Softengine and SAP Business One ERP System Create Winning Recipe for Exclusive Artisan Oil Producer, La Tourangelle
Located in Woodland, California, La Tourangelle produces and distributes an exclusive line of hand-crafted, premium-quality cooking oils. Through a partnership between one of the oldest and most respected French artisanal oil mills, Huilerie Croix Verte SAS, based in Saumur, France, and California Oils Corporation, La Tourangelle has succeeded in re-creating the spirit of a traditional French oil mill in America. La Tourangelle's products can be found in many of the most respected stores throughout the U.S., including Whole Foods, Sur La Table, Williams Sonoma, Safeway and Cost Plus World Markets.
Disconnected Business Systems Reduce "Visibility" Across the Enterprise
Gwenn Goffin, general manager and controller of La Tourangelle, knows how challenging it is to manage a multitude of day-to-day business processes in multiple locations without the benefit of an integrated system to keep them all in sync. It's akin to driving with one wiper blade in the rain or one headlight at night – the picture isn't clear and it's not a winning formula.
With a main office in Richmond, California and separate warehouse and production facilities more than an hour away in Woodland, California, Goffin and his associates at La Tourangelle had their hands full trying to keep their , purchasing, production and inventory in harmony. For many years, the company had trusted its accounting to QuickBooks, which was partially integrated to a production and inventory management system. However, most input was performed manually at the administrative office and then shared via phone, fax or e-mail.
Sales orders were entered manually at the main office and then e-mailed or faxed to the shipping department, where they were printed for picking and packing. Production and bottling forms were completed at the production facility and then e-mailed to the office, where they were re-entered into the inventory management system. As one can imagine, their reliance on manual processes resulted in occasional input errors and discrepancies, which meant that data had to be double-checked for accuracy and corrections made, where needed. Needless to say, this was not the ideal recipe for business efficiency and accuracy.
QuickBooks was not equipped to manage the inventory of a fast-growing enterprise like La Tourangelle. Thus, the company resorted to manual processes for its inventory tracking, which proved challenging. On occasion, the receipt of raw materials was not recorded in the system at the warehouse at the time of delivery, which meant that the main office didn't have access to the latest inventory of ingredients. In those instances, staff at the production facility couldn't complete bottling or production forms until all on those raw materials had been updated at the office.
Softengine Presents and Delivers the Right Solution – On Time and Under Budget
"As a fast-growing business, we needed a fully integrated ERP system that would tie together all three of our locations and ensure that everyone was on the same page," noted Goffin. "We decided to perform a competitive evaluation of a few ERP packages in roughly the same price range and determine which one offered the most out-of-the-box functionality for a unique enterprise such as ours. Specifically, the new system had to be able to unify our sales, purchasing, inventory, production and financials"
After receiving high-pressure sales pitches from a few ERP software companies, La Tourangelle management had a totally different experience during a demo presentation of SAP Business One by Softengine (an SAP Gold Partner VAR based in Woodland Hills, California). "Softengine consultants presented an information-packed demo of the features and benefits of SAP Business One that were essential for our unique operations," said Goffin. "They took the time to learn all about our business processes, even going out to our warehouse in Woodland to gain a deeper understanding of our production processes so they could ensure that the software would fit our requirements. And better yet, there was absolutely no pressure and lots of direct and honest communication. Based on their professionalism, commitment and integrity, we had confidence that we had found the right product and the right partner for its implementation."
While SAP Business One offered most of the features and functionality they needed to integrate all of the accounting and inventory data between the main office, production facility and warehouse, La Tourangelle still needed Softengine to create a few custom financial reports and special alerts geared toward their receivables, payables, shipping and management. Here are a few of the more notable reports and alerts:
• Reports by Group – Management can run a profit & loss report specifically for each flavor of oil (e.g., Roasted Walnut, Grapeseed, Sesame, etc.) so they can assess the profitability of each product.
• Sales by Item Detail – This report displays more than just total sales by particular item; it can also be used to determine commissions for salespeople. On any given transaction date, management can see how many units of a particular item were sold and the salesperson associated with that item. Management can then compute commissions based upon a designated percentage of net sales per item.
• Bill of Lading – To be able to account for shipments from various shipping companies, Softengine customized the SAP Business One Bill of Lading feature to accommodate numerous user-defined fields, including those for "Pallet Cases," "Pallet Weight, "Actual Freight from Fedex" and many more.
• Bi-directional Conversion from U.S. to International Weight Measurement (i.e., pounds to litres and back) – This feature enables the system to convert weight measurements of products shipping in litres or kilogrammes from overseas to pounds in the U.S. and vise-versa.
The Softengine programming team also created three special alerts for La Tourangelle's corporate office: 1) A weekly alert listing all accounts payable invoices due within a week, 2) A list of all accounts receivable invoices that are past due and 3) A list of all customers who have not made a purchase within the last 45 days.
Fully Integrated Financial and Inventory Systems Yield Dramatic Time-Savings and Boost in Staff Performance
SAP Business One's automation of La Tourangelle's unique business processes has proved highly beneficial in terms of organization-wide efficiencies and staff accountability. "After our new system was up and running, we were all able to breathe more freely," said Goffin. "Having a fully integrated system has inspired confidence that our financial and inventory information is accurate and up to date. Our employees now interact more cohesively and take greater ownership of their roles in the company. And I can close the books for the year in a fraction of the time it used to take."
Softengine's ability to effect a smooth transition from QuickBooks to the new SAP Business One ERP solution was also a great relief to Goffin and his staff. "Softengine implemented our SAP Business One system without any disruption to our business operations. In fact, the cutover from our old system to the new one occurred over one weekend and we were ready to go live the next business day. All Softengine personnel involved in our project were true professionals from the demo all the way through implementation," claimed Goffin.