Speed and accuracy vital in supply chain

Processing orders is an essential component of doing business, but for companies in the food industry like Paulig, which manufactures and distributes perishable goods, speed and accuracy in the supply chain is critical. Additionally, the food industry is experiencing continuous growth, and companies within the industry are facing the challenge of handling increasing order volumes without adding new staff and maintaining employee satisfaction. Read more

Cloud solution makes collections easy

Overdue invoices, 90-day payments, managing cash flow – keeping the many sides of an enterprise going is key to running a successful food and beverage business.
Keeping financials in order can be a cumbersome task, especially when chasing down late payments, and trying to keep on top of a company’s own outgoings.
Eric Maisonhaute is the director of accounts receivable solutions at Esker Australia, a company that offers cloud solutions to digitise and automate order-to-cash and procure-to-pay processes. He is well aware of the pitfalls and strains that can be put on companies as they try to keep ahead of the game when it comes to balancing the books.
Esker’s portfolio of Cloud accounts receivable solutions can streamline processes to make collections easy to understand and complete. What sort of features does it offer?
“There is a solution that automates the delivery of customer invoices, proof of delivery and so on,” said Maisonhaute. “It automates the delivery of documents out of any ERP system in any format via any channel. This includes the printing of invoices to be delivered via postal mail, thanks to our local printing facility. It can also format a document according to the preferred mode of reception by the end customer i.e. paper, fax, email, e-invoicing, EDI, etc.
“Of course, delivering invoices is critical. Typically invoices need to be processed by the end customer. Esker can assist with this process with its Accounts Payable automation solution. This is followed by the payment process by the customer. On the supplier side, then both cash collection and cash reconciliation are critical. It would make the process straight forward and effective if not for discounts, disputes, and claims. That is why Esker proposes different solutions to address the various aspects of the AR process.”
In terms of the collections process, Esker offers a comprehensive collections management solution. It assists all steps of the collections process and automates the sending accounts statements or statement reminders.
“You can easily segment your customers and have different collections strategies for different groups of customers” said Maisonhaute. “We know you have your good, timely payers, but you might also have slow payers, bad payers and so on. You might want to adopt different collection strategies.
“With this solution you can set up your own rules such as when payment reminders will be emailed to customers with overdue invoices.
Based on these rules, the solution creates a personalised to-do list for each AR officer or collector. So, every day, collectors can focus their activities on engaging with customers and discuss payment issues, reasons for late or overdue payments, negotiate payment plans, etc.
This automation has saved two to three hours per week for the AR team at one of Esker’s customers, Australia’s largest crane hire company based in WA.
“What they love is that they now get all the replies from customers centralised in one place and do not have to set reminders in calendar, it now automatically pops up in their to-do list,” said Maisonhaute.
“The solution also includes internal collaboration tools to create tasks and internally collaborate with other departments. For instance, a customer might request a proof of delivery docket or claim a discount. This means it is speeding up the process of answering and helping customers and, like for our customer Temperature Equipment Corp., resolve dispute 88 per cent faster.”
The solution includes a self-service capability. This allows a company’s customers to interact with the same solution in a self-service mode. As the customer receives its accounts statement, or a payment reminder, the accounts payable officer can click on a link in the email that takes her/him to the customer portal. This enables customers to become self-sufficient, because they can go and access their invoices, download their statements online as a pdf, and can query any issues with an invoice.
“They have access to all of their invoices and accounts statements online,” said Maisonhaute. “They can then select the invoices and pay online and they can also organise a payment by credit card or bank transfer. This is helping companies collect their cash in different ways and helping your customers pay quicker by offering online payment capabilities. LinPepCo, a Pepsi-Cola franchisee, managed to get 69 per cent of its customers on AutoPay with our solution, where invoices are automatically paid on the due date.”
“For customers who continue to pay you directly from their bank account, their Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) triggers the process of EFT transfer and so on,” he said. “This is where our Cash Application Solution helps with the reconciliation of those payments. You have the payments coming into your bank account, so we ingest the bank statement first to understand what payments you have received.”
On the other hand, you might have received a remittance advice, so the solution can process it by extracting the data out of the document.
“Usually we have your list of open invoices and credits. Between those three documents – the bank statement, the remittance advice and the open invoices and credits – Esker’s AI logic automatically determines which invoices have been paid, and in what amounts,” said Maisonhaute. “This removes the manual tasks of allocating payments in the ERP. It clearly automates the cash allocation process and your team can focus on exceptions.”
Maisonhaute said the solution is intuitive and provides dashboards. There are several dashboards that provide real time information about the status of customers, divisions or companies, ageing balances, KPIs such as DSO and CEI. These metrics are essential to measure the efficiency of the collections process and the productivity of the collectors.
This helped our customer Wine Warehouse set goals and track easily how they were able to raise the CEI to 80 per cent and increase the amount of money collected by 45 per cent over a single year.
“When you log into our collections management solution you access a dashboard with your to-do list for the day – what calls you have to make, etc,” he said. “Maybe your credit manager decided that, for example, you have to follow the 90-plus day invoices, or invoices that are closed or are critical in terms of receiving a payment. That’ll be organised in the to-do list. You don’t have to waste time prioritising and deciding what they have to do, which is typically the case when you don’t have an automation solution.”
Setting up the solution only takes a few weeks. Esker consultants work with the AR team throughout the process. And once it is up and running, the time savings and ease of use will be noticeable to a company’s bottom line, according to Maisonhaute. Job satisfaction in the AR team also increases as most tedious tasks have been automated.
“We typically start with a kick-off with the team setting up the project and a time line of the tasks,” he said. “Then we run the implementation activities. It is important to note that at the beginning the IT team needs to be involved for the data integration with the ERP. Then the business teams and the operations teams are involved to validate the configurations. Then there is a testing phase, and end user training, and finally the planning for the switch to production and going live.”
Esker proposes a simple subscription pricing model for its solutions. For Collections Management the subscription fee is based on the number of transactions and invoices. For the Cash Application the subscription fee is based on the number of payments. Esker also takes the security of its clients very seriously.
“Also, back-up service is included,” he said. “All our solutions are in the cloud. Every year, Esker needs to renew its various certifications. We have large customers in various industries running our cloud solutions. We have a chief of security and of data privacy – we take it very seriously.”
The subscription fee also includes technical support and it comes with a customer experience program.
“We have a program called First Year @ Esker. This program is like a personal fitness coach for your AR processes and AR teams. From the time our customers go live, we follow them and have regular interactions with them with calls and ad-hoc training sessions throughout the year to make sure users can fully exploit the capability of the solution and that the company achieves the highest ROI,” said Maisonhaute. “We coach end users and provide best practices to drive a long lasting and effective process change. We want the user experience with our solution to be fantastic, and that is why we have such a high level of satisfaction from end users and a very high level of retention of customers.”

Software timesaver for franchisee

Building and sustaining a successful enterprise demands a keen understanding of when and how to address potential issues – turning what could be a critical weakness into a value-added strength.

As a Pepsi-Cola franchisee with 25 years in the distribution business, LinPepCo had the intuition to make a change in their accounts receivable (AR) collections process by using Esker software.

Before Esker, LinPepCo relied on a largely manual process to manage its collections. Paper was prevalent, as the team was tasked with printing statements and sending reminders by hand.

“A lot of cost and manual labour went into that,” said Jen Pfeifer, director of IT at LinPepCo. “We knew there had to be a faster, more cost-effective way to help our staff collect and our customers make payments. Esker’s TermSync product offered that solution.”
The solution

One of the biggest goals LinPepCo wanted to achieve in implementing a new solution was to utilise as few different systems and technologies as possible. Ultimately, it was Esker’s automated Collections Management solution that stood out for its robust capabilities and integration with VIP, LinPepCo’s existing software system. Esker’s business partnership with VIP meant a faster and seamless solution delivery process for LinPepCo with few resources needed to get up and running.

“Esker checked off so many boxes for us that we really had no reason to test other solutions,” said Pfeifer. “It was perfectly compatible with what we had in place and the implementation process couldn’t have been more painless. After just a few weeks of going live, we had customers and team members telling us how slick the solution was.”

Approximately 67 per cent of LinPepCo’s customer base (3,800 customers) is currently using Esker’s cloud-based solution. Nearly one in four customers are using the auto-pay feature, which has proven to be a time-saver for both the company and its customers.

“All our goals have been accomplished with Esker’s Collections Management solution. Payment reminders are being sent out electronically, our staff is more productive and proactive, and our customers are happy. Everything we were hoping for was delivered.” said LinPepCo CFO Kara Deist.

LinPepCo went live with Esker’s Collections Management solution in early 2015. Since then, the company has achieved a number of business benefits. Among these include:
Reduced day sales outstanding (DSO) – with electronic reminders being sent out and reduced manual duties, LinPepCo has significantly reduced its DSO, virtually eliminating customers in the 90- day past-due category.

Improved customer experience – due to Esker’s online portal, LinPepCo can offer its customers a number of self-service options for managing invoices; since go-live LinPepCo has seen a 69 per cent increase in auto-pay customers.

Freed up staff time – fewer administrative duties has freed up LinPepCo team members to spend more time on strategic things like managing reports, contacting customers, reconciliation and more.

Inventory software grows with herb expansion

Starting a business from scratch can be daunting. Especially when you accidentally fall into it. That’s what happened with Renae Colbert, who along with her husband Chris, started up medicinal herb business Herbal Connection six years ago.

Coming from a corporate background, Colbert wasn’t totally green to the nuances of B2B enterprise, but she was to herbs and their medicinal properties. How she came into the business was not due to a life-long ambition to be a connoisseur of herbal remedies. There was a much more practical motive.

“The reason I got into herbs was because I had a medical condition that I struggled to have traditional practitioners diagnose and help me manage,” she said. “I went looking for alternatives to try and fix that problem on my own, and in doing so I found relief in natural medicines. I credit my naturopath with getting my health back on track. I couldn’t have done that without medicinal herbs. I had such a life transformation that I knew I had to do something with it. I just knew there were so many other people that could benefit from the products.”

Initially, Colbert had designs on blending her own teas and a range of other products, but quickly realised that the wholesale side, and to a lesser degree processing, were the skill sets that she and her husband could best utilise. Six years later they now employ five full-time staff and the business keeps on growing. As with any growth, it’s important that the business side of the enterprise runs smoothly. Colbert even knew right at the beginning inventory software was a key ingredient to making Herbal Connection a business that wouldn’t cause any unnecessary issues. Thus Colbert invested in Unleashed Software.

“We were a small business, but because of where we had come from, our understanding of warehousing and what we wanted the business to be and what we wanted it to grow into, we knew we needed a robust inventory software solution,” she said. “It needed to have the ability to grow with us and have the function and features that we were going to need down the track. This is what Unleashed gave us. While we didn’t need them all of its functions at the beginning, it was great because we could start off small and then have Unleashed grow with us.”

And the aforementioned ability of the software’s features to expand as the company grew turned out to be fortuitous because the company has done exactly that.

“We had no inventory management system when we first got started and we only had maybe 150-200 SKUs,” said Colbert. “We now have in excess of 500. The business has quadrupled over that time, so it was great that we had the software which was easy to set up and use. Any time there is an update, it’s easy to update. It integrates with all of our other software, such as the eCommerce platform we run for our online presence. It also integrates with our accounting software. We made a decision right from the get-go that we were only going to use a product that spoke to everything else. I needed it to be easy.”

Being the owner of a small business means that Colbert has to wear many different hats. The last one she wanted to have was that of being an IT manager.

“I needed to know it was plug and play and it was going to work,” she said. “It’s very intuitive. If you know your way around a computer, it’s easy to figure out.”

There are a couple of features that are her favourites, including the ordering function, and it also helps out with the customised processing Herbal Connection does for certain clients.

“I find the reordering my inventory reports as one of my favourite features,” she said. “I couldn’t run the business without that ability. It’s easy. I do it once a week. I put purchase orders to my suppliers, and it is done.

“We also do production for clients. We are a certified organic producer and we have a lot of clients that want us to do their custom tea blends for them. Those blends are built into the Unleashed system and we find that particularly useful.”

Being certified organic is an important part of Colbert’s business, however not all of Herbal Connection’s products have the certification. Again, this is where Unleashed comes into play and saves the business a lot of time.

“The software gives us the ability to differentiate between what’s a certified organic product and what isn’t so when it comes to audits and things like that,” she said, “it’s easy for us to track the certified organic product coming into the warehouse and its movement through the warehouse.

“It also tells us if a product has got different blends; what order has it got added to – we get to track it all coming in and all going back out again.”

The medicinal herb market continues to be a growing space, according to Colbert. More people are becoming aware of what it means to take care of themselves and what they need to do to put their own health in their own hands.

“More people are coming to that realisation that they have to do something about it,” she said. “This particular situation – COVID-19 – only highlights that for people. We find we’ve had an uplift in business as a result of this because they are looking for things to help boost their immunity. They’re looking for things that will help support their families and keep them healthy.”

And it helps that they have an inventory software that can keep up with the increasing demand and can adapt to the company’s needs.

“As long as you have your inventory levels set up, it’s really a case of clicking the supplier, run the report and reorder. It can be that simple,” she said. “We’re all over this software. There is not one part of that software that we don’t use.”

Eloments covers all bases with Unleashed software

Starting a new company is risky – and the food and beverage industry is no exception. It pays to have done your research and development into the product you are hoping to sell.

If that isn’t hard enough, then adding in specific conditions to how the food is made produces a new set of challenges.

When Julie Hirsch and Nicole Lamond started tea company Eloments, they didn’t just want to make it different in terms of what it delivered in taste and health benefits; they also wanted to make sure that the ingredients for its range of patented vitamin- and mineral-infused teas were sourced ethically and via fair trade agreements.

“Tea is a beautiful, healthy beverage and we know that a lot of people like tea, enjoy tea, and love it for its health benefits as well as the taste,” said CEO Lamond. “It seemed like a perfect medium to add vitamins and minerals to. So, we developed Eloments, which contains nine essential vitamins in every cup.”

“We would often talk about how hard it was to focus on our health as busy professional women,” said COO Hirsch. “Sure, vitamin supplements were there, but we often forget to take them and didn’t like swallowing tablets. When we were looking at the fact that five per cent of Aussies aren’t eating enough fruit and veg for their general health, we thought we could combine our love of fair trading with our love of healthy products and put natural vitamins in a fair trade cup of tea.”

Lamond and Hirsch found it a challenge to blend the tea leaves with the natural nutrients so they could be put into teabags. They spent two years on research and development and came up with a patent-pending process on how to do it.

“We had a lot of fun blending. We partnered with members of fair trade collectives around the world to source some truly beautiful fair trade-certified ingredients,” said Hirsch. “We sourced vanilla from Madagascar, Egyptian mint and fantastic cardamom, cloves and cinnamon from Sri Lanka.”

With these range of self-imposed conditions for making sure the ingredients were sourced ethically, as well as making sure they were giving the consumer a refreshing and healthy experience, both Lamond and Hirsch knew the logistics of keeping track of all the different aspects of their business was going to be tricky. Enter Unleashed inventory software.

“When we launched the product we did a trial manufacturing run and then realised we needed a very good inventory management system,” said Hirsch. “One that could manage organic and fair trade inventory for us, such as batch numbers, multiple locations and multiple warehouses etc.”

Hirsch said the company didn’t have the time to trial any products but did do their homework on what sort of inventory system they wanted.

“We did quite a bit of research and Unleashed was the best option for us,” she said. “We started using Unleashed from the beginning. It’s a very powerful program. Once you have it set up and working well, it is easy to use.”

And what are the features that Hirsch and Lamond like best? There are a few that have piqued their interest and made life easier.

“From the sales perspective I find it absolutely fantastic for reporting sales figures,” said Lamond. “From that end of it, it is so adaptable and has a lot of great filters, so you can pull any information you want. I really like the interface too. In fact, the ease of use and the reporting are probably the two biggest things I like about it.”

Hirsch agreed, and added that, because of the way the company does business, this function is a necessity.

“Our sales are very complex,” she said. “There are seven territories around the world. We sell into Australia and the UK – both larger retailers and smaller retailers – so we need a lot of flexibility in being able to do different sales reports and sales templates for our various customers.”

Another reason Hirsch and Lamond decided to use Unleashed when they launched the business was that they knew that the business was going to take off quickly and they needed to be able to scale to demand immediately.

“We’ve been selling for about 14 months now, and we’ve got shelf spacing on more than 2,500 stores around the world,” said Hirsch. “If we had started out with an inventory management system with limited capabilities, we would have had to change it six months in. It was great how we started out straight away without having to swap it out.

“Because we are organic and fair trade certified, we have to be able to trace our product’s journey every step of the way. We need a package that has the ability to do that and Unleashed certainly does.”

Eloments’ raapid expansion means it has moved into overseas markets quickly. Again, Unleashed has helped them navigate the sometimes ever-changing landscape of exchange rates and foreign currencies.

“One thing we utilised with Unleashed was the foreign currency feature,” said Lamond. “We are buying in multiple different currencies and we’re selling in multiple different currencies, so having a programme that can support that is important.”

Hirsch explained further.

“Especially as a small Australian business, we don’t have lots of support, so it is really important and helps make the business possible,” she said. “And we can put in those different currencies and track sales and purchases directly to the Unleashed system.

“We partner with the Fair Trade Collective in Sri Lanka for most of our teas and spices. We purchase them in US dollars, Australian dollars and the UK pound. Having the flexibility to manage that in one system it makes it possible for us to run our business.”

Overall, Hirsch and Lamond are very happy with the software. Lamond has a final piece of advice.

“When you are assessing software, I would say make sure it does what you need and make sure the system you choose can meet your needs,” she said. “Unleashed ticks our boxes and is easy to use. Because when you are running a business, you don’t want to be sitting there working out how to use a piece of software. These days, software should be intuitive enough so you can mostly work out how it functions just by using it.”

Unleashed a game changer for award-winning bakery

Located an hour’s drive south of Perth, Pinjarra is a little town with a huge drawcard – its renowned bakery run by the Pantaleo family.

Founded just over 22 years ago by patriarch and former panel beater Larry, the bakery has not only put the town on the map, but has won a bookshelf-full of national awards for its pies. Its award-winning ways were capped off this year by taking out the Best Meat Pie award in the Great Aussie Meat Pie Competition at the Fine Food Australia Exhibition held in Sydney.

Like any company, growth is key, and since starting the business in 1997, Larry and the rest of his family, has grown the business to include stores in Maddington and Waroona, also in Western Australia.

However, while expansion is exciting, it does come with a set of challenges, one being more paperwork. When in its infancy, dealing with spreadsheets wasn’t a problem for the Pantaleo family. However, as the business expanded, so did the bureaucracy of keeping it running. The bakery’s general manager, Larry’s son Daniel, knew something had to be done to streamline processes with paperwork. Enter Unleashed Software’s solution.

READ MORE: Integration and easy of use key to cloud solution

“The old system that we had of dealing with the paperwork and spreadsheets was no longer going to work,” said Daniel Pantaleo. “It was very inefficient and time-consuming for us. It all came to a head when we opened our Maddington store.”

Unleashed’s inventory management software was a perfect solution for the family, and Pantaleo noticed the impact straight away.

“What we like about Unleashed is that it is a hosted solution, which means I can jump on it from anywhere in the world and I can check what is going on,” he said. “I can update my prices. I can contact my customers through the CRM. So it allows me – as someone who is here, there and everywhere at any given time of the day – to jump on any time anywhere and see what is going on. This is very important for me, because the last thing I want was a dedicated software solution on one computer at one location. A key to me was having that flexibility.”

According to Pantaleo, the system also streamlined a lot of processes that the bakery had, which were old and clunky. Many mistakes were getting made and Unleashed allowed Pantaleo to enter all the parameters he needed to cover in one place. From there, he could control the ordering of stock, see what stock he had, as well as the taking feedback from the other two stores.

“Everything became a lot clearer as to how we were operating that business,” said Pantaleo. “You need to keep control of your numbers otherwise it is pretty daunting feeling when you think you are losing control of the stock, the numbers and what is going on with that side of the business.

“Unleashed is quite precise in what it does. It is flexible, too. Not only in terms that we can operate it from anywhere, but also how you can tweak it to your style of business. It tells you everything you need to know. If you manage your stock and distribution correctly, Unleashed will do all the hard work for you. It allows you to customise and design your own purchase orders, invoices and stuff like that, which is very handy.”

Pantaleo is confident that Unleashed is capable of being used in many other industries. He said that it takes a while to set everything up, but once it is up and running it is a powerful tool.

“The biggest issue we worried about was that we had all these items that we needed to enter into it, which we thought was going to take forever,” he said. “But we were pretty much given a template of a spreadsheet and then told how we needed to enter the data. And from there, once we had the 1,000 plus items in there – the product, the supplier, the prices, the sell price tiers etc – we uploaded it to Unleashed and then we were ready to use it.”

With more than 70 staff onboard, Pantaleo knows that he is not the only one who needs to know how to use the software, which means he has had to teach others how implement it, too. He said that he has found teaching others how to use it easy for a couple of reasons.

“Unleashed is really easy to teach, because they have a lot of online training tools,” he said. “They have what they call a university that shows people how to use the software. If I do need to onboard somebody to use it, I usually send them to do that training first. From there, I manage them for a couple of days to give them pointers of the little intricacies of how we operate our business. It’s fairly straight forward.”

There are several highlights that Pantaleo points out. This includes being able to run a reorder report, which reads all the stock levels the bakery has at any given time.

“From that report you can generate a purchase order to all of your suppliers with the levels you require,” said Pantaleo. “That saves us a lot of time and this is why it is one of the main highlights of the product.”

The other feature that Pantaleo loves is its business-to-business portal that was released a year ago, which is an online ordering platform. It was a real game changer for Pinjarra Bakery.

“Initially we got Unleashed because it was reducing the paperwork, but as we increased our stores that paperwork was starting to increase again, just through the volume of the stores we had,” said Pantaleo. “Having that online portal allowed us to place our orders online and that would then pull the orders straight in as a sale order, which saves us possibly two or three hours a day of not having to enter stock manually. The orders that come in are now a lot more accurate and saved us a tonne of time and allowed our distribution manager to focus on more things to improve the distribution as opposed to being stuck behind a computer all day.”

Rockwell Automation acquires Mestech

Rockwell Automation today announced that it has acquired Mestech Services, a global provider of Manufacturing Execution Systems / Manufacturing Operations Management, digital solutions consulting, and systems integration services.

Mestech is a Rockwell Automation Recognised Systems Integrator with  experience applying Rockwell’s software-based solutions within the manufacturing technology space. The company offers technology consulting services, solutions design and deployment, support, plant asset management, and staffing solutions for discrete, hybrid, and process applications across multiple industries. Mestech, founded in 2008, is headquartered in Pune, India with operations in Germany and the United States.

READ MORE: Rockwell Automation’s TechED offers collaborative environment

“The acquisition of Mestech expands our capabilities to profitably grow Information Solutions and Connected Services globally and accelerate Rockwell’s ability to help our customers execute digital transformation initiatives,” said Matthew Fordenwalt, vice president and general manager, Systems & Solutions Business, for Rockwell Automation.

“India is one of Rockwell’s fastest growing markets and Mestech’s footprint and expertise will enable us to implement solutions faster, helping our customers increase their connectivity, efficiency, and productivity. At the same time, by joining the Rockwell family, Mestech will be able to leverage Rockwell’s products and solutions in the areas of control, process, power information solutions and industrial IoT, including FactoryTalk Innovation Suite, powered by PTC, in order to help customers develop the best possible solutions while minimizing risk.”

“We are excited about our future with Rockwell Automation, which will enable us to help more customers simplify their industrial transformations and accelerate their production timelines,” said Yatin Sankholkar, managing director, at Mestech. “Over the past decade, we have grown Mestech into one of the world’s leading manufacturing execution service providers, with a focus on technology consulting and software implementation for managing manufacturing operations. By joining forces with Rockwell, we will be able to expand our market access and offer more customers the benefit of our strong industry expertise.

Integration and ease of use key to cloud solution

Managing inventory in real-time is just one of the key features of Unleashed software, which is a cloud-based platform that is well suited to manufacturers within the food and beverage industry.

Marrying the costs of raw materials and the final products can be time-consuming. Unleashed has made it easier.

“Unleashed is an inventory management system that not only tracks products coming in from purchase orders for food manufacturers and for sales, but it also captures the average costs so we can give real-time margins and profits to customers,” said Unleashed’s New Zealand country manager, Danielle Dadello. “With the manufacturing piece sitting in the middle, we know the purchase price and the average landed price of the product and therefore, each of the components or ingredients going into the finished product.”

Unleashed can calculate how much a finished product is going to cost. It can also include things like labour costs and any additional costs in the manufacturing of products. If an item is manufactured externally by another company the software will add in the costs in real time.

Unleashed also has the ability to be integrated into the accounting software package Xero, which Dadello said is popular with its customer base. Any financial movements from purchase orders to sales orders, credits and other financial transactions can be passed from one platform to the other.

“Another highlight of Unleashed that is quite popular at the moment is B2B done in-house, where a customer can use the software to set up a B2B portal,” said Dadello. “It is possible to set up the portal to be invite-only, or it can have guest customers, so users don’t have to be logged in. But you do have to send the link of the website to the customer – it is not something you can just Google. The customer can go in and see a catalogue that is suited to them. It has a list of all the products they have purchased, with the purchase price, so they can set up pricing in the background.

“Wastage is a bugbear of many food and beverage processing factories. It is inevitable that with various batches, there will be waste of the raw ingredients or as a by-product of the final merchandise. Unleashed has a way of streamlining this process, and allows users to set up parameters such as expiry dates so the manufacturer can make sure a product is used before its use-by date arrives.

“For food and beverage manufacturing, it is really critical to have serial and batch tracking so you can see the batches coming in from the supplier and their expiry dates,” said Dadello.

“During the manufacturing process, users can track the sales orders going out the door. This means that at any given time, if there happens to be a product recall, you can manage that. You can also manage all of the stock you currently have on hand such as what is going to expire soon so you can quickly get it out the door, or use it, or manage it in a way that you’re not wasting it.”

It takes the guess work out of whether a raw material or batch is no longer fit to be put on a supermarket shelf. Unleashed will also give users prompts if a batch is about to expire.

“On the dashboard, by default, it says there is going to be a number of batches expiring in the next couple of weeks or days. It is on the dashboard, so it’s the first thing you see when you log in,” said Dadello. “They will turn red if it is going to be soon. Anything that has
already expired will also be in red.”

Unleashed also has a stock-taking feature, which is critical to keep up to date especially if a manufacturer is using multiple warehouses.

“I see a trend in food and beverage manufacturing whereby if you are not warehousing product yourself it is quite common to have a third party doing it,” said Dadello.

Users often don’t touch the stock, or maybe they only capture the finished product. Unleashed often sees businesses get into trouble when they purchase stock, which they send to a third party, but they have no idea what the stock levels actually are. They assume there is a certain amount and they get into trouble because when they find that amount is wrong it can often cause friction between the business and the third party. Unleashed fixes this by having real-time information on stock levels.

“You would still keep the manufacturing relationship you have with the third-party manufacturer. But just being able to track what you have given them, in terms of raw ingredients, and what they’ve said in terms of the sales side. If you’ve made 10 kegs of beer, being able to say, ‘I can sell 10 kegs of beer, because that is what my third party has just manufactured for me’, then you can make arrangements to sell it. However, if you only have five, then you have a problem. So, it is being able to have that traceability with that third party that can be a problem.”

Dadello said the payment model is subscription based, depending on individual needs. She said that back-up service is one of the main planks of the business and Unleashed has several different aspects to that part of its organisation.

The company has free email support for all users of Unleashed. People don’t have to be a user; they can be a prospect or a partner. The company is not going to turn anybody away. With every new medium subscription or above, it has a free four-hour onboarding resource.

It helps guide users through the tasks they need to do to help them get up and running. That is the nature of incorporating a new system – users need to know how their current business fits into the new system. And And it’s not something that can easily be documented. Every business is slightly different.

Food won’t waste away with CompuSoft’s software solutions

From paddock to plate – getting food to consumers should be seamless, but unfortunately it is often spoiled by recalls, missed use-by dates and costly mistakes. To improve a product’s journey, CompuSoft Australia has come up with a solution that allows businesses to make the most of their produce and avoid being wasted, by using a software management system.

CompuSoft developed FoodSoft – an extension to Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central – which is designed to give food suppliers, manufacturers and distributors the insight they need to operate efficiently. It can replace several existing systems, and give businesses an easy, centralised way to manage their processes.

FoodSoft tracks produce, ensuring the right goods are delivered to the right company, and alerting clients to food that is nearing its use-by date. The company’s head of sales, Stephen Tritton, said the system helps distributors buy bulk food that is then split up and sent to customers, including restaurateurs and supermarkets.

“What these businesses presently have, are systems that do not track increased stock arriving. They do not track use-by dates or batch numbers. But batch numbers are becoming more important with HACCP (hazard analysis and critical control points).”
Tritton uses an example of a baking facility that could have a scenario where a batch of dough becomes contaminated. If this happened, manufacturers of the biscuits, and stores stocking the products, need to be able to recall an item as fast as possible, he said.

FoodSoft would help find the products affected by the contamination, while leaving uncontaminated biscuits on shelfs, rather than having to remove them all if no secure tracking systems were in place. “Most food distribution businesses don’t have the ability to track. Managers and owners can easily collate the information they need to meet regulatory requirements and ensure quality control and traceability – right across the business.”

Similarly, if the wrong product gets delivered, CompuSoft’s software will inform the recipient immediately, which minimises wastage and costs, said Tritton. “Let’s say it’s frozen goods – quite often what happens is when you don’t have our system you take all the stuff off the truck. You then put it in your warehouse where you wait for the invoice to arrive. You then check the invoice and realise it’s the wrong product. Often at this stage, the supplier would not take products back as they do not know whether the frozen goods were stored correctly during the time it took to realise there was an error,” he said.

“Our system counts and receives items as they arrive – identifying immediately that the wrong items have been delivered.” FoodSoft enables customers to determine, at a glance, what’s happening across the business at any point in time. Suppliers can use “batch and lot” tracking to easily recall products. This is enhanced by features such as damaged stock controls.
FoodSoft can also help manage product distribution by tracking the use-by date to ensure the oldest goods get sent first. “There’s a lot of waste that happens from not doing this,” said Tritton. The system warns staff when things are getting close to getting to the use-by date.

Swapping manual orders for an online system
Many cafes and restaurants order goods from distributors manually, but the process would be easier, for all parties, if the distributor had a good online platform in place, he said. Often with manual orders, the distributor does not have a record of which flour or oil a company orders, which can slow down service when an employee must look through records to find the right product for that restaurant, said Tritton. Businesses can empower their staff by providing them with the right information to make the right decisions, at the right time. The system promotes smarter decision-making. “Our system will show the products that a client regularly buys. It also allows the client to order electronically. That removes a lot of time wastage and errors.”

Error-prone data entry is eliminated by automating and simplifying key processes and enhancing control – for example, by offering pantry lists into which clients can simply input quantities. With connected, streamlined data, everyone can access the information they need, when they need it.

One system for all  
The cost of implementing FoodSoft is usually absorbed in the first year, as businesses are switching to an automated system and can cut on staff costs, said Tritton.  “Let’s say order entry people cost $50,000 per-year, per-person. If you can get 20 per cent of your orders in electronically, through apps and e-commerce, you can hire two less people. That’s a huge saving year-on-year. Our system will be paid for in the first year,” he said.

“The main reason it’s based on Microsoft is that it’s a worldwide mature platform. It integrates with Office 365. It’s easy to transition to because the average person is used to using Microsoft products. Being a Microsoft product, it works across all platforms, including Apple. It talks to other systems seamlessly.”

CompuSoft also trains staff so they get maximum use out of the software, said Tritton. This can be done outside of work hours to ensure minimal disruption to a business. CompuSoft staff work with companies to ensure they use the features that will most benefit their business.

The team at CompuSoft has over 30 years’ experience in helping businesses in the wholesale food, manufacturing and distribution sector in Australia and New Zealand. The company is a Microsoft Gold Partner and staff specialise in creating innovative solutions based on Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central platform.

Sage Business Cloud Enterprise Management delivers strong ROI

Sage, the market leader in cloud business management today launched an independent study that has revealed the significant savings made by businesses in three major industries after they implemented Sage Business Cloud Enterprise Management. Sage commissioned Forrester Consulting to conduct a series of Total Economic Impact™ (TEI) studies[1] and objectively examine the potential return on investment (ROI) that organizations may realize by deploying Sage Business Cloud Enterprise Management (formerly Sage X3).

The research found that as well as receiving significant ROI within a short amount of time, businesses found savings in labour, inventory levels, and improved productivity resulting in thousands of hours saved globally.

Key Findings include:

  • For Distribution industries study finds 237% ROI with payback within 4 months
  • For Manufacturing industries study finds 218% ROI with payback also within 4 months
  • For Service industries study finds 197% ROI with payback within 5 months

Nick Goode, EVP of Product, Sage said “We understand our customers do not have limitless resources, this means return on investment should be part of every company’s decision-making process when purchasing an enterprise management solution.  Companies expect expenditure to produce a visible return. Working with Forrester, we have set out to support smart companies recognize that identifying benefits is a prerequisite for assessing an investment’s value. We are positive of the value Enterprise Management brings to our customers and are proud to be able to demonstrate this.” 

Customer feedback on Enterprise Management

To better understand the benefits, costs, and risks associated with customer investment in Enterprise Management, Forrester conducted in-depth interviews with four customers for each of the core verticals. Forrester interviewed customers from Manufacturing, Distribution and Service Industry, each with at least two to three years of experience using the solution.

Interviewed customers reported that the workflow automation and alerts functionality within Enterprise Management encourages users to adhere to policies and speeds up processes. In the past, an employee would have to chase approval of a purchase order. With Enterprise Management, the automated workflow alerts notify the appropriate staff, and approvals are done in a more reasonable amount of time.

With documentation and office collaboration functionality in Enterprise Management, every vendor invoice is scanned into a document management system, and PDFs are uploaded into Enterprise Management and attached to the records. Invoices are now accessible by anyone who needs to see them, including business units and purchasing, receiving dock, and accounts payable employees. With Enterprise Management, employees don’t have to search physical file cabinets anymore; they just access them via Enterprise Management on their computers.


To download the exclusive Forrester TEI report, please visit https://www.sage.com/au/lp/enterprise-management/forrester-tei-report

[1] The Total Economic Impact™ Of Sage’s Enterprise Management For Distribution, Manufacturing, and Services Organizations, commissioned studies conducted by Forrester Consulting on behalf of Sage in February 2018.

Free of charge, cloud-based calibration software

Beamex has introduced a free of charge, cloud-based calibration certificate generation software called Logical. It was developed to offer an easy-to-use, modern, cloud-based software for documenting calibration results.

In the process industry, most calibrations performed need to be documented in a calibration certificate. It is notable that many sites manually document calibrations using paper and pen, making it an inefficient process that is prone to errors.

“Logical reads the calibration results from Beamex documenting calibrators, such as the Beamex MC6 or Beamex MC4, and hence does not store any critical data in the cloud. When you perform calibrations using these calibrators, they automatically store the calibration results in their memory. Logical software can read these results and convert them into a PDF calibration certificate that you can either store or print,” said Product Manager Antti Mäkynen.

The Logical cloud communicates with the calibrators using a web service technology, meaning that the calibration certificate can be generated using any device connected to the internet and a web browser, given that the calibrator is connected to the computer and running softwarte. It is compatible with most browsers, such as Chrome, Internet Explorer or Safari.

The initial use of the software will be available at no cost while further capabilities will become available as chargeable options. Beamex is committed to developing additional functionality in the software based on user feedback and market requirements.

ECM software helps keep the hot pies coming

For generations, Australians and New Zealanders have known Mrs. Mac’s for the top quality pies it serves daily. However, as business evolves, so must the processes that support it. The company’s accounts payable (AP) department was no exception. Mrs. Mac’s needed a solution that would not only eliminate paper-based processing but simplify invoice approvals as well.

The company found its answer in OnBase by Hyland.

Mrs. Mac’s originally implemented OnBase in 2009 to transform AP processes. Based on its success, the company then leveraged the platform into other back office departments like accounts receivable (AR) and human resources (HR) to further streamline processes.

Before OnBase, approving invoices, around 30,000 annually, was laborious and manually intensive. Internal mail was only delivered once a day, which, as a result, meant staff waited at least a day as an invoice was passed from one approver to the next.

OnBase eliminates the wait, speeding up the approval process to mere minutes.

“It’s like night and day for us,” said Josh Pierre, Analyst at Mrs. Mac’s. “Now, we tie everything in with our ERP, Pronto, and can reference everything by purchase order number. So, if something is marked that the goods have been received and the invoice amounts match, it’s automatically approved for payment by AP.”

Ensures data accuracy, keeping processes moving forward

Prior to implementing OnBase, ensuring invoice accuracy was also a challenge. Staff were required to track the delivery of invoices and verify against monthly statements. However, staff knew invoices did not match monthly statements but had no way of reconciling in a timely manner as the statement report was about 200 pages long.

OnBase transformed this process, adding speed and accuracy to areas the department needed.

“With OnBase we can look things up in real-time, which is brilliant,” Pierre said. “And we can make immediate decisions based on what we see. It’s no longer a manual process – everything is automated.”

Adds visibility into credit application processing

 In AR, OnBase further transformed processes, providing increased process visibility. When a customer submits a credit application, everything now goes through OnBase. Staff scan the application and OnBase automatically routes it for staff to enter all supporting information – such as customer references and Australian Business Numbers (ABNs). It’s then sent to the customer services department for account set up and then back to AR for final approval.

Digitising the process with OnBase improved how work gets done.

“OnBase stops lost paperwork and makes it easy to find the status of where something is in the process,” Pierre said. “Previously, staff would say, ‘I gave this to so- and-so and I’m not sure what happened to it.’ Now, we’re tracking things in real-time. So, if it’s been too long since a customer applied for credit terms and the account’s not active, we can now ask, ‘Where are our bottlenecks?’ find the answer and fix the problem immediately

The Difference

Using OnBase, AP staff no longer manually key in invoice data. It automatically extracts information from invoices and posts to Pronto for immediate access.  In addition, with the OnBase Integration for Microsoft Outlook, staff can kick-off workflows directly from their email interface. This speeds up processes while allowing staff to continue working in their familiar email environment.

“OnBase has really been a ‘set and forget’ product for us.  Support has been very easy – it’s a very stable product.  At the same time, it’s so easy to use.  Users are familiar with the interface – it’s just like a Microsoft Office application,” said Pierre.

Beverage company streamlines logistics with InfoMotion

Established in 1998, Metro Beverage Company is Australia’s largest independent drinks distributor. Serving more than 10,000 business customers, the company has close working relationships with a range of manufacturers including Unilever, Nu Pure Beverages and Red Bull.

Headquartered in Victoria, MBC operates three warehouses in Melbourne, Adelaide and Perth. With just under 100 staff and a fleet of more than 35 delivery vehicles, the firm continues to enjoy strong growth.

The challenge

Soon after opening its doors as a new business, MBC deployed Attache ERP software to support its day-to-day operations. The software was used for everything from stock control and warehousing to accounting and report generation.

MBC Managing Director Aleksandar Velkovski says that, while this worked well for a number of years, continuing growth meant the software struggled to keep up. “It reached the stage where, as a company, we had outgrown our core software,” he says. “It did not have the ability to be extended and was becoming an impediment to operations.”

Velkovski says that, because of the important role the software played, there was some reluctance to change. However, with customer numbers continuing to grow, senior managers came to the realisation that an alternative needed to be found.

The solution

The MBC IT team undertook a comprehensive review of alternative ERP solutions on the market. This process involved demonstrations from a number of vendors and visits to other sites to see different products in action. After careful evaluation of a shortlist of contenders, a decision was made in late 2015 to deploy icsLOGISTICS from InfoMotion.

“We could clearly see that the InfoMotion software was best suited to our requirements,” says Velkovski. “The interface was very user friendly and we also liked the ability we had to customise the software to match our particular requirements.”

Working closely with InfoMotion, MBC initially rolled out the new software in its Melbourne warehouse, followed by Adelaide in late 2016. The Perth warehouse is due to go live in March.

“The migration process from our legacy system to the new platform was seamless and very impressive,” says Velkovski. “I had never experienced a software deployment of this nature where there have not been issues. It could not have gone better.”

The benefits

The icsLOGISTICS software now underpins all aspects of business operation. As well as sales, warehousing and stock management, it also supports back-office functions such as finance and administration.

“It is at the very core of our business,” says Velkovski. “It has removed a range of manual processes and streamlined workflows. We have noticed a significant improvement in accuracy and the time to fill orders has been reduced. The scan-to-load capability we now have means cartons can be scanned onto each vehicle against predetermined orders and runs, speeding operations considerably.”

Velkovski says a particular benefit has been the improved ability to handle stock promotions. Where previously this would have to be managed manually, all customer requests and fulfilments are captured by the software automatically.

“Our dispatch planning process has also been significantly upgraded,” he says. “Where it had been taking one staff member a full day to draw up schedules, this can now be completed in less than half that time.”

With the core software now operational, attention has shifted to deploying PTV Smartour, provided by InfoMotion. This software will improve the efficiency of delivery runs by automatically creating the most efficient routes based on multiple delivery destinations.

“This process is currently done manually and makes use of the judgement of individual drivers. While this works to a degree, being able to automate it will reduce the number of kilometres that need to be completed on each run.”

Velkovski says MBC will continue to work closely with InfoMotion to ensure the software adds as much value as possible to operations.

“They have worked hard to understand our business and to configure the software to match our requirements. It’s given us the robust and scalable platform we need to support our future growth.”



Montague Cold Storage gets new warehousing software

Montague Cold Storage has re-deployed Paperless Warehousing Group’s (PW) warehouse management system (WMS) at its Truganina distribution centre. Montague has been using the system for years at its four other sites for years.

This changeover came after Montague saw an immediate need for a more efficient, flexible, stable and scalable warehousing system, in response to the ongoing success with organisations such as Allied Mills, Patties Foods, Murray Goulburn, and Bega Cheese and Warrnambool Cheese and Butter.

Implemented and integrated with their customers’ interfaces, PW’s WMS enables Montague to instantly move new customers onto its system quickly and efficiently, eliminating manual entry, and better managing their overall warehouse and distribution functions. The flexibility and scalability of the platform also allows Montague to handle any unpredictable changes in their future operations.

“Having access to a scalable Warehouse Management Solution with guaranteed efficiency gains has become a necessity, rather than a luxury for food distributors, grocery retailers and the logistics companies that support them”, said Scott Symons, at Paperless Warehousing.

“PW’s expertise as a WMS innovator is proven among many food and beverage distributors, FMCG’s, retail operators, third party logistics companies and many others. I am pleased to see Montague migrate their entire cold storage operations to PW. Together, we have a heritage of over 15 years of successful business together and are looking forward to continuing our relationship for many more years to come”.

Truganina is Montague’s 5th distribution centre to deploy PW’s WMS platform. The other four are located at (Tullamarine, West Melbourne, Keysborough and Allansford).




Warehouse and distribution management solution quenches thirst for growth

14 Degrees, the distributor arm of Rathbone Wine Group, has completed a successful implementation of Manhattan Associates’ warehouse and distribution management solution Manhattan SCALE.

The deployment is part of a business transformation project designed to deliver an enhanced service experience for 14 Degrees’ customers and to drive continued business growth.

Within just a few months of the solution’s deployment at its Port Melbourne distribution centre in Victoria, Australia, 14 Degrees has reported accelerated goods flows, improved on-shelf availability for customers’ products, a 99.9 percent inventory accuracy level and a 25 percent gain in productivity.

Darren Rathbone, Director at 14 Degrees said, “Because of the consumable nature of the products we’re distributing, it’s very important to our winery customers that the location and integrity of their stock is known at all times. Our old system was unable to give us an accurate picture of enterprise inventory at any moment in time. With Manhattan we now have end-to-end visibility of all stock in real-time, which means order fulfilment for our customers is faster and more accurate, and we can ensure the highest quality of product at every point in the supply chain journey.”


14 Degrees now has a more flexible and streamlined distribution capability for serving the country’s leading wineries including Yering Station, Mount Langi Ghiran and Xanadu. The versatility of the Manhattan solution has enabled 14 Degrees to expand its service capabilities beyond wine to other products requiring temperature controlled storage and transport.

The warehouse and distribution management solution solves supply chain execution challenges for organisations in a whole range of industry sectors, whilst its scalability ensures companies can comfortably handle peak demand periods as well as grow their businesses over time.

With 14 Degrees looking at new distribution markets including pharmaceuticals, the solution’s agility and capacity to support companies operating in multiple industries were central to 14 Degrees’ decision to deploy the warehouse and distribution management solution.

It also offers a user-friendly interface, is easy for staff to learn, can be deployed quickly and boasts a high degree of configurability to meet the needs of diverse businesses.



Fruit exporter thrives with Greentree ERP

Greentree’s accuracy and ease of use bring major benefits for kiwifruit grower and post-harvest company Jace Group.

Jace Group requires seamless accounting and reporting of the production from dozens of kiwifruit orchards, and from its packing facilities.

Greentree integrates financials, job costing and transactional analysis, while AutoScan simplifies data uploading from multiple locations.

A variety of widely different reports are easily compiled, large seasonal payrolls are managed accurately, and databases are simple to update.

Lee Weatherley is the Accountant for the Jace Group, a significant kiwifruit grower and one of the largest privately owned kiwifruit post-harvest companies in New Zealand. The company packs more than eight million trays of kiwifruit per year, primarily for export.

Jace Group owns 77.5 canopy hectares* of orchards, mainly in the Bay of Plenty and South Auckland, and leases another 125 hectares. For the complex task of tracking orchard production and costs, it chose Greentree.


Jace Group is a key player in the kiwifruit industry, which is one of New Zealand’s multi-million-dollar export successes.

“We pride ourselves on quality performance and attention to detail,” says Lee. “We consistently achieve above industry returns for our growers. Given there is only a limited window of opportunity to harvest the crop from the vines, it is vital that all operations from logistics through to our accounting & reporting functions to growers run seamlessly.”

Jace Group has used Greentree since its inception in 2006, but Lee’s connection to Greentree goes back much further than that. She previously worked for Seeka, another long-time Greentree user, and was instrumental in bringing Greentree to Jace Group. Having used Greentree herself, Lee was confident in its ability to manage the entire supply chain.

“Because we have to cover from the growing of the crop right through to harvesting, storing and packing, we need a business system that is able to capture all that data and report on it in a wide range of ways,” she explains.


Greentree has to break down the growing costs and returns for each individual orchard, and for each variety of fruit (yes, while they might look similar there are a number of different kiwifruit varieties). Jace Group makes extensive use of Job Costing and Greentree’s transactional analysis capabilities to differentiate between each growing season and variety.

“It’s so easy to extract data – you just push a button and it’s done,” enthuses Lee. “Our data is all live and automated, it’s accurate, and our checks and balances all take place in Greentree.

“Live visibility is important because our managers out in the field need to know where they’re tracking against their budgets,” Lee adds. “We need an ERP system that integrates across our entire business.”

Jace Group’s packing and cool stores in the Bay of Plenty and Auckland are hives of intensive activity during the picking and packing season, which runs from mid-March through to September. As many as 900 people, many of them transient workers, may be employed during the season.

During the 8-10 week main packing season, Jace Group’s facilities will operate 6-7 days a week, up to 21 hours a day. Finger-scanning software is used to record attendance in the packing sheds and the data is automatically uploaded into Greentree Payroll.


Greentree’s flexibility proved crucial when the Psa bacterial virus swept through the kiwifruit orchards. Exporter Zespri partly overcame the crisis by introducing new varieties of more tolerant plants.

“Our Greentree system was flexible enough that we could easily modify our database to include those new varieties,” says Lee.

The Greentree Partner also introduced Jace Group to AutoScan, which has brought huge benefits.

“Because we have office sites at three different locations and accounting staff at all those sites, we can source data from wherever we happen to be and information on who has entered the data,” Lee says. “Greentree has enabled us to develop sophisticated uploads for lots of data, eliminating human error data entry issues. We have nine or so operating companies within our group, and it’s a tremendous help for me to be able to monitor performance for consistency.

“The industry is growing so much,” Lee concludes. “We’re heading towards higher volumes of fruit and are looking to expand our facilities. We’re confident that Greentree will continue to grow with us and we’re always looking at ways to work smarter with it, to meet any challenges ahead.”

*The amount of ground that is covered by fruit-bearing vines.


Austral Fisheries reaping the benefits of ERP software

Austral Fisheries needed remote access to a real time environment to enable its sales team to better serve an expanding customer base.

“The fishing part of our business is a 24/7 operation and is highly regulated. Coupled with our seafood trading operation, which has to be managed dynamically, we need business tools that can handle this sort of pressure,” said Greg Johnston, CFO and Company Secretary of Austral.

Austral Fisheries is one of Australia’s leading commercial fishing companies. The company’s Greentree system has been in use for more than a decade, supported by Greentree Partner, Addax Business Solutions, and has proved its flexibility by scaling up to meet the company’s growth and changing business requirements.

Recent developments included moving Greentree to the cloud and equipping Austral’s sales staff with Greentree-4Sales, for greater efficiency on the move.

Hosting Greentree in the cloud means data is available instantly to management and staff wherever they are as long as they have an internet connection. Thanks to Greentree4Sales, they also have customer details at their fingertips.

Sales staff can conclude deals, update the system and provide documentation on the spot, and management has a live view of business performance.

“It’s a good, stable all-round system that has met our special needs with some innovative approaches,” said Johnston “When we said we needed to make some changes, Greentree was able to step up and respond. The Addax team has a comprehensive understanding of Greentree, providing solid support and confidence that problems can be resolved quickly.”

Austral consists of three distinct businesses, each with its own challenges:

  • Its Southern Ocean operation runs four deep-sea fishing vessels, catching mostly Toothfish. Its focus is to value-add the catch and create a market for premium fillets for the domestic and export markets.
  • Its prawn operation runs 10 trawlers – another value-added domestic and export market. Austral has also developed direct relationships with the main Australian supermarkets for this catch.
  • Seafood Solutions is Austral’s seafood trading arm, mostly selling imported products from sustainable overseas fisheries to the Australian wholesale market. It accounts for over a third of Austral’s turnover and it’s the growth of this operation which put new demands on Austral’s Greentree system.

“This is a very competitive business that requires tight control of working capital and good customer service,” explained Johnston.

“With seafood trading, you have to be able to conclude business on the spot. You don’t want to tell the customer you’ll get back to them, or promise them product only to find there’s no stock available.”

Keeping up with currency, regulatory requirements In Greentree4Sales, Austral has found a tool that is invaluable for its sales team, who can now access Greentree on the move via mobile devices.

“Our sales reps need live information at their fingertips,” said Johnston.

“They need to be able to conclude business when visiting customers. Greentree4Sales means they can process orders and provide copies to the customer before leaving their premises. They don’t have that backlog of paperwork and they can even do special deals right there and then.”

With the strict regulatory requirements around commercial fishing, any delay due to bad documentation means valuable consignments can be left sitting on the docks. Approvals & Alerts ensures that stock levels – and customer credit limits – are checked before sales are finalised, and that all the necessary documents are complete.

Austral buys and sells in different currencies such as NZD, Yen, Rupee, USD and Euro. Using the Foreign Currency module, each supplier’s accounts is tracked in a foreign currency. Invoices and other transactions are entered, processed and reported based on this currency, with a range of reports which show the unrealised exchange rate gain or loss.

“Greentree manages currency in both sides of the ledger well and makes it easier for us,” said Johnston.

Cloud option saves costs Austral’s engineering depot in Cairns needs to track costs and manage the refit of its prawn trawlers. Using the web connection, the remote users have complete online access to Greentree.

“They can process supplier invoices, payroll details, and update the general ledger just once, and we will have all the information live on one system,” said Johnston.

“There’s no double entry and one integrated system gives senior executives access to live and timely results, so business performance is constantly maintained and areas for improvement are highlighted.”

Greentree’s ability to operate comfortably in the cloud has also benefited Austral, removing the need to upgrade its on-premise servers. AOD, the cloud arm of Addax, handled the move speedily and efficiently.

“This is an excellent cost saver,” Johnston said.

“The AOD team has been great in setting up the hosting service and we expect this too will be a long-term relationship.”

With the expansion of its trading operation and the need for flexibility in the face of changing local and international markets and regulations, Austral Fisheries is confident that Greentree will continue to grow with it.