Seafood Import & Distribution Case Study

Toppits Foods

Executive SummaryToppits Foods, Blue Link client

Based in Toronto, Toppits Foods is an importer of fish and seafood products, as well as other frozen foods such as Italian vegetables, frozen crushed garlic and herb cubes, hors d’oeuvres and many other value added frozen products. The company services all of the major foodservice distributors and retail chains in Canada, and exports to other countries around the world.

With the price fluctuations, quality control requirements, and competitive nature of the industry, Toppits needed to implement an integrated information system that would provide real time information to the front-line staff, manage key inventory data down to individual lots, and provide management with accurate strategically critical information. Working with Concord, Ontario based Blue Link Associates Limited, Toppits implemented an end to end solution based on Blue Link Elite.


Toppits was looking for an integrated IT system that would help improve employee productivity, provide management with timely and accurate information, and automate various manual functions, including interaction with external third party warehouses.

The company was running an older, traditional accounting system, and many processes were tracked manually outside the central system. Information flows between the company and external partners were based on paper, faxes and duplicate data entry.

“We have to track a great deal of specific information about each shipment we receive from a supplier, and each order shipped out to a customer,” says Peter Bill, V.P. Finance, Toppits Foods. “We needed to automate the process of tracking and distributing this information, and to provide real-time reports, to allow our employees to focus on key tasks that impact the business, instead of tedious manual exercises.”

“We were very labour-intensive, and with the same data being input multiple times by multiple people, the risk of data entry errors was a major concern,” says Bill. “In addition, ensuring that customer prices were accurately assigned was a significant drain on resources.”


With the help of Blue Link Associates Limited, Toppits implemented a solution based Blue Link Elite, an affordable ERP system geared to their industry.

“The product offers incredible value for small businesses because they benefit from the kind of top-of-the-line ERP features used by big firms to boost productivity and improve customer service, but at an affordable price,” says Corey Kaffenbaum, Toppits I.T. Manager.

Blue Link Elite provides the core inventory management, order processing and purchasing tools, all integrated with a powerful accounting back end. Lot tracking, automation of transactions with external third parties, and flexible reporting using industry standard tools, were bundled with a high level of professional implementation assistance. The result was a successful transition for Toppits, to the integrated environment.

“Toppits was bogged down by manual processes,” says Bill. “The company needed a solution that not only tracked the flow of inventory, but its entire business process, in a timely and accurate manner.”

Inventory Management
In addition to simply managing quantities available and pricing, Blue Link Elite provides Toppits with the sophisticated tools to track lots and catch weight, provide instructions to their outsourced warehouse partners, and import information from external sources without manual intervention.

ReportingBlue Link Elite provides a number of sales analysis and other management reports out of the box. Toppits used Crystal Reports to extend the reporting library and create new reports to its own specifications. The financial report generator shipped with Blue Link Elite is flexible and powerful enough to handle all the fiscal reporting needs.

Robust and Scalable
Toppits wanted to ensure that the solution they selected would be reliable, and would be able to grow with the company. Blue Link Elite is based on the Microsoft SQL-Server database, and is scalable and robust enough to satisfy the needs of the company many years into the future.


Enhanced Productivity
An integrated IT solution has helped Toppits improve productivity across the organization. Access to comprehensive, accurate and up-to-date information is enabling employees to focus on key tasks instead of tedious manual work. Duplicated data-entry has been eliminated, saving staff more than 5 days per month in time. Improved information on pricing and product availability is also helping to improve customer service.

“Our sales staff can now sell immediately on the phone instead of having to ask someone else about product availability before accepting an order,” says Bill.

Improved Bottom Line
Blue Link Elite is also helping Toppits improve its profitability by providing management with access to timely and accurate information needed to make sound business decisions. The result is better visibility into inventory status, which helps ensure that sales obligations are fulfilled, while also maximizing inventory turnover and reducing the costs associated with warehousing excess product.

“The food distribution business is challenging, with tight margins,” says Bill. “Quality and timely information can trigger significant cost savings. Blue Link has moved us in the right direction.”

Infrastructure for Growth
Elite provides Toppits with a solid platform for future growth. The business processes that it automates, together with the detailed audit trails and flexibility, will serve Toppits well as it introduces new product lines and new employees.

“We are confident that we have provided a business environment that Toppits can depend on,” says Kaffenbaum. “Microsoft SQL Server provides a robust, reliable and scalable database. Building on this solid foundation, Blue Link has provided the tools and quality service we need to manage our business, and our growth, effectively.”

With the help of the solution implemented by Blue Link Associates Limited, Toppits Canada Ltd. has accrued the following tangible benefits:

  • Saved more than 5 working days a month
  • Improved inventory management
  • Improved management information and decision making
  • Improved security
  • Eliminate manual processes