Case study Distribution and transport

Shared values drive long-term partnership

Waterstons’ unique partnership approach delivers real value to Henry Colbeck, the UK’s oldest family owned supplier to the fish and chip and takeaway shop market.

Waterstons’ customer for almost 20 years, Henry Colbeck values personal relationships and a partnership working model with its customers; giving customer satisfaction the highest priority. These shared values and total trust between us are the cornerstones of our partnership, which continues to deliver value at both an operational and strategic level.


Henry Colbeck is a diverse business, with a wide variety of operational functions. From warehouse operations for both ambient and chilled products, sourcing and packing specialised oils for their customers, fleet management of their own trucks, telesales, marketing, administration, and even recycling used cooking oil for the manufacture of biodiesel and aviation fuel, their business is both fascinating, and complex.

Managing all of these functions naturally requires a huge amount of technology to be provided; with 24/7 operations it’s vital that systems are high-performance, reliable, and available to users across both sites at all times.

Waterstons’ relationship with Henry Colbeck is a close one, and for good reason. As businesses, we share similar values – putting customer satisfaction at the forefront of everything we do; building long-term, close relationships with customers, suppliers and partners; always being willing to go ‘the extra mile’ for a customer when they need us; and giving sound, strategic advice and support – both Henry Colbeck and Waterstons would say of their customers that ‘their success is our success’.

'We know that in our hour of need, Waterstons are there when we need them'

Working in Partnership

Henry Colbeck have trusted Waterstons to look after their operational IT equipment and systems for many years; but our relationship has grown beyond the day-to-day activities of our dedicated site management team and service desk. We work closely with Henry Colbeck’s senior management to chair regular strategy meetings where business opportunities, potential business projects, IT estate performance, and forthcoming technology changes are discussed. These regular meetings are vital to ensure that any systems or technology changes are identified as early as possible, so that they can be effectively planned, implemented and integrated.

Over the last few years, Henry Colbeck has seen what has been described as ‘the biggest change in 125 years of business’; the selection and implementation of a brand new, business wide ERP system. Over a period of more than two years, a robust procurement exercise was carried out, business processes mapped and improved, and the chosen system implemented successfully.

Waterstons’ deep understanding of Henry Colbeck’s business and their trust in us to always put their success first means we work closely with other technology and systems suppliers to support them in delivering solutions that add real value to their business. From voice-picking in the warehouse, CCTV and access control or the recently implemented data warehouse and PowerBI analytics, Waterstons’ focus is on ensuring Henry Colbeck get the best possible outcomes regardless of the business opportunity presented; and we work on their behalf to engage with their suppliers and partners to do so; in fact it’s often been said that ‘it’s difficult to see where Henry Colbeck ends and Waterstons begins’, so close is our partnership.


Henry Colbeck is a business that’s continuously evolving, developing new products and services for its customers, and always seeking ways to improve efficiency, reduce waste, or add value to its offerings. With Waterstons as their partner, technology and systems are always considered alongside any business opportunity, ensuring minimal risk and maximum return on investment.

In 126 years, Henry Colbeck has never failed to dispatch goods from either of its depots – which makes IT all the more important in ensuring they provide their customers with the highest level of service and quality; and partnerships like ours play a part in making that possible. With responsive technical support, appropriate systems, and accurate business insights delivered in real-time, Henry Colbeck’s customers benefit from their ability to respond, to adapt, and to deliver on time, every time.

Click here to watch our Customer Success Story made in partnership with Henry Colbeck

I would say it's critical that we share our values. I think we are closely aligned with Waterstons in many respects
Paul Holliday Managing Director

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you continue without changing your settings, we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies. However, you can change your cookie settings at any time. For further information about how we use cookies and how to change your settings, please read our Cookie Notice

I'm fine with this