One of the best problems you can have is a business that is getting too big for its current inventory management practices. This not only means that you’ve achieved the holy grail of business, rapid growth, but also that you have the opportunity to improve your company’s efficiency with new and exciting technologies.
Of the many businesses moving towards inventory management software, a handful are coming from outdated systems such as excel spreadsheets. There are a variety of benefits to switching from an outdated inventory management system, including increased employee satisfaction and increased profits and cash flow. In contrast, other businesses have strong roots in technology, which allows them to easily integrate new software into existing systems. Still, the process isn’t always easy, even for those who have a history of taking advantage of new technologies.
Related Article: 4 Reasons Spreadsheets are Killing Your InventoryWhen making any major change to a management system, there can be small bumps in the road that temporarily stall progress. If you’re considering a transition to a more advanced inventory management system, it’s important to prepare yourself for unforeseen obstacles or challenges that must be overcome to establish an effective system.
Eurofresh Farms, a well-recognized producer of tomatoes and other fruits and vegetables, did just this. When looking to make a change to their management software, they found a creative solution to a potentially costly problem.
Eurofresh Grows in More Way than One
Eurofresh Farms has a legacy of using technology to deliver its products to consumers around the country. They deliver 4.8 million pounds of fruit and vegetables every week, and their strong digital infrastructure allows them to effectively manage this stunning amount of inventory. For instance, they use computerized controls inside their greenhouses to create the perfect environment for growing fruits and vegetables.
After evaluating their options for inventory management, Eurofresh decided to implement Oracle’s JD Edwards EnterpriseOne enterprise resource planning (ERP) software. This integrated software suite would allow the company to tailor their inventory management system to their unique needs. As their business grew, they needed the ability to effectively manage their products to grow along with it.
Eurofresh already had a system in place that allowed them to quickly and effectively customize and print labels for their fruit and vegetable inventory. They believed that Oracle’s ERP software would complement their existing printing system, so they decided to go ahead with the implementation. It was then that they found themselves faced with a dilemma.
Making the Connection
When it came time to make the switch, Eurofresh realized they would need a way to connect this application to their Zebra Barcode Printers. These printers make it possible for them to label each product that leaves their doors; creating everything from unique labels for reusable plastic fruit crates, to labels with information such as country of origin, lot and item numbers.
“Zebra printers are workhorses. We’ve had a good track record with them,” said Jensen.Eurofresh had one option: middleware. However, this connecting software can cost over six figures. They didn’t want to change printers, as their existing system was perfectly suited to the company’s needs. Their Zebra printers could perform in a variety of environmental conditions, and provide Eurofresh’s staff with the ability to quickly and easily make changes to labels in order to respond to immediate changes in production.
These printers had been in place for many years, and Kevin Jensen, the director of information Technology at Eurofresh, was reluctant to change. “Zebra printers are workhorses. We’ve had a good track record with them,” said Jensen.
While looking for a more affordable option, they came across the ZebraLink™ Enterprise Connector (ZEC) software, a cost-effective way of linking the ERP to their Zebra Printers. Not only were they able to quickly make the transition, but the affordable connector software saved them from the expense of middleware or the inconvenience of replacing their printers altogether.
“We’d choose the [ZebraLink] Enterprise Connector again,” Jensen said. “It was so simple to get in and manage.
Stress During the Big Switch
After their transition to the ZEC software, Eurofresh was able to streamline their high-volume printing. The cohesive software package allowed for flexibility, durability, and less room for error as they managed their large inventory of fruits and vegetables.
When you initiate the transition to inventory management software, you may encounter a problem similar to the one Eurofresh overcame. It’s important to preemptively consider integration and how smooth the transition process will be once you begin to browse for effective asset management options. By being proactive with your needs, you can ensure a quick, painless switch to a more effective inventory management system.
If you’re outgrowing your inventory management system, it may be time to make the switch. Contact System ID to learn more about inventory management systems and get a free quote.
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