Cloud computing saves a million a year

Wednesday, 12 May, 2010

Sydney-based Fresh Produce Group (FPG) replaced multiple software systems, 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, with a NetSuite cloud computing ERP system. The company improved its net profit margin by 100% and realised savings of approximately $1 million a year.

FPG, which sources and delivers the best fruit and vegetables on offer from around the world, has grown quickly into one of Australia’s largest and most innovative fresh produce providers. To continue its success, FPG recognised the need for a solid platform from which to manage all its activities - from the farm packing shed through to logistics and on to the customer. The common goal of all partners in the FPG chain is on-time delivery of quality produce.

Tasked with improving the systems and processes of a high-revenue, low-margin business, FPG Director Leon Condon said: “It is critical in the perishable produce industry to be able to know all attributes of our stock in real time. We were looking for visibility and control leading to improved profitability. We had to become a technologically advanced business.”

FPG selected NetSuite to provide timely reporting and more accurate data, and to give staff the tools to be accountable in their roles. “NetSuite has contributed significantly to our business,” Condon said.

Because many of the FPG team work away from an office environment, the organisation required an internet-based, software-as-a-service model for ‘anytime and anywhere’ access.

FPG’s farmers, traders and managers use a range of devices to access the business so the mobility and accessibility of the NetSuite system is critical to maximising the benefits from its implementation.

“With NetSuite, we were able to deploy rapidly and then customise to our liking as we gained visibility and understanding of our business. 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. It’s paid for itself several times over,” Condon said.

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