Digitizing for success: The Adobe Acrobat advantage at Atlantic Grocery Distributors

Atlantic Grocery Distributors Ltd. (AGD)

Leveraging digital tools to streamline business and boost productivity

Atlantic Grocery Distributors Ltd. (AGD) is the largest wholesale distributor in Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada consisting of over 20,000 grocery and food service products and servicing over 2,000 food service and retail operations. AGD employs around 1500 people, including in their warehouses, supermarkets, bakeries, and delivery trucks, along with 60 people in their head office alone. Despite their scale, the company discovered they were only skimming the surface of a technological treasure trove they had yet to fully leverage: Adobe Acrobat Pro.

Leigh Phillips, the company's executive coordinator, recognized the untapped potential in AGD’s existing Acrobat Pro license. Understanding the many ways Acrobat Pro could transform the company's workflow, Phillips took the initiative to elevate the company’s use of this powerful software.

Transforming business operations using Acrobat Pro

Phillips championed Acrobat and its capabilities within AGD by leveraging the software's diverse tools and functions to create new systems and forms that have significantly streamlined AGD's workflow. "Acrobat Pro is extremely easy to use and makes it very easy to collaborate — even with users with a large disparity between skill levels," Phillips says.

This ease of use, combined with the substantial time savings — an estimated 2–4 hours per week — reinforced the value Acrobat brings to AGD. Today, the software is no longer seen as just an additional tool but an integral part of the company's operations.

Atlantic Grocery Distributors Ltd. (AGD) truck.

Introducing digital solutions in a company with a diverse workforce can present unique challenges. AGD's team is comprised of a wide mix of individuals, some of whom have been with the company for decades. As such, some employees are not naturally inclined toward adopting new digital tools — but Phillips was undeterred.

She bridged this gap by personally demonstrating Acrobat’s user-friendly nature, making it a vital tool for all employees. This seamless transition has helped her create a digitized warehouse of institutional knowledge by converting vital files into PDFs and saving them for easy access. This will ensure that, as new operational systems are created or legacy employees retire, others at AGD can come up to speed much faster than before.

In addition, says Phillips, “This saves me an estimated hour each week. Instead of finding and sending files to people, they can now search for the documents and print or share themselves.” Acrobat has been critical in optimizing AGD's operational dynamics, making information sharing swift and efficient while instilling a greater sense of ownership among employees.

Atlantic Grocery Distributors Ltd. (AGD) facility.

Digitizing procurement with Acrobat Pro

A prime example of the company's Acrobat Pro revolution is in AGD's procurement team, who is responsible for sourcing and managing product inventory. Previously, these logistics presented a significant challenge given the high costs associated with procurement in Newfoundland and the need to ensure that requested products would in fact be purchased once in the warehouse.

AGD introduced a digitized Letter of Intent (LOI) system with the help of Acrobat. In the past, procurement documents were handwritten, scanned, emailed, or physically delivered, a time-consuming and error-prone process. Today, these LOIs are easily filled, signed, and shared digitally with the customer and AGD procurement and sales teams. This digital bridge ensures a commitment from all parties involved, eliminating the need for AGD to chase paper trails.

Streamlining compliance and hiring practices

Compliance and employee onboarding processes can be complex and time-consuming, especially for companies with a large and widespread workforce like AGD. Phillips and her team discovered that Acrobat Pro could be a valuable ally in these areas, too.

AGD is responsible for conducting PCI (Payment Card Industry) compliance training, a critical process to ensure the company is not at risk for insurance purposes. This process requires the management and distribution of multiple documents, which in the past Phillips had to send separately. Instead, she uses Acrobat Pro to easily combine the files into one comprehensive document, allowing her to reduce the potential for confusion, make changes, provide missing information, and, ultimately, avoid non-compliance.

In the human resources realm, Acrobat Pro plays a significant role. AGD partnered with an organization to recruit and onboard new immigrants from Ukraine, and relied on Acrobat Pro's electronic signature function extensively to complete contracts, non-disclosure agreements, and orientation material that required signatures before each new hire’s arrival. Acrobat Pro’s e-signatures expedited the onboarding-at-a-distance process, ensured its validity, and provided a hassle-free experience for all involved.

Acrobat Pro's bulk sending feature has been instrumental in managing AGD’s contracts and documents — a particularly valuable function when dealing with large teams. Phillips has used this feature to reach the entire sales team simultaneously, ensuring everyone receives the same form or letter at the same time.

These specific use cases underscore the transformative role that Acrobat Pro has played at AGD. It has simplified their compliance and hiring practices, as well as enhanced their ability to communicate, organize, and operate more efficiently.

"Acrobat Pro is incredibly intuitive and helpful," Phillips says. "With it, we've really upped our level of professionalism from our previous methods — with our customers, our vendors, and with each other."

Acrobat Pro: a game-changer for AGD

The relationship between AGD and Acrobat Pro is a perfect example of how the right digital tools can catalyze significant operational change. Thanks to the dynamic vision of Phillips, AGD is now leveraging Acrobat Pro to its fullest extent — and, as more employees become familiar with it, AGD will continue to explore its potential for further innovation and improvement in their business operations.