January 1, 2016

Zeffer Cider started out at a small farm in Matakana (almost an hour north of Auckland, New Zealand), where Sam Smith, the brains behind the cider and a winemaker by trade, began brewing cider and selling it at the local farmers market.

As the business has grown, Zeffer have moved into a dedicated production facility, shipping product to supermarkets and liquor stores around New Zealand, and exporting to seven countries, including Australia and China.

For a team of five, they have been punching well above their weight, winning awards in both Australia and New Zealand, and are showing no signs of slowing down anytime soon.

The Problem
Greg Small is Zeffer Cider’s Finance and Operations Director, and joined the company two years ago after returning from working in the United Kingdom. With only basic accounting and inventory management functions in place, Greg recognised that Zeffer needed to be able to track and account for the cost of their stock much more effectively.

Zeffer crush and ferment their fruit on-site to produce their cider, before transporting it to a third-party brewery who bottles the cider and then returns it to Zeffer for distribution.

With multiple markets, six different flavours of cider in different formats, and over 300 customers, they need to be able to manage their inventory efficiently, and understand the true cost of distributing and exporting their product, to ensure they’re making a profit.

Cider making is also a very seasonal business, as the fruit is not available all year round, meaning any tool they can use to make their processes more accurate and efficient is welcome.

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The Solution
Having been recommended Xero as an accounting solution, Greg soon learned about Unleashed, and decided to implement both systems for Zeffer. He mainly uses Unleashed for invoicing, managing stock levels, forecasting stock, and analysing sales information from the office, but also recognises the benefits of being able to access his inventory from anywhere, should he wish to.

Unleashed has also offered some helpful features that manufacturers need to run their businesses. As Zeffer needed to assemble their products before they could sell them, they used Unleashed to create a bill of materials for the cider (which itself is comprised of different ingredients), before creating another bill of materials for the finished product, which includes the cider, bottles, labels and caps.

The Result
For Greg, Unleashed has been just the ticket for invoicing, monitoring stock levels, and analysing sales information. When we asked why he selected Unleashed for his inventory management software, Greg said:

I was after a product that was easy-to-use, didn’t cost too much, and would satisfy our needs for inventory and sales reporting, and Unleashed was absolutely perfect for that.

Unleashed’s production module has been a big help for Zeffer cider, as this has allowed them to successfully understand the true cost of each of their products. This means Zeffer are able to measure the profitability of the finished product they sell, against the costs of items like bottles and labels that they do not produce themselves. As Greg says, “it’s very easy-to-use and satisfies all the requirements for a business focused on manufacturing and selling”.