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Fresh Produce Group - an Australian success story

Supplier: NetSuite
27 January, 2010

Fresh Produce Group (FPG) has grown quickly into one of Australia's larger and most innovative fresh produce providers, which sources and delivers the highest quality fruit and vegetables on offer from around the world.

To make its mark in the rapidly transforming produce industry in Australia and other major global markets, plans were set in train to grow the business through organic expansion as well as by acquisition.

FPG Director, Leon Condon, recognised that in order to thrive, FPG needed a solid platform from which to manage all its activities - from the farm gate to the customer's plate. To do so, it had to become a technologically advanced business.

Prior to Leon Condon joining the Food Produce Group (FPG) as a Director in 2008, the organisation was operating on a DOS-based financial system which was actively used by only a handful of accounting staff.

Forecasting and inventory were compiled from Excel spreadsheets. And, there were no tools for sophisticated analysis of the business or its planning.

"We were looking for visibility, control and profitability. It is critical in the perishable produce industry to be able to analyse and measure the business through multiple dimensions. We have to know all attributes of our stock, in multi-locations, in real-time," Condon says.

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 for the right price.

"With mangoes, for instance, the quality and price varies considerably between the product which is delivered and sold on Monday to the last boxes sold on Friday," says Condon.

"FPG needed timely reporting, more accurate data, and accountability for all staff. NetSuite has contributed significantly to the improvement in what is a high revenue, low margin business.

"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 annum."

Condon says the new reporting facilities have helped reposition the business and, significantly, given FPG's banking partner greater confidence in the company's capabilities and future.

"The implementation and continuing development of the system is not seen as a cost to the business. Rather, it is a valuable asset in supporting our growth plans," Condon says.

"NetSuite is giving the Fresh Produce Group 'Paddock to Plate' visibility and control, across our increasingly profitable global business," concluded Condon.

Source: Company