Nu Fruit is a major wholesaler of a full range of fresh fruit and vegetables, nuts, cut flowers and seedlings. The company is a major player in the marketplace with warehouses in both Wangaratta and Melbourne, supplying fresh produce to over 250 independent supermarkets throughout Victoria and New South Wales. Nu Fruit processes over 47,000 order lines weekly and individual customer purchases range from AUD 1,000 to AUD 50,000 every week.
Implementation in just three months
Nu Fruit’s in-house IT system could not to cope with the rapidly expanding business. A new ERP system was required to meet retail customers’ needs with speed and service. IBS Enterprise incorporates distribution and financials and is good fit for Nu Fruit’s unique industry requirements.
Nu Fruit needs to deliver fresh fruit and vegetables fast. The company required the same from its software vendor – a speedy implementation. In fact, IBS Enterprise was implemented successfully in only three months allowing for a go live just before Christmas - the peak season of the business. IBS rapid implementation methodology was instrumental in ensuring this smooth transition.
Dean Campagna, Director of Nu Fruit says, “The objective was for our customers to barely notice anything, except improvements. We feel that we’ve achieved that. IBS had our staff think about the work they’re doing, offering new ideas. This re-energized the whole business.”
Nu Fruit is known for customer service in the industry. Five Retail Support Specialists train retail customers’ staff in all aspects of the business, including merchandising, the weekly catalogue and in-store promotions. Campagna says, “By assisting customers to develop their business, retailers increase their sales and profitability, which translates to better sales and profitability for us.”
A short time-frame and rapid turnover are characteristic of the fresh produce wholesale industry as the products are perishable. A highly competitive marketplace means that customers can change suppliers easily and rapidly. Daily customer satisfaction is critical. Campagna explains, “Everything about our business is about fast response on all levels. We are constantly under pressure from our suppliers to fulfill orders quickly. The time it takes to process our sales orders is reflected directly in the degree of accuracy and the speed in which we can deliver those purchase orders to our suppliers.”
IBS Enterprise automatically uploads and generates information from the customers’ sales orders to the suppliers’ purchase orders. “It reduces the stress and chaos in the business,” he continues. “It has created time-savings which make the information flow more efficient. This improves our relationship with our suppliers, because we can get the information to them quickly, especially when there are changes in our purchase orders.”
Nu Fruit must deliver critical information quickly from customers to suppliers. “One of the key characteristics of our industry is that unlike others, the prices can change by the minute,” Campagna explains. “We have price fluctuations and we have promotions. Our product is affected by the elements and we need to provide the pricing information accurately and quickly.” “We can send our customers information on their retail pricing, and the impact of the retail pricing on their profitability and retail potential of products. It has allowed us to focus on our customers at an individual level and tailor the pricing structures to each of the customers’ needs according to what they want to achieve at their retail level,” Campagna says.
Improved productivity and visibility
Short cycle times in the fresh produce industry require real-time information. IBS Planner View presents minute-by-minute data for decision making. The powerful and adaptable graphical planning and information management tool provides immediate supply chain visibility.
Decisions based on customer demand must be made instantly. High inventory turn rate and minimal stock on hand are required to maintain freshness. In fact, the products spend only hours or mere minutes in the distribution centers. Orders placed in the morning must be picked in the afternoon and delivered in the evening. Consolidated grower information is required in real-time. The actual purchasing decision is reviewed at various times during the day – initial orders and later on top-up orders to the growers. A paperless system has replaced reams of paper for purchase orders.
Nu Fruit’s old system ran daily batch updates of records and files which would disrupt the office system, leading to a loss in productivity. IBS Enterprise enables the company to access real-time information about business performance and to extract the data required at any time.
More customer service
Thanks to time-savings gained from the increase in supply chain visibility, staff can concentrate more on customers. ”Taking even thirty minutes out of an activity means that it frees up resources to focus on customer service, rather than just procuring stock for them. We are able send critical information to the customer and reallocate more time to evaluate other areas of the business,” says Campagna.
Nu Fruit is able communicate better information to its business partners such as accurate purchase orders to its suppliers. With purchasing based on actual data, rather than on forecast, stock is allocated more accurately to the suppliers. The risk of ending up with excess, unused stock is reduced. The suppliers pick the fruit that is required, no more and no less.
With IBS Enterprise as a platform, Nu Fruit is confident in its ability to handle greater growth. The company plans to take the business to the next level, potentially extending it nation-wide. Campagna is confident that growth will come naturally. “With the implementation of our new distribution system and with the outcomes delivered so far we look forward to further strengthening our competitive advantage. The better we manage the flow of information within our business, the better we will be at our business. If we run the business well, this translates to our reputation in the marketplace and how attractive we are to customers.”
Text: Fiona Chong
Photos: Nu Fruit