Flanagan's Enters a New Era
Nearly four decades old, Flanagan Foodservice has stepped onto a path of evolution and continuous improvement in order to serve its customers even better.
It started with a major rebranding about a year ago (you've probably seen the new logo on their trucks), which set in motion important changes at the nation's largest Canadian-owned and independent foodservice distributor.
The company was founded and built by Joe Flanagan in 1977, and it's a point of pride that family values continue to determine how they serve customers today.
"Those values are the essence of who we are," says President Dan Flanagan.
This past September Flanagan's opened a new central office at 145 Otonabee Drive in Kitchener. The location is ideal as it is located right next door to the Kitchener branch.
"The catalyst was simply a need for more space, but we were also driven by the need to evolve in how we can better serve our customers. The history of our company is one of growth, and as we continue to expand the question has always been how are we going to grow efficiently and manageably?"
Guided by the Flanagan brothers and their team, a study was undertaken of everyone's responsibilities and a plan was drawn out.
"My brothers and I knew theoretically how it would work, but we took a lot of time to make sure that it was practical and easily understood by everyone else involved", Dan says.
As the Kitchener Branch became its own unique entity, Barry Reid was promoted from Director of National Accounts to Vice President and General Manager of the Kitchener branch.
From there, human resources, category managers, IT, accounting, marketing and national accounts, which work across the entire company, were moved to the new office. "It's a real benefit for all of Flanagan's, and its customers, as we can think more broadly in terms of all of our branches," Dan adds.
Though the changes are significant, Dan points out that many details are the same. "My phone extension is still the same as it was before, so when you call you get a hold of me. We wanted to ensure that communication remains easy for our customers."
Coincidentally, with the physical improvements have come some other key personnel changes as well - and perhaps bittersweet ones.
Dan's brothers - Murray, Rick, and Jeff - have decided to retire from their day-to-day roles at Flanagan's. However they will remain as shareholders and advisors to the Flanagan board of directors. "Because of their wealth of experience in the business, I anticipate the need to consult with them on a fairly regular basis. You can't train for that," Dan notes.
"We've had to put some other new people in place as well. Paul Keery was hired as chief operating officer and Ernest Krawetz was promoted from Vice President of Information Technology to Senior Vice President with responsibility for both finance and I.T."
The new organization means greater clarity, says Dan. "It's clearer who is doing what and it is now consistent across all three branches. And, we are now even better positioned to be able to support the work done at all locations."
The move to a refurbished office in the neighbouring building and the internal personnel changes are part of Flanagan's growth plan: it's a drive to improve and expand the company's presence in the industry and in the individual communities in Ontario that they serve. It has been well received by customers, says Flanagan.
"Our customers value highly the relationships we have with them and the work we do. We want to do an even better job at getting them the products they ordered on time and at the right price.
The changes mean we can do that even better and maintain the core values on which Flanagan has been built and continues to evolve," says Flanagan. And customers will always be able to pick up the phone and talk to us like they always have been."
If you have any questions, please contact Dan Flanagan at 519-748-2190 or 1-800-265-6550, ext. 1100. You can also reach him by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.