The computer system was initially developed by someone with an interest in computers, and programming, but who was not an expert in the field. As a full-time employee of Retail Ready Foods Inc., he was solely responsible for updating and troubleshooting the system. This could cause emergencies if he was absent or unable to respond immediately to a problem.
Created in DOS, the in-house system was used to track inventory, enter sales orders, and process invoices. Inventory includes over 3,000 SKU’s, with about 500 active at any one time. Inventory movement can be as much as 175 -225 items of inventory per day, and about 10 purchase orders per day. Each order can be from 1 – 20 products, each with a separate SKU, and could be a few or hundreds of cases per SKU. This information, including sales data was batched and entered into the ACCPAC accounting package.
Retail Ready Foods Inc. doesn’t own any warehouses – they are all 3rd party locations. However, it needs to record its (RRF’s) shipped inventory. All ‘regular’ sales ship out of one warehouse; RRF occasionally has inventory product in warehouses in Alberta and elsewhere in Ontario and makes use of the multiple warehouse location functionality within Blue Link ERP. RRF uses a ‘virtual’ warehouse location within the database that doesn’t actually exist but is used for purchasing and selling product that is never actually inventoried.
RRF transfers data from its own system to the main warehouse partner’s system (sales and purchase orders) and imports data back from their system (shipment and receiving information) via EDI files. Blue Link customized the system to allow this within its software.
Realizing the precariousness of relying on one person to upgrade and troubleshoot the entire system, and understanding the shortcomings of the existing accounting package, Retail Ready Foods Inc. began looking at alternatives.
At that time, there was no one system for the food industry, so a totally custom application had to be devised – there weren’t any ‘modules’ available.
Because products are sold by the box, or by weight, or both, it was difficult to find a system that could handle and administer the multiple units of measurement.
The company wanted a system to replace the one it had, to speed-up reporting and inventory management, but also to reduce the risk of having a system that wouldn’t be entirely managed, upgraded and troubleshot by one person – a one-man show.
There were few available systems meeting the needs of a wholesale distributor with the unique flexibility requirements of Retail Ready Foods Inc.
This flexibility requirement had to allow for temporary special pricing to assess sales changes, and volume discounts to increase sales. It also had to be flexible enough to manage inventory quantities and pricing.
Retail Ready Foods Inc. wanted a system that would manage and control inventory, allowing accurate invoicing in one system. Retail Ready Foods Inc. began searching for a flexible, customizable system.