Greentree gives Maria’s Pasta the ingredients for success

Posted by AFN Staff Writers on 26th June 2015

The growth of pasta manufacturer, Maria’s Pasta, has been fast and constant over the last 20 years. Since 1989 Maria’s Pasta had relied on CBA to manage the financial and distribution data, but its growth dictated the need for a new system.

The overriding need in the new system was to formalise processes and a have a system the company could continue to grow with. Paul Italiano, the General Manager says, “Greentree will support our business. There is so much potential for use as we develop and grow.” He continues, “We now have our finger on the pulse of the business, more than we ever could in the past.”greentree4

Greentree met Maria’s criteria over other competitive products, as it provided a comprehensive accounting system overall, enabled GST compliance and moved the company to a Windows-based system. Paul says, “No system fits any business perfectly, but Greentree was a 95% fit for our business. It met our criteria being a powerful accounting engine and the integration into the inventory and CRM systems were added advantages for us.”

The JADE thin client technology also influenced the Greentree decision, as the travelling or off-site staff would use the remote access to get live information. Paul believes this ability is “quick and effective”. Built on a reliable database, Greentree provides the management team with online backups and full data security. Paul explains, “When I leave for a holiday, I know it’s done. I have the comfort of knowing the system is secure and robust.”

Large quantities of Maria’s Pasta products are sold to caterers and wholesalers throughout Australia and some exports markets, and in order to keep up with this demand the distribution system has to be flexible to its production style. Pauls adds, “Greentree handles our inventory and pricing wonderfully. It has enhanced our processes.”

Greentree allows multiple units of measure to be defined against each stock item, including the conversion rate from one unit to another. Items may be purchased, transferred, stocked or sold in any unit of measure and Greentree will manage the conversions. Each unit of measure may also have a defined selling price, allowing volume prices to automatically apply if a customer purchases a larger quantity.

“One great thing we get from using ‘units of measure’ is that we can easily see how many kilos of pasta or sauce were sold regardless of the unit it was sold in. This was done manually in CBA,” comments Paul. Using the conversion rate from one unit to another has enhanced Maria’s processes, and allows it to better understand its performance and develop product lines. Paul explains, “We can now run a sales analysis of the conversion of pasta sauce in the volumes used and we are able to compare the output.”

Multiple formats for packing slips can be created as part of the sales order system and are completely user-defined, allowing printing of ‘standard’ extended descriptions, specifications or detailed notes from the sales order process. The packing slips can be ‘hot printed’ directly from the Sales Order Entry screen, ensuring orders are processed quickly with minimal paper-work and lost time. “Our packing slips are now exactly how we need them: the right size and, through a user-defined field, they print with our internal shorthand descriptions on each order. It’s been a huge bonus to have this flexibility for our processes.”

The Sales Orders module is fully integrated with the Inventory and Accounts Receivable modules to ensure Maria’s Pasta customer and stock availability information is always up to date. This also means that customer and stock item discounts or special pricing arrangements are automatically detected and applied, reducing the risk of costly mistakes.

Paul says, “Greentree has taken us that next step further. We have been able to re-engineer our sales process, but with the production process, I’d say in fact that the benefit of Greentree has been that we’ve not had to change things. The system, unlike many others I looked at, was flexible enough to fit around us, rather than the other way round. It’s offered us improvements and efficiencies, without forcing us to re-engineer.”

With customers waiting for an immediate response to queries, efficient access to information is essential. Greentree provides an on-screen order inquiry facility that allows the team to find the status of orders by customer number, sales order number or the customer’s purchase order reference. Orders, packing slips and invoices can then be easily ‘drilled down’ for viewing the complete details and status of each line. “We can now easily run queries on sales orders, using trees and user defined fields for specific product information. We can now produce a daily ‘production list’ with quantities directly from sales orders; a really important process,” says Paul.

Having “a powerful accounting engine” was essential for the management team, which now has a fully integrated General Ledger, previously not used in CBA. Paul says, “It has been really helpful to see more structure to our business. Our accountant can use Greentree’s clever tables and Excel for importing figures. It’s the usability and ease of manipulating the data that’s important.” He continues, “Customer account reconciliations were lengthy and had to be re-keyed in CBA. Now we have a more user-friendly system, saving administration time.” Commenting on the quicker monthend processing, Paul explains, “Being date driven Greentree is delightful! We have actually saved one day a month. It has taken a lot of pressure off these periods.”

The Greentree Workflow module provides a dynamic desktop view, with information updated to all relevant desktops across the organisation as soon as it is entered. Debtor information can be included in financial desktop objects, making debtor management even easier and more efficient. “We use this more and more. It has been especially useful for debt collection.” Expanding on other useful functions, Paul says, “Screen customisations has also helped us. We can ‘switch off’ certain functions we do not presently require. Training is much easier this way also.”

The Italiano family has over 70 years’ experience in the food industry, so they have accumulated a vast range of historical sales and contact information. Greentree’s Customer Relationship suite provides a powerful base that allows them to have a central system, define the organisations their business comes into contact with, and what the nature of the relationship is. Paul explains, “All the customer information that we all had historically in our heads is now going into Greentree and accessible for everyone. We can use this information flow and we’re far more efficient as a result.” He adds, “CRM gives us the potential to do more with our business contacts. We can be more responsive to our customers, track sales information and overall formalise our sales process.”

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