Fruit Grower’s Supply Company (FGS) is the largest agricultural supply co-op on the US West Coast. The cooperative was organized in 1907 as a result of the 1906 earthquake and fires in San Francisco. Today, the nonprofit cooperative association is open to the public and provides the agricultural items required to grow, harvest, package and ship various commodities of produce. Fruit Growers Supply provides over-the-counter sales, specialized ordering, and custom-design irrigation systems with six retail locations across California and Arizona.
Fruit Grower’s Supply determined a need to upgrade their SAP® environment and integrate a new Order Management / Point of Sale solution for each of their retail locations. Their legacy system was out of date and the company that performed the initial implementation had been bought out and no longer existed. Additionally, the legacy hardware FGS was using would no longer have support as of June 2014 and the company was tasked to maintain PCI compliance.
FGS created a committee of stakeholders to determine what to upgrade, evaluate potential partners and decide when to complete these changes to ensure minimal business disruption. The committee included the FGS Operation’s Center Director, IT Director, County Controller and Chief Financial Officer. The committee concluded that not only would it benefit the company to upgrade the legacy POS at that time, but that upgrading SAP and Windows would add additional efficiency. The POS needs were determined to be:
- Increase customer service levels by supporting additional payment methods
- Increase sales opportunities
- Increase accountability by supporting end of day procedures and cash draw functionality
Specific needs critical to Fruit Grower’s Supply included:
- The need to eliminate SAP interfaces
- A centralized system
- The ability to support specific client relationships found in their industry
The ability to support signature capture
Once the committee determined the company’s needs, they were responsible for selecting a solution to fulfill these requirements. The committee chose to partner with DataXstream because DataXstream was one of the only providers able to support all of FGS critical requirements. DataXstream’s skill set and knowledge of SAP upgrades met FGS needs. DataXstream also offered specialty retail knowledge, experience and had previous success with POS implementation at a specialty retailer. Finally, DataXstream demonstrated a clear understanding of the investment required for a successfully implementation and client history showing increased efficiencies and improved order management processes.
Fruit Grower’s Supply and DataXstream engaged in a two-week assessment period to better understand FGS’s needs. They agreed on a four-day cutover throughout Labor Day weekend to minimize the impact to FGS clients. Prior to cutover, the team submitted the implementation to three testing cycles. These testing cycles were also used as training opportunities for the FGS team.
Alex Perlovich, Director of IT for Fruit Growers noted that the assessment period was critical to the success of the project because FGS had the opportunity to require some proof from DataXstream that critical needs could be met. Tim Yates, CEO of DataXstream, noted that FGS did an excellent job providing detailed testing scenarios to test the product before delivery. The teams worked to upgrade SAP from ECC 6.0 to EHP7, implement a new hardware terminal with flexible controls, and migrate from the legacy POS to the new POS with minimal impact while maintaining some legacy processes.
At the end of any implementation the first question is: “What business value has been gained?”
Fruit Grower’s Supply lists the following benefits from upgrading their operating systems and implementing a new POS:
- The solution was designed, developed and deployed to all of the company stores in 6 months
- Seamless migration from legacy POS
- Minimal impact to FGS clients
- Retained ability to maintain legacy order processes
- Sales order creation steps were reduced by 50 percent
- Simplified return and refund processes were established; the time to complete a return and refund process was reduced from 15 minutes to less than 2 minutes
- Significantly reduced the number of order fulfillment related support tickets from stores
- Ability to add and refine features and functionality without adding hardware
DataXstream’s Order Management Solution (OMS+) is easily adapted to custom requirements for a variety of clients. It is a good fit for SAP clients looking for capability with permits, licenses, hazardous materials, partial orders, partial delivery, partial return or layaway. The solution is also a good fit for businesses considering SAP functionality, and any business, wholesale or retail, with complex order processing. DataXstream has recently been approached by municipalities exploring the possible use of the solution for sale of permits and licenses as well as restructuring the system to allow for one point accounts receivable.