Hatching a clever IT plan

30 Dec 2008

The ability to manage its business with increased agility was down to making the right software choices, says Greenfield Foods.

In these straitened economic times, many firms are now tightening their belts and, increasingly, management eyes are turning to their financial systems in a bid to make savings and increase efficiencies.

It almost goes without saying that, in such a financial climate, top-notch software is required, but equally an experienced and knowledgeable IT partner can be key to ensuring your company gets the very best out of its software, as Greenfield Foods in Smithboro, Co Monaghan discovered.

Established over 35 years ago, Greenfield Foods has developed into the largest supplier of eggs in Ireland, boasting a farming base of some 900,000 hens producing commercial, free-range, barn-enriched and organic eggs.

The company has been running Exchequer Enterprise financial software since 1991, and was one of the first firms in southern Ireland to use the software, says director of finance, Marie Mohan. It decided to switch re-sellers just over a year ago, and once Exchequer re-seller Xperience came on board, Greenfield Foods began to truly exploit the functionality and capabilities of the software.

“What we found when we looked at how Greenfield was using Exchequer was that it was under-utilising it. There was a lot of the functionality of direct relevance to the company it just wasn’t aware of,” comments Noel Lynch of new business sales, Xperience.

“When Xperience got to us, we were quite behind and there were quite a number of small things that we didn’t know or weren’t able to do. It really helped train us up. We did a demo and re-introduced the product again and took it from there,” says Mohan.

“We supply on-site training; the idea is to teach end-users in their own environment, with their own data, customer accounts and figures in front of them. Staff can then familiarise themselves with the day-to-day tools that are relevant to them. Also, our key implementer for Greenfield Foods is a qualified accountant, and by having him on site, he was able to work with Marie on the financial aspects relating to the business,” says Lynch.

Mohan is clear on the benefits of the Exchequer software: “It’s very easy to use, it’s bright, it’s friendly and it’s easy to learn. It’s fantastic for the financial side of things, for the processing of orders, quotes, right through to EDI for your invoices and also for credit control. It’s also very good for stock and for looking at past transactions.”

The Exchequer financial software is of vital importance to the company, says Mohan. “In our industry, you’re dealing with a product that’s going out of date as soon as it’s born. You’re also dealing in a market–based environment working on the laws of supply and demand.

“You’ve got either too little product or too much product, therefore you’ve a necessity to know your cost but also a necessity to get management information quickly because when one month ends, you can’t wait for weeks on end for management figures. You can lose out money very quickly because our stock, the egg, can’t just be switched on and off as you can with a production line.”

Given the current economic climate, the pressure is now on financial software to perform, says Lynch. “Efficient financial software is becoming even more important because there are so many companies having to manage cash-flow, having to manage debt and supplier pricing. The good systems are empowering users with information that allows them to negotiate better or to work better with a client.”

According to Mohan, the Exchequer software is performing well in a challenging economic climate, particularly with regard to the greater need for credit control and watching costs, and the greater need to increase efficiencies and sales.

The Exchequer software gives Greenfield Foods access to current information quickly, Lynch observes. “The analytical tools Exchequer offers, such as the visual report writing tool, are very useful in this regard. The company is currently focusing on identifying its KPIs (key performance indicators), and the report-writing tool, which provides reports in an easy-to-understand layout, is particularly helpful in bringing information out from the software.”

“As we’ve grown, Exchequer has grown, and Xperience is right there with us, helping us to get more out of the software,” Mohan concludes.

By Jennifer Yau