Forest Produce, based in Honiton, Devon offers the very best ingredients to chefs in the South West of England. It supplies over 2,000 product lines to circa 500 customers including Michael Caines and Josh Eggleton of Great British Menu fame and Hotel Endsleigh recently named Country House Hotel of the Year by The Daily Mail. It sources fresh produce from all over Europe and its lines include fresh truffles, caviar and foie gras to salad leaves, fresh micro herbs, locally made ice cream and chocolate.
The business started 13 years ago using Sage 50 as its accounting package. Sage 50 managed well for 8 years until the company identified that the volume of transactions in Sage 50 was reaching its upper limit and it was a single point of critical failure for the business. It was at this point that Tony Quick, founding Director approached Sage to understand what its upgrade options were.
Sage suggested the natural upgrade path to Sage 200, a powerful business wide solution to manage accounts, supply chain, customers and business intelligence, recommending local Sage Business Partner, CPiO based in Chippenham. Tony explains, “Having looked at the market place at alternatives to Sage we could clearly see from the demonstration that Sage 200 is similar to Sage 50 and would require very little user training; it has the advantage of deeper functionality and was head and shoulders above the other software options we looked at”.
The benefit of keeping within the Sage product portfolio meant that the switch to Sage 200 proved to be easy. CPiO was able to quickly replicate the bespoke package which had been written around its old Sage 50 system into the new Sage 200 software. This was a small modification required due to the nature of Forest Produce’s business and the quick turnaround of its fresh stock; it needed Sage 200 to recognise minus stock counts and produce invoices for products which were being dispatched before they had been entered onto the system. Tony said “We were so used to having this function in Sage 50, we didn’t give a thought that the functionality wasn’t available in Sage 200. CPiO dealt with this brilliantly and was quick to write the bespoke work. We were able to continue invoicing as before with minimum disruption to the business.”
Since implementing Sage 200 Forest Produce has also deployed Sales Order Plus from Eureka Addons. It has proved to be a valuable sales tool for the telesales team who can quickly access customer order history information from a single screen within Sage 200. It also enables them to sell more products by cross selling and upselling using screen prompts, thereby increasing the average order value. Tony says, “This is an opportunity to grow our business by offering more products to our existing customers; at the moment our average order is ten products. We want to be a one stop shop for all of their ingredients.”
As the warehouse becomes increasingly busy Tony has plans to work with CPiO to integrate bar coding with Sage 200. Tony says, “Currently stocktaking works well as we stocktake by bins and specific stock items in Sage 200 rather than by bulk due to the nominal codes, but bar coding the warehouse will make the whole process much easier and more accurate”.
Forest Produce has grown 5% year on year and Tony attributes some of the business’s growth to implementing Sage 200 explaining that the business could simply not have grown to its current size without the change in software. Its three year revenue forecast has increased from £4 million turnover to £5 million where it plans to increase the business to its full, current warehouse capacity, serving its customer base from one warehouse facility in Honiton.
Tony is confident that Sage 200 will easily manage its growth plans and states, “If the business grows to £50 million turnover, Sage 200 would more than cope without dropping the ball”.