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LINKFresh® Deployment Achieves Significant Productivity Improvements

Totally Integrated Leading Edge Solution Deployed Within 4 months & to Budget

Company background

Lincolnshire Field Products logoSpalding based Lincolnshire Field Products Ltd (LFP) is one of the UK’s leading fresh produce growers and producers. The company has an annual turnover of £100m and farms in excess of 12,000 acres. LFP is principally focused on the production, procurement, packing and distribution of fresh vegetables to a range of High Street retailers.

The Business Need

The company had invested significant resources in refining their legacy system to meet their specific needs. However, the technology was no longer capable of responding quickly enough to the business challenges of a rapidly growing organisation. As a result, many processes were handled outside of the core business management system. This led to duplication of data, increased administration costs and inefficient working practices.

The business need was to free up valuable manpower from the task of running a variety of disparate systems to enable them to add value to the customer experience. By focusing on sales order processing, purchasing control, price negotiation and better reporting, LFP could ensure that it could improve customer service while protecting the commercial interests of the company.

As LFP’s IT manager Paul Witherington explained; “What we wanted was to incorporate all of our disparate systems and processes into one centralised information system. Our overall aim was to improve efficiency while taking cost out of the business. The solution also had to be flexible enough to meet our current needs while enabling us to respond quickly to changes in our customer requirements. We also needed a system that could be rapidly implemented and within budget. We had some aggressive milestones to achieve that we didn’t want to miss given the seasonal nature of our business”.

The Selection Process

“We went through an extensive two year evaluation period where we assessed a wide variety of alternative options before selecting the LINKFresh suite” explained Witherington. “What impressed us was the depth of specific fresh produce functionality incorporated within the package. It was clear that it would meet most of our requirements within the standard LINKFresh and Microsoft Dynamics NAV functionality. The system could also be rapidly configured to cope with our way of working. This was important as we wanted to take the opportunity to change the previous business processes imposed by the legacy system to reflect best industry practice as part of the new solution.”

The Solution

A combination of powerful LINKFresh® fresh produce functionality seamlessly integrated with the global leading Dynamics NAV ERP suite from Microsoft were used to meet the full requirements of the company. The LINKFresh deployment handles all of LFP’s financial and supply chain requirements in one central, fully integrated and easy to use solution.

Inventory Management

Simple user friendly interfaces were configured that allowed LFP personnel to rapidly book in produce arriving from the field. This captured details on the grower, field, plot and gang labour. This provided LFP with the required information to be able to Self Bill and track and trace receipts of produce at any time.

Supply Chain Management

The introduction of the LINKFresh Supply Chain modules allowed LFP’s supply personnel to manage supply and demand more efficiently. The functionality within this powerful application facilitates the raising of cut instructions, complete with ‘display until’ and bagging instructions for pack in the field. The solution also provides for the automation of all required documentation directly from the core system. In addition, using LINKFresh® Consignments and Purchase Order Management LFP are now able to manage their total supply chain both from their own farm and field. This covers their extensive range of UK contract farms and growers, and their many overseas suppliers. It also facilitates the traceability of produce down to the level of lot, consignment, grower, field and plot.

Screenshot showing forecast harvesting screen with cut instructions

Fig 1: Harvest Forecasting Screen with Cut Instructions

LINKFresh® Replenishment & EDI Order Processing

The deployment of the LINKFresh® Replenishment functionality enabled LFP to completely automate the allocation of their Sales Order demand across their extensive network of both internal and external pack houses and suppliers. The replenishment granule allows LFP to pre-specify a series of sophisticated rules which determine how Sales Order demand will be allocated to its various supply channels. “Alternate Rules” specified by date range to allow for seasonal variations, and “Daily Exception Rules” to cater for one off variances are also incorporated.

screenshot showing LINKFresh replenishment screens with rule definition

Fig 2: LINKFresh® Replenishment screens with rule definition

This has enabled LFP to completely define their replenishment and fulfillment business logic. The company has now automated their EDI Sales Order Processing. As orders are received late each evening, LINKFresh® EDI Order Processing imports the raw EDI Order file. According to a number of optional settings the system automatically translates and split the orders according to Delivery Depots and replenishment requirements. It also releases the Orders, issues requirements to the Packhouses via email, raises Purchase and Packing Orders and receipt goods into Warehouse.

Screenshot showing EDI order import screens with rule definition

Fig 3: EDI Order Import screens with rule definition

This degree of automation has had a significant impact on productivity as Paul Witherington explained. “The process of managing and processing the incoming EDI orders was a major daily task. It is now possible for the process to be run at night without any user intervention, with all sales and corresponding back to back orders completed before the supply team arrives in the morning”.

Finance & Administration

In addition to the implementation of the LINKFresh® solution, LFP had a number of financial and administrative requirements. The solution was enhanced to provide an Invoice Register & management system, and a number of configured facilities. These include supplier self bill; packhouse labour self bill, consolidated payment runs and a host of other features.

“The financial aspects of the system have helped enormously” explained Managing Director Robin Hancox. “Cash management is so much easier; reporting much quicker and getting information to our growers has been greatly improved. In addition, periodic reporting is simpler which has provided us with access to information that was not available with the legacy system. In an industry littered with failed system implementations, it is gratifying to report that the solution was successfully delivered within budget and against a very challenging deadline.”

The Benefits

The company now has a leading edge modern centralized business management solution that manages all of their operational processes. This has replaced a variety of disparate systems that were expensive and difficult to manage. The main benefit has been a significant reduction in data duplication resulting in reduced administration costs. Overall, the LFP solution has provided the company with an extensive range of product and customer information directly from the system. This level of management information has enabled the company to quickly react to client or product trends issues.

“The previous LFP system had been significantly tailored over a period of 10 years to meet the very specific needs of the company” commented Anglia’s Managing Director David Hurley. “To totally replace and subsequently exceed the requirements of such a system operating in a £100 million business in less than four months, on time and within budget, has been a major achievement. It is a tribute to the LFP team and the innovation and deployment expertise of Anglia that such a solution could be successfully implemented in such a short period”

Hardware & Software

Operating System
- Windows Server 2003
- SQL Server 2000

Development Environment
- Microsoft DynamicsTM NAV 4.0

Anglia Components
- LINKFresh®

Services
- Business Consultancy
- Project Management
- Windows 2003 Server Set-Up & Optimisation
- SQL 2000 Set-up & Integration
- Workstation/Handheld installation & Optimisation
- Microsoft DynamicsTM NAV & LINKFresh® Bespoke Design, Deployment & Testing



For Further information contact:
Anglia Business Solutions Ltd
Harston Mill
Harston
Cambridge
CB22 7GG
UK

Tel: +44 (0)1223 873400
Fax: +44 (0)1223 873401
Email: linkfresh@angliabs.com

 



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