Multiple award-winning Te Horo Foods produces 10,000 pots of premium jam a week to supply New World, Countdown and a growing export market including Australia, China, Singapore, Malaysia and Hong Kong. And as General Manager, Chris Barber puts it, “We’re taking good, old fashioned family values to the next level”. When he says ‘family values’ he means it. From Te Horo’s hand made jams to their hand painted labels, every element of the business comes back to pride and personal commitment. And by ‘the next level’, he means growing their export market from 10% to 50% over the next five years. Chris says it best, “you can be a family business retaining family values and still be successful”. This can create challenges for the food inventory management.
The Problem – Food Inventory Management
Chris’s first passion is business development; finding ways to become more successful while retaining the core values that the business is built on. “To do that”, says Chris, “you need to look at things from the perspective of what happens if it all goes right. In other words, if we’re selling ten times more product… what does that look like? Do we have the systems and tools in place to do that effectively? What do we need so that can happen?”
One of the things needed was an effective inventory management system. Chris says, “We’d been using MYOB for accounts and inventory, but with a move to Xero came a need for an inventory management system that would integrate and be scalable to our intended business growth”. The system was Unleashed Software and it’s what runs the inventory management now.
Going from no real system to Unleashed Software had some teething issues according to Chris. “For the team it was a big change and one of a number we made all at once. If there’s a lesson to be learned it’s that change needs to treated with the right level of mana, but Unleashed Software has been the right partner for us”.
He continues, “We set out to find a company that had similar values to us, was a Kiwi company, and one that had the same passion for innovation and growth as we do. From the get-go Unleashed did a couple of things really well; their initial response to our enquiry was fantastic, and they did a great job at addressing our needs and explaining their capabilities”.
“In the beginning we had a one on one training session that really helped. Of course you do forget things from that, and Unleashed probably knew as much about jam making as we knew about software… as I say, going from no system to one that has this much capability has been a learning curve. But Unleashed has been really responsive. They’re a great parallel with our business in that cool, innovative, fresh thinking space and I hope they never lose sight of that. It’s what small business New Zealand is made of and it’s what sets us apart from the world.”
A year in, things are ticking along really well. Te Horo is generating real excitement and real growth. At the end of June they sent a single shipment of 200kg of jam to China specifically for Chinese New Year celebrations and that delicious delicacy; moon cakes. Says Chris, “Export markets are growing and the system means we know where the stock is, and where it needs to be.”
Chris’ final word…
There’s no system in the world that can increases sale or generate increased customer satisfaction but you can have a system that allows you and your team to do that more effectively. Unleashed Software does that for us. Now we have the tools to be better and our future’s looking really rosy.