'LISA' evolves along with Colac - Problem-free growth thanks to an investment in complete functionality
According to Geert Vermeersch, investing in ERP is a token of business sense. After all, the ‘heart’ of an SME must be able to deal with substantial growth without a hitch. That is why he deliberately chose to implement all the functionality of ‘Lisa’ by Claerhout Computer Engineering when he took over Colac. Even though the company still does not use all the package’s possibilities, the strategy of implementing all the modules at once turned out to be the right one. In seven years time the company’s sales figures have almost doubled yet it has not had to recruit more personnel…
Colac was established in 1981. Its goal was to produce and commercialise ice cream paste. It quickly expanded its offerings to include other ingredients for artisanal ice cream such as powders, dessert sauces, toppings and fruit preparations. At the end of 2004 the company was purchased be the former General Director of Pieters Visbedrijf, Geert Vermeersch, and his spouse Jeanne Cloetens. The new owners immediately breathed new life into the company: the commercial policy was completely revised, production was optimised and they invested heavily in automation / computerisation. “One of the first things we introduced was an ERP package,” says Geert Vermeersch. “You can only tackle things in a truly professional manner with such an application. The integration between order-entry, production, storage and invoicing results in a smoothly operating, transparent and optimised ‘organisation’ machine. The detailed listings that such a system generates allow you to adjust your business on time and efficiently.”
Colac chose ‘LISA'
However, not all ERP packages are as functional and attuned to the specific needs of a food producing company. Geert Vermeersch was very aware of this. That is why he took no chances when choosing the application. “I became acquainted with ‘Lisa’ by CCE while working at Pieters Visbedrijf. It was my preference to implement this package at Colac due to its user-friendliness and extensive functionality. Nevertheless I decided to test two other ERP systems before making a definitive decision. In the end, ‘Lisa’ won the battle: the other two were not able to touch the tracing module and user-friendliness of this package. Moreover, this solution was affordable and we really appreciate CCE’s no-nonsense approach.”
The integration between order-entry, production, storage and invoicing results in a smoothly operating, transparent and optimised ‘organisation’ machine.
Everything at once
Despite the heavy investment, the business manager of Colac decided to implement all the ‘Lisa’ modules at once. This was an overinvestment because the company did not need all the functionality at that time. Nevertheless, is was a conscious choice to go for the entire package at once. “Our objective was to achieve an annual growth of at least 10%, “ says Geert Vermeersch. “An ERP package should be able to handle that effortlessly. It should also enable a substantial increase in orders and production without needing to hire lots of extra personnel. That is why it is essential to automate as many administrative tasks as possible. Another reason why it is better to overinvest in an ERP package is because SMEs have very little time available for the implementation. It is better to prepare and install everything at once and then – in function of the needs – learn to use the programme in phases.”
Expectations have been met
In practice it took about months to implement the modules ‘order entry’, ‘sales’, ‘invoicing’, ‘tracing’, ‘purchasing’, ‘stock management’ and ‘production’. We currently use about 60% of the functionality and Colac will soon be organizing a training session to apply the rest of the package. Geert Vermeersch also wans to use the opportunity to have CCE check whether the package is being used by everyone in the most efficient manner and whether any adjustments or extensions are needed. The business manager of Colac does not expect to see any spectacular obstacles resulting from this analysis. “Lisa satisfies our expectations perfectly,” he explains. “The investment has really paid off…”