Associates prepare its app for market in under 6 months, while making the process quick, efficient, and cost-effective.


Kirk Wolthouse, VP, Marketing Services, Fedway Associates, Inc.

I’m Kirk Wolthouse. I’m Vice President of Marketing Services for Fedway Associates, Inc. Fedway is the largest liquor and wine distributor in the state of New Jersey. Our annual sales are over $700 million, we are regulated by the government, and we have about 7,000 customers. We sell 10,000 SKUs to them.

We have WebSphere Portal, WebSphere Commerce, and when we started investigating to go to an app, we leveraged all of our previous IBM technology, going to mobile first, and then using mobile first to leverage all of our prior investments, which made us get an app out in—I think it was under 6 months. Quickly, efficiently, and most importantly, cost-effectively.

We didn’t work with IBM directly; we worked with one of their business partners, Prolifics. We’ve been partnered with them since 2007. It’s been a great relationship. They really care about our customer needs and what IBM has to offer in pushing technology and our business forward. With their training with IBM, the can bring solutions to us and help push our business forward.

MobileFirst, for us, was a natural evolution. In a business that has a lot of pencil and paper and long-time owners, we could sit still. But when the next generation came, we wouldn’t have been ready. So in 2007, we started, with the end goal of having an app and being the first guys in the marketplace with an application. So when the assistant manager becomes the manager, he already knows our system and our way of doing business. And that’s what MobileFirst brought for us.

Being an IBM business partner where all of our software’s running on it, we’re able to get an app out, deployed, and tested in under 6 months. Not only to be the first to the market, but also be first in class. Customer response is that we have the same exact app as Amazon, and for a small liquor distributor in New Jersey, that’s a tremendous complement that they already knew how to use our store.

Inside the app, you press a button to scan. It leverages the camera inside the device to a bar code, then reads the bar code and searches our database for that UPC to pull up that item in our app, with our pricing, promotions, and displays available. And to have that information available at their fingertips 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, without a phone call in to our call centre, our sales force, our sales management, has been valuable—not only for us to cut down some of the workforce needs, but also for them to get the information back as fast as possible.

I would recommend MobileFirst to any one of my friends. The ease to bring it to market, to be able to have apps for both Google and iPhones right out of the gate, from the same set of code and without different testing, was an amazing experience. Business partnering with Prolifics and us running lean and mean on this project, we were able to get it out very happy with it.