Freshco - how supply chain software freed up their business | Sandfield

04 January 2018

The system we had previously meant we had ‘multiple sources of the truth’. With Fresh Event we finally have one source of truth

- Greig Taylor, Director, Freshco

The business

  • Freshco is a NZ fruit and vegetable export company founded in 1989, with an emphasis on delivering the freshest produce to loyal customers all over the world
  • It’s grown to include orchards, packing houses and cool stores, providing an integrated supply chain which delivers competitive pricing to resellers and good returns for growers
  • Freshco uses Just In Time (JIT) inventory management - ensuring the freshest produce available on market shelves in the right quantities, reducing wastage and cost

scale of Freshco infographic

The goal

Freshco wanted greater visibility of their supply chain to manage operations and enable quicker decisions that would grow their business.

The challenges

The fresh produce industry is volatile at best. The impact of weather, different pricing structures and market regulations on the Freshco supply chain takes most new staff two years’ worth of seasonal cycles to fully understand.

The business is complex enough without adding more complexity through systems.

Freshco’s previous marketing and logistics system lacked visibility and agility. It was slow to generate reports, providing stale data to inform decision making. The in-house team had to create complex spreadsheets and manually intervene to bridge system gaps.

It was holding the business back with its limitations:

  • Inaccurate - Freshco handles 3PL on behalf of some growers. But the system could only assume all the fruit belonged to Freshco
  • Poor user experience - the system was hard to navigate and use, meaning some staff avoided it
  • Fragile - the program was used by lots of other exporters and any changes made to other exporter systems would ‘break’ Freshco’s version

With the old system there was a user manual that could’ve been mistaken for a doorstop
- Greig Taylor, Director, Freshco

These limitations left the Freshco supply chain more vulnerable to many of the unplanned events that affect the fresh produce supply chain, limiting the ability to make informed business decisions on the fly.

The solution

The Sandfield team worked with Freshco to develop a software system for the marketing and logistics part of its supply chain.

Freshco’s dedicated marketing and logistics team ship 4,000+ TEU containers of apples, squash, cherries and asparagus to global customers each year.

The team of Sandfield developers built ‘Fresh Event’ on the foundations of proven frameworks crafted from years of experience working within similar industries. The team configures the system and customises the UI to work for various supply chains.

Simplicity, accuracy and enjoyment are the words to describe Fresh Event
- Greig Taylor, Director, Freshco

The developers built and integrated the Fresh Event system in three phases. This staggered approach was more manageable for Freshco. The phases were prioritised to meet the most urgent needs of the business:

1. Logistics & customer portal - Freshco wanted a system that handled their 3PL side of the business. They wanted a better looking customer portal, complete with user friendly UI to provide a simpler customer experience
2. Forecasting & planning - this focused on replacing the spreadsheet-backed part of the business and validating stock to ensure robust data for phase 3 of the Fresh Event implementation
3. Planning & orders - the final step was replacing the existing Freshco planning & orders system. This step built on the foundations of the previous two phases, to build a complete system from bin to grower payment

Freshco systems diagram

The results

Fresh Event has delivered the team the visibility across their marketing and logistics side of the business they were looking for.

The power we’re getting from the accessibility and ease of Fresh Event is huge, it’s essentially delivering us with a real time view of our data and live reporting for us is pretty powerful. We’re getting better insights and information on the business which is allowing us to make good decisions faster
- Greig Taylor, Director, Freshco

The visibility the new system has delivered across our business has meant we’ve been able to grow the business without increasing staff numbers
- Greig Taylor, Director, Freshco

The Freshco team is now easily able to deliver what their customers are asking for - JIT turnaround and timely, insightful reporting. 

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