White’s, based in Tandragee, Northern Ireland was formed in 1841 and since it’s inception has never stood still, endlessly innovating and evolving as a company. White’s is best known locally for White’s Porridge Oats and the Speedicook brand.
White’s were faced with several business process challenges. The primary challenge was in the management and consolidation of stock in multiple locations throughout Ireland and the UK with each distributor working on different management systems. There was no integration with the GL, they had disparate data silos and there was no ability to track lots.
Other challenges included poor internal controls and a general lack of visibility across the business. Stocks were being checked at the end of each month, valued and wrote off against the difference to cost of sale. This, combined with multiple data sources created an environment of poor information management, complicated manual processes and an overall lack of control.
From a management perspective, there was a disconnect between system use and system reporting with no capability for personalised reports. Data needed to be manually merged and filtered every time a report was required.
Thus, White’s chose to partner with Sysco Software Solutions to design and implement Microsoft Dynamics NAV as a full end-to-end, process driven ERP system.
“We had been operating with our previous system for a number of years. It was primarily a finance system but as we grew as a company, as our needs changed, as we got bigger, it was clear that system wasn’t going to be able to deliver what we needed.”
James Mathers, General Manager, White’s.
“One of the main problems we had was around stock control. Our operations were very disjointed. NAV helped us from day one.” explained Thomas Scullion, Financial Controller at White’s. He continued, “We could see the questions being asked from production, from stock control, from operators – right from day one and that was the right thing to be doing.”.
The benefits of Sysco’s design and implementation of Microsoft Dynamics where considerable throughout the business. White’s achieved immediate stock management with visibility of their three main warehouse units who are all now using Microsoft Dynamics NAV as their own source of stock management.
Stock can now be rotated on a FEFO basis eliminating the chance of obsolete stock issues. Previously warehouse operatives would have picked the most accessible stock to them physically, rather than the oldest stock available.
Microsoft Dynamics enables White’s production management to lock down actions performed such as unauthorised posting of stock dates.
White’s recently completed their annual BRC audit where product traceability is a main focal point.
BRC stipulates a period of four hours to trace 20 products and were previously it would have taken 3-4 people the full four hours to complete. With Microsoft Dynamics NAV it took just one person 5 minutes to complete all 20 product traces.
The processing team also benefit from being able to raise production orders for cases. Microsoft Dynamics NAV scans the bill of materials required and places the order for the components to the warehouses. In addition, pallet labels cannot be printed unless the stock is available to make the pallet using the BOM quantities specified.
Efficiency gains have also been made in the incoming testing of raw materials, packaging and ingredients which was previously completed on Excel spreadsheets. With Microsoft Dynamics NAV, test details can be entered as stock is received and cross checked against parameters which can reject product if required.
Microsoft Dynamics Personalised User Views answer the issues surrounding management reporting.
“It’s the instantaneous data. At any point in time, you can go and view the data, whether it’s a stock purchase order, a supplier status or a supplier balance. It’s about being able to go in, at any time of the day and know that the data is accurate at any time of the day.” said James Mathers, General Manager at White’s.
Microsoft Dynamics Views supply the management team with the business insights they need to make informed decisions at any time of the day. White’s now have full visibility of their gross margin. White’s can now identify slow moving lines of stock on a proactive basis rather than a reactive basis. White’s can standardise costing, reviewing monthly for Materials and Price variations. This creates a chain of accountability in terms of understanding and eliminating price variations with buyers now being responsible for explaining purchase variations.
“One of the main problems we had was around stock control. Our operations were very disjointed. NAV helped us from day one.”
Thomas Scullion, Financial Controller, White’s.
Prior to choosing Sysco and Microsoft Dynamics NAV, White’s had evaluated three solutions. A series of GAP documents were created and costed to give a projected cost overview and submitted with White’s for review. Sysco provided the most detailed GAP document showing that they clearly understood White’s as a business from the beginning. This was an excellent platform from which to develop the project further.
“The evaluation and subsequent design and consulting work has bought us in new directions giving us very beneficial advice, simplifying what we considered ‘difficult’ problems initially.” Thomas Scullion, White’s.
Looking to the future, White’s plan to implement a strategy for managing their big data into user driven dashboards and KPIs. They will refine their Standard Operating Processes and continue their innovative work within the automation of those processes.
The long-term goal is to digitally transform White’s entire operation going totally paperless with full visibility across the business.