Sage: ERP provides sweet results for candy maker

Thursday August 26, 2010
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THE COMPANY: Ganong is a Canadian manufacturer of gift box chocolates, fruit snacks and sugar confectionery. Operating out of its St. Stephen, N.B. location since 1873, the company was voted one of Canada's 50 Best-Managed Companies for three consecutive years. THE CHALLENGE: Despite being a mid-sized manufacturer, Ganong believed strongly in the value of an experienced information technology staff, and in what a new, fully integrated enterprise system could bring to the organization. Ganong's proprietary, heavily customized HP3000-based application was generally effective in processing the company's business transactions; however, management believed that an improved information management system would enable them to make better, timelier business decisions. Further, the new information system needed to have scalability, stronger order fulfillment, and manufacturing capacity management capabilities. Ganong also recognized that, while their confectionery manufacturing business environment placed them within the realm of needing a process-specific software application, they wouldn't require anywhere near the capabilities offered by most process manufacturing vendors. Instead, their manufacturing processes were aligned more towards a hybrid or mixed-mode style, with requirements for both batch and discrete capabilities. THE STRATEGY: Ganong engaged the IBM Global Services Division in Canada to assist with a formal evaluation of packaged applications. The team investigated several major applications on the market to determine which vendor offered a truly mid-market solution with the best balance of the following criteria: functionality, technology, price, ease-of-use and implementation. Ultimately, Ganong selected Sage ERP X3, knowing that the software solution had the right amount of functional depth and breadth to achieve the company's system objectives and attain the fastest return on investment. Factoring into the decision were the software's integrated automated data collection capabilities, a feature that must typically be acquired from third-party specialists. The Ganong team also liked Sage ERP X3's more technically advanced architecture. THE RESULTS: With Sage ERP X3, Ganong improved accuracy and reduced billing errors, and now tracks off-invoice allowances at a detailed level. Financial reporting is much improved, with easy access to financial and statistical profitability information. The accuracy and timeliness of production recording is greatly improved through the use of the integrated Sage ERP X3's data collection module, thereby improving the production planning process. "This is one feature of the system from which we derived benefits immediately right from go-live," says Marc Lefebvre, vice-president and CIO for Ganong. Since its initial implementation in 2002, Ganong has maximized its investment in Sage ERP X3, extending its usage across the organization and to additional users, and updating the software as new releases become available. A recent software upgrade to Version 5 boosted the functionality of the browser-based interface and added expanded inventory functionality. The browser interface proves ideal for remote users of the software, as well as local users who appreciate the familiar web look. Ganong has also implemented EDI, a process made much simpler due to the flexible architecture of Sage ERP X3, explains Lefebvre.

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