FTA Food Solutions, a division of the famous Ward McKenzie's group of companies, who have supplied food products for over 150 years, are a true family run business.
In fact, it's more than likely you will have sampled their products at some point, because their range includes nuts and seeds, pulses and grains, dried fruits, herbs and spices, and commercial baking ingredients, amongst others.
The other component to the FTA business is the warehousing, logistics and shipment of these goods to outlets both within Australia and overseas.
Warehousing various items in bulk however requires a system that can track inventory accurately. Unfortunately, the system that FTA was keen to upgrade was hamstrung by a paper-based culture that required a lot of manual entry and double handing in order to expedite basic functions.
As a result, warehouse staff were at times unable to locate, quantify, and maintain quality control to any meaningful degree. Customer orders were delayed, and certain stock items became wasted due to untracked expiry dating.
Interstate centres and mobile sales reps were also unable to access up to the minute details on orders, stock levels, and vital customer records. In fact, the process of keeping everyone informed was somewhat cumbersome and prone to inaccuracy.
However, according to FTA's IT manager, Lynne Burgess, the new Dynamics NAV system installed by Brad Foot from Fenwick Software, allows for progress in all departments:
"We can now export everything to Excel, and email invoices on the day of dispatch along with all sales confirmations. It seems we hardly need to use the printer anymore."
"As a result, our customer service has improved out of sight. Everyone gets a report on outstanding orders. Everyone knows what's going on. And we can now manage inventory levels to the kilo."
What was once a motley collection of individual systems driving an organization keen to expand, has now become a lot more streamlined and fully integrated.
The new system also covers operations at Ward McKenzie's manufacturing plant next door. According to Helen Ward, joint Managing Director, the benefits are many:
"Without a doubt, the greatest benefit I can see is the Stock Forecasting module. We can see at a glance how much an item is used. It makes the purchase of raw materials a hell of a lot easier."
"We can now modify our complex procedures to fit into the business - rather than modify the business to fit into the system."