Seeka needed to reduce costs by rationalising the number of manual processes. They also needed an integrated system that would accommodate the two parts to the business: Operations and Leasing.
Greentree’s integrated modular solution.
Administration costs have reduced due to automation and integration with two direct outcomes: re-deployment of staff to more progressive tasks in other areas, and huge savings in time.[rd_line color="#a8a8a8"]Maintaining your competitive position as your industry’s largest supplier is not a situation that happens by accident or overnight. Ensuring your internal information systems and processes support and maintain that position is strategic, requiring a clear understanding of the competitive dynamics of your industry.
So when Kiwifruit industry employee and self-confessed “systems person” Rose- Anna Feist, Group Management Accountant at Seeka, assumed responsibility for evaluating a new system, she knew exactly what they needed to achieve. Feist quoted a few numbers as a frame of reference for the significance of the systems required to support the business.
Seeka is New Zealand’s largest supplier of Kiwifruit to Zespri, New Zealand’s largest exporter of Kiwifruit. In fact, Seeka supplied about 28% of New Zealand’s total Kiwifruit production last year, most of which is exported to Japan & Europe. The business has two parts: Operations and Leasing.
The Operations side undertakes logistics/pick/pack & store whilst the Leasing side leases about 1200 hectares of land from Kiwifruit orchardists who enter into a lease and profit share arrangement with Seeka. All this adds up to a reasonably complex and large-scale, multi-faceted operation which got bigger with the acquisition of a group of new companies, along with staff and systems.
What Seeka needed was a single integrated system with significant Job Costing capabilities to cost and on-charge orchard costs. Other priorities included the need to reduce administrative costs by eliminating manual processes, along with improved financial reporting to better inform management.
After reviewing and eliminating other similarly positioned midmarket systems Greentree, along with a local implementation partner, was selected as the ‘right for the job’.
Job Costing Contribution To Bottom Line – Absolutely Strategic
Seeka provides a range of managed ‘on-orchard’ services to growers including leased and managed contracts. This is where Seeka relies heavily on Greentree’s Job Costing capability.
Job Costing and Invoicing effectively integrate to provide charge-back to growers, and the more accurate the costing of jobs and services, the better able Seeka is to manage orchard costs. Discussion ensued around the complexities of churning out hundreds of weekly invoices to hundreds of debtors/ growers within a unique set of business rules.
Multiple Sets Of Business Rules, Hundreds Of Weekly Invoices
“Greentree has simplified the whole process, since [Seeka staff] can define the rules for invoicing which has significantly reduced the error rate,” Feist says. The hardest part about invoicing was remembering the rules to key into the old accounting system. All staff found Greentree easy to use and have easily adapted to it with little, if any, training time required in most cases.
“Million Times Better Reports” – Excel Reporting
A couple of big gains for Seeka have been the power of Excel reporting and never again needing to prepare financial reports manually. In fact, the automation of most administrative tasks has not only saved truckloads of time and reduced costs; it’s also enabled Seeka to provide staff with new and extended responsibilities. Feist enthusiastically espouses the benefits of Excel reporting, which as far as she’s concerned delivers “million times better reports” than the old system, and the integration of all Greentree modules “just works”.
By all accounts this was a huge project with a lot at stake, and Feist says the local Greentree partner who undertook the implementation performed very well. They recognised the magnitude of what was required at the outset, and responded by allocating a team of experienced consultants who worked closely with Seeka to understand the business processes and come up with some smart solutions.
Seeka has achieved what they set out to, and Feist is convinced that there is “lots more we could be doing [with Greentree]” and that the capability and capacity of Greentree will enable Seeka to continue growing well into the future.
Seeka is New Zealand’s largest kiwifruit supply company with Seeka and associated companies forecast to handle more than 27 percent of New Zealand’s total kiwifruit production from harvest 2007. Seeka has a proven track record for performing extremely well for its grower supply base. Seeka operates a range of modern postharvest facilities, including specialist Gold, Green and Organic packhouses, and manages post-harvest services and product inventory to enhance grower returns. Seeka is an NZX listed company.
For more information visit: www.seeka.co.nz