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SH Pratt Bananas featuring FIPS – the Fruit Import Planning System

"You can't run a business on Excel sheets"

SH Pratt, one of the leading banana importers and ripeners in Europe, has more than five decades of experience in the business related to the yellow fruit. For more than two years, the company has been handling the entire import and ripening process through FIPS, activeIT's Fruit Import Planning System.

FIPS supports order planning with live data such as sales volumes and spoilage, all lead times, processes, and ripening cycles – keeps transport planning on track even in the event of serious changes such as the failure of a container – and guarantees demand-oriented ripening planning for on-time deliveries.

So, before the software was implemented, proper planning required filling, reading, and transmitting multiple Excel lists and then manually converting them into orders and shipments in the ERP system. FIPS streamlined the process and minimized the time required.

We spoke with Rob Wells, Head of Business Improvement & Processes at SH Pratt Bananas, about the implementation process, the benefits, and working with FIPS.

Implementation, cross-fertilization, and employee adoption
For Rob Wells and his team, switching to an intelligent database-driven system meant a major transformation of the operational structure:

"Change is always a challenge. Moving from a familiar system to a new, unfamiliar system - no matter what system it is - will always be difficult. But you can't run a business on Excel sheets. Therefore, it was necessary to take this step. We tried to make the changeover process as smooth as possible."

Accordingly, a lively exchange with activeIT was the order of the day: "As part of the introduction of FIPS, we held some training sessions over a period of a few weeks and did a video course. In my opinion, it gave us a solid foundation to build on. The implementation process, on the other hand, was a bit more difficult as we were the first big customer for FIPS and there were definitely some development changes we needed to make, which again understandably took time. That development time did make implementation more difficult, but activeIT's support was always there."

Wells also emphasizes the good relationship with the software company, "The input from both sides was beneficial. We went through this process together and had the opportunity to tailor the system to how we work. We were able to contribute to the development process and activeIT implemented everything as we needed it. As the FIPS solution was not yet completed we were able to help shape it – that was and is a clear advantage. There were several feedback rounds, in which we invested a lot of time, but only in this way our industry know-how could flow directly into the development process. This made the implementation harder, but it worked out for the best – now we have a better system to work with.”

Click here to view the extended Press Release.

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