Food Engineering

ERP system promotes growth

July 5, 2012
jim fragnoli ccff deacom software
Jim Fragnoli, CCFF chief financial officer, looks over real-time business details gathered through DEACOM ERP software. The software provides real-time updates of formulas and inventory. Source: CCFF.
Reports that used to take a day to assemble now take 20 minutes, and formula tracking is a breeze.
 
California Custom Fruits and Flavors, Inc. (CCFF) designs and manufactures custom fruit and flavors for the dairy, bakery, beverage and foodservice industries for customers in the US, Canada, Asia and Central America. The company has grown steadily since it was founded in 1986. It has one manufacturing facility in Irwindale, CA and, with its ever-expanding production lines, leases space in a number of outside warehouses to store its raw materials.
 
When Jim Fragnoli joined CCFF as chief financial officer in 2008, it was running an ERP system that consistently required customizations to support the company’s growing business requirements. Fragnoli estimated the company was spending an average of $100,000 a year in programming costs to keep its existing ERP system in sync with rapidly growing business demands. “It quickly became clear to us that we needed to start evaluating ERP options,” says Fragnoli. “There were a number of functions the system could not handle, and our customization costs were becoming a significant burden on the growth of the business.”
 
Before evaluating software systems, CCFF analyzed the limitations and weaknesses of its existing ERP system. The processor concluded its biggest functional needs centered on formula management, inventory tracking and financial reporting. The existing system had difficulty tracking and managing over 5,000 formulas with their extensive revisions. “Formula management was the number one must-have in terms of functionality,” says Fragnoli.  
 
CCFF also needed a modern warehouse management system to ensure its production kept up with growing demand. “Inventory tracking was critical because we had absolutely no warehouse management system,” adds Fragnoli. “The existing system had no inventory locations, no lot control, nothing. Everything we did in the warehouse was manual and very difficult to track.”
 
Financial reporting was another limitation in the existing system. “The process for creating financial reports was cumbersome and time-consuming,” explains Fragnoli.
 
CCFF evaluated four different ERP systems that met the basic functional needs of its business. It chose DEACOM software largely because of Deacom’s software development philosophy, which is rooted in flexibility and evolution. 
 
The software continues to evolve to meet the demands of processors and offers functionality not found in other ERP systems. These capabilities include formula revision tracking, inventory control, job scheduling, demand planning, cost comparison tools, flexible report generation tools and Excel data export tools.
 
“Formula management was a big, big piece of the decision-making, and DEACOM excelled in this area,” says Fragnoli. The completely integrated formula management module gives users the ability to revise and track formulas, keeping records every step of the way. The module also allows formula changes to communicate instantly with inventory, production requirements and planning.
 
CCFF has been pleased with the software’s performance and was the easiest implementation Fragnoli has overseen in his career. “I’ve done four in my life, and this was far and away the easiest, smoothest implementation.” 
 
Productivity has increased as a result of the ERP implementation. “CCFF has grown each year since implementing DEACOM,” says Fragnoli. “The efficiency and functionality of the system have allowed us to maintain our overhead costs during this growth period. The real-time performance reporting saves a lot of time.” 
 
For more information:
Stephanie Eaves; 610-971-2278, ext. 15; seaves@deacom.com