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Fresh Produce Group Saving About $1 Million a Year After Migrating to NetSuite
October 20, 2009
 
By Patrick Barnard, Group Managing Editor, TMCnet
Fresh Produce Group, which runs a chain of retail produce stores in Australia, is the latest company to improve its operations and boost profits using NetSuite’s (News - Alert) cloud-based business software.

Prior to adopting NetSuite, the company was using a patchwork quilt of legacy software solutions, including a DOS-based financial system which was actively used by only a handful of accounting staff, and Excel spreadsheets which were used to compile forecasting and inventory.

The company decided it was time to overhaul its technology in order to gain new efficiencies, as well as to save money on support costs. From the get-go it recognized that it needed a solid platform from which to manage all its activities – from the farm packing shed through to logistics and on to the customer.

What’s more, because many of the FPG’s employees work out of the office, the company realized that it needed an Internet-based, software as a service (SaaS (News - Alert)) or “cloud”-based model for “anytime and anywhere” access. Many of its farmers, traders and managers use a range of devices to access the business -- so the mobility and accessibility of the NetSuite system weighed heavily in the decision.

In addition, the company needed a system that could integrate all of the data from its offices in Australia and Asia – and unify its network that spans from farms in California to restaurants in Sydney to supermarkets in Thailand. It also needed a system that could provide timely reporting, more accurate data, and improved visibility into all operations for the purpose of making employees more accountable in their roles.

"It is critical in the perishable produce industry to be able to know all attributes of our stock in real-time,” said Fresh Produce Group Director Leon Condon in a release. “We were looking for visibility and control leading to improved profitability. We had to become a technologically advanced business."

"NetSuite has contributed significantly to our business," Condon added. "After 18 months FPG's net profit margin has improved by 100 percent. It has helped identify and eliminate overhead expenses, which is saving approximately $1 million per year."

"With NetSuite we were able to deploy rapidly and then customize to our liking as we gained visibility and understanding of our business,” he added. “Rapid deployment also meant faster access to the information we needed to start making changes and getting returns."

Measurement of staff activities, processes, stock and trading performance are essential to FPG.  "What gets measured gets done, gets changed, gets improved," Condon said.

Seventy of FPG's 100 employees are licensed on the system and can now see the business end-to-end, in real-time and play their part in providing better decision making.

The NetSuite dashboard functionality has been progressively implemented and FPG now runs a scoreboard for the whole group, down to individual KPIs. The workflow collaboration tool means that everyone upstream now has full knowledge of the impact of their actions on downstream colleagues.

"Our NetSuite technology platform has been reviewed by an independent party who has confirmed that it is giving us a significant advantage and sets us up for growth,” Condon said. “It's paid for itself several times over."
 

Patrick Barnard is a contributing writer for TMCnet. To read more of Patrick’s articles, please visit his columnist page.

Edited by Patrick Barnard

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