Implementing a new ERP system is a major project that will be a top priority for your business for anything from three to 12 months (in some cases, even longer). But after go-live day has come and gone… what happens next?
In many cases, it isn’t until the new ERP system is up and running that businesses can truly begin to see the bigger digital opportunity. Here’s how a Wiise ERP implementation became the first step in Fresh Frontier’s journey towards continuous improvement.
1. ERP Phase One – Getting Started
Michael Leen, Managing Director of Fresh Frontier, has worked in food distribution since he was 15. Michael started Fresh Frontier with a simple goal – to offer the freshest local ingredients and food products – but 10 years later, his hugely successful business was becoming increasingly impossible to manage. Staff would often (literally) run between the front office and picking floor trying to keep track of orders, errors were common and understanding margins almost impossible.
In July 2020, Michael decided to switch to Wiise ERP and enlisted the help of local ERP implementation and Microsoft 365 experts, Metisc. The Fresh Frontier implementation project team was quickly set up, with Michael as project lead, Metisc’s CEO, Graham Hill and Business Analyst Dean Barnett, providing expert advice and guidance, and a team of five Metisc implementation specialists.
Together, the project team set out a list of ERP key requirements – mainly focused on:
- Moving Fresh Frontier from its on-premise operating system to a cloud-based modern desktop – this important step was performed by ADV Technologies, one of Metisc’s managed services partners, and had to be completed before the ERP implementation could begin.
- Implementation of a cloud-based ERP system that could cover both basic finance and advanced inventory, hence selecting Wiise as the ERP platform.
- Optimising order processing – which was delaying production start times by up to 4 hours a day.
- Eliminating manual data entry – which had forced staff to physically run around the business, checking orders.
- Integrating with Microsoft 365 – in particular its Dynamics CRM, which would enable fast and accurate customer order tracking.
After nine months, Fresh Frontier’s new Wiise ERP went live – and the difference was almost immediate. Automated workflows, through Power BI, meant orders were instantly inputted to Wiise and workers could begin production from 7am. With all order data now digitised and in one place, staff could easily see how the business was performing, answer customer queries or spot – and fix – errors at any stage of production.
Life at Fresh Frontier was good. But Michael and the Metisc team didn’t stop there.
2. ERP Phase Two – Beyond Go-Lives
After a major ERP implementation, you might expect most businesses to slow down on their digital projects. Fresh Frontier and Metisc took a different approach. “We always had a 24-month roadmap and improvement register”, explains Graham Hill, Metisc founder and one of the lead consultants for Fresh Frontier. “Our embedded ERP functional consultant, Ina Fielding, played a crucial role in identifying new requirements, post-launch. Once Wiise was up and running, Ina quickly uncovered more than 120 requirements, across Fresh Frontier’s entire operations”.
Just a few of the integrations currently on the roadmap include leading-edge tools that will enable Fresh Frontier to:
- Speed-up invoicing and purchase ordering – Microsoft AI Builder will scan documents and invoices, automatically displaying relevant information across finance processes.
- Win more customers and increase pipeline revenue – Dynamics 365 Sales will enable Fresh Frontier sales teams to tailor deals on specific products, during the quoting process, directly through Wiise.
- Gain an even better understanding of business performance – Sharperlight is a powerful business intelligence tool that will take Wiise reporting to the next level, with the ability to see daily production orders, as well as statistical and analytical information, at the click of a button.
3. The Path to Continuous Improvement
With the next 24 months already looking pretty busy for Fresh Frontier and Metisc, it’s clear that the Wiise implementation marked the start of Fresh Frontier’s digital strategy, not the end. “Microsoft is unique because the huge range of tools in its eco-system”, explains Dean Barrett, Metisc’s Business Analyst.
"Wiise is very much part of that Microsoft eco-system – so, for businesses like Fresh Frontier, Wiise opens so much potential for exploiting other tools within that eco-system”
Dean Barrett, Business Analyst, Metisc
In fact, Fresh Frontier’s approach is very much standard practice, post-Covid, with Hill admitting, “We have some clients who are in their 20th iteration. There will always be room for improvement – but the difference with Microsoft products is that those improvements are far more realistic and achievable, whatever the size of your business”.
Where to start
For businesses looking to turn an ERP implementation project into an established process of continuous digital improvement, the Metisc team recommends:
- Invest in adequately in your IT services – Metisc dedicates approximately 20 hours a week to the Fresh Frontier roadmap, made up of three direct team members and two indirect (consulting) team members. Making sure you have adequate team resources means projects are completed quickly and staff stay motivated and bought-into the process.
- Be ready to hire-in additional expertise – Metisc enlisted a Power BI functional consultant to get the most out of Fresh Frontier’s new reporting functionality. Getting the right expertise at the right time on any IT project can provide huge payoffs in the final outcome and can save time trouble-shooting potential issues later on.
- Choose your ERP wisely – investing in a platform that can easily integrate with other key business systems will enable your team to quickly (and cost-effectively) add new capabilities in future, as needed. Wiise offers native integrations with a huge range of Microsoft tools, as well as leading business products such as Shopify and ProSpend.
- Choose an implementation partner you can trust – Fresh Frontier chose Metisc because of its experience and ability. Three years on, and the two businesses have formed a close project team, built on trust, a winning track record and a shared drive to achieve more within the Microsoft eco-system.
Ready to start planning your digital roadmap?
Whether you’re just planning an ERP implementation or already planning for phase two of your ERP project, when it comes to digital, it always pays to keep looking ahead.
Check out this helpful list of 50 ERP requirements, for some roadmap inspiration; alternatively, contact one of our friendly Wiise team members to find out what’s possible with Wiise today.
Other helpful Wiise resources:
- ERP Implementation 101 Guide Part 1: A Practical Guide to Managing the Move
- 50 key capabilities for your ERP requirements
- Finding the one: 6 red flags & must-haves in an ERP services provider
- Innovate to accumulate: 8 ways to grow your business with Wiise
Ready to learn more?
Book a demo call with one of our friendly team members.