Utilize delivers a custom solution for the Coconut Collaborative
The Coconut Collaborative describes itself as “a lovely bunch of coconutters who are on a mission to spread the coco-love far and wide by bringing together like-minded coconut companies, sharing delicious and surprising coconut treats with the world, and giving something back to the planet and its people.”
Put more simply, this young company is a manufacturer of tasty yoghurts, all made from the milk of the coconut. Free from dairy, soya, and gluten, but not temptation, its recipes are bursting with healthy nutrients, glorious flavours and vibrant marketing appeal.
But don’t be fooled by the wit and informality of this brand. The business packs a serious commercial punch too, headed up by James Averdieck who was the founder of dessert company Gü, which he sold to Noble Foods in 2010 in a deal that valued the firm at £32.5m.
By the middle of 2015, as their business grew, the Directors of the Coconut Collaborative knew they had outgrown their Sage 50 accounts software and began to research more advanced solutions. It soon became clear that Sage 200 offered all the right ingredients for a successful upgrade.
In migrating to a more advanced accounts solution, the Coconut Collaborative was looking for more than just another ‘off the shelf’ package when it approached Utilize with several key business issues that needed to be addressed.
The company wanted to install its new Sage 200 software in the cloud to avoid any requirement to purchase in-house servers and to enjoy the flexibility and disaster recovery benefits that a hosted platform could offer. It also needed to identify an appropriate EDI (Electronic Data Interchange) solution provider that could operate with its new system.
Some custom development work would also be necessary to satisfy two further requirements: the ability to interface with the system operated by its third-party logistics company and a function that would help create and manage promotional price structures (such as 2 for 1 offers), which are widely used within the food distribution sector.
With a recognised history in solution provision, Utilize consulted extensively with its client, reviewing this desired functionality and advising on how it might be achieved in conjunction with Sage 200 software. The Coconut Collaborative was confident that Utilize could deliver the results needed and the project commenced in August 2015.
The Coconut Collaborative now operates Sage 200 Extra Financial & Commercial modules, which it runs on a cloud platform as opposed to a local server.
Indeed, the only hardware the Coconut Collaborative now operates are its users’ laptops, thereby minimising the ongoing cost of infrastructure support, maximising the flexibility of access to its systems and ensuring all data is constantly backed up in the cloud.
With major UK supermarkets featuring amongst its client list, the Coconut Collaborative needed to source an appropriate EDI solution provider that could be integrated with Sage 200. Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) is an automated interchange of business information that uses a standardised format, so that sales orders generated by the likes of Sainsbury’s and Waitrose can be imported directly into financial systems such as Sage 200. Equally, sales invoices raised by the Coconut Collaborative can be loaded, in the correct format, straight into its trading partners’ accounts systems. Utilize helped to identify an EDI provider for its client and oversaw the introduction of this facility.
As a strategic Sage partner, one of Utilize’s strengths is its ability to customise software to a customer’s unique requirements. After consulting with the Coconut Collaborative to specify their exact needs, Utilize supplied the interface with the third-party logistics company, which holds and distributes all stock, to ensure the correct despatch information is passed to and from the warehouse and accurate invoice information is able to be generated by Sage 200. Utilize also delivered customisation of Sage 200 to provide special price promotion functionality.
In Sage 200 Extra, the Coconut Collaborative has a powerful new system to manage its accounts, payments, nominal ledger, inventory and financial reporting. But the key to the success of this project was in shaping it to the specific needs of the business.
Utilize worked with its client to understand the core functionality that was required and to deliver a customised solution with the following key features:
With Sage 200 Extra installed in a hosted environment, the Coconut Collaborative enjoys the same benefits of any cloud-solution, including simpler management, flexible access for users, reduced hardware investment and built-in business continuity.
INTERFACE WITH LOGISTICS COMPANY
A custom interface was developed between Sage 200 and the accounts system operated by a third-party logistics company to ensure despatch information could be passed effectively from the warehouse holding stock for the Coconut Collaborative.
Utilize helped to source an established EDI solution provider to enable electronic trading with the major supermarkets and oversaw its introduction with integration to Sage 200.
PROMOTIONAL PRICING MODULE
Food manufacturers frequently run promotions with their distributors, offering special product pricing during a fixed date range. Utilize customised Sage 200 to ensure such promotions can be accurately managed and invoiced.
EXPERT SAGE SUPPORT
This solution is supported by Utilize’s expert team of Sage specialists to ensure the product continues to drive productivity within the Coconut Collaborative as the organisation grows and evolves.