Importing tonnes of fresh produce several times a week from suppliers across Europe to satisfy a wide and exacting customer base is an even trickier job when your wholesale prices going up and down from one hour to the next – plus you’re having to calculate different prices for different price structures. It’s one of the toughest supply chains to manage, and seriously tests business systems.
Handling that was the task that Scottish wholesaler Ivan Wood & Sons Ltd set for Greentree.
From a family business that started on a farm four decades ago, Ivan Wood & Sons has grown to a leading supplier of fresh fruit and vegetables to some of Scotland’s most prestigious hotels and restaurants – and the business has stayed in the family.
Ivan Wood Snr is retired now, and the business is in the hands of his sons, Ivan Jnr and Malcolm. Their warehouse has doubled in size to meet customer demand. “It’s a 24-hour business,” says Accounts Controller Gillian Davie. “We work in lots of different shifts, taking, processing and dispatching orders.”Ivan Wood was a long-term user of Sage Line 100. “We tended to work around it rather than it working for us and we knew its days were numbered,” Gillian says. “We were using it for invoicing and basic accountancy, but we wanted a business system that would do other things as well – something that would grow with us and give us new ideas to help grow our business.”
Invoicing the old way involved converting the weight of the produce delivered into a priced invoice to be sent out with the driver making the delivery.
“We couldn’t email statements to customers without printing off and scanning the invoices,” says Gillian. “At the end of each month I’d be doing that with a big pile of statements. We wanted direct email, and to be able to take orders online.”
The company’s search for added functionality and a path to further growth ended with Greentree.Ivan Wood & Sons Ltd does its wholesale purchasing from a number of EU countries. Prices constantly fluctuate and are affected by seasonal issues. With several deliveries a week and different prices in each one, plus variations according to suppliers, keeping tabs on all that information is a full-time job. The Greentree partner was asked to demonstrate by recommendation from Ivan Wood’s IT administrator, and quickly dissuaded the company from just moving to a new version of Sage.
“We find them very easy to deal with and they’ve definitely put new ideas in our heads – things such as Greentree Webstore for handling orders,” Gillian says.Greentree is making everyone’s life easier. Ivan Jnr can now manage price changes quickly, while Gillian is spending less time wading through documents to answer customer queries.
“Reporting is great because it’s done quickly and I’m able to narrow it down to exactly what I’m looking for,” she says. “A customer will ask us how many of a specific item they’ve bought from us in the last month and we can find it straight away. We can also keep on top of customer requirements by generating reports on past purchases and likely future needs – Greentree is especially good for that.”
As for invoicing: Greentree easily handles the large and small customers alike, as well as applying special pricing details for contract buyers.
“The system is easy for everyone to understand,” Gillian says. “In the Sage system, once you’d processed for the invoicing you couldn’t change anything – you had to cancel then start all over again. With Greentree we’re able to amend the weights once the orders are made up and make any changes before invoicing. That’s really sharpening up our accuracy.
“Greentree has modernised us and made us realise that it will work for us, rather than us working around it.”