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Case Study: Foxy Brand vegetables Select Microsoft Dynamics AX and SAGlobal

As Nunes's business grew, their existing AS400-based business software was quickly becoming obsolete, which made ensuring their standards of service and support a challenge. SAGlobal and Nunes worked together to enhance the base Dynamics AX business logic to support the requirements of a full grower accounting system that handles the cooperative nature of produce farming, storage, sales and distribution, including price pooling, cooler warehousing, and free-market trading.

"We look at Dynamics AX as a solid platform for us to move the company forward..., to streamline business practices and stay on top of changing industry-driven standards for product traceability and food safety

Barbara Rodgers, Director of Information Technology, The Nunes Company

Background

Headquartered in Salinas, California, The Nunes Company, Inc. is a private, family-owned, international marketing organization that represents farmers growing a full line of quality Foxy Brand vegetables. The Company is known for being progressive in their methods and conservative in their practices. The Nunes Company is a recognized leader in advanced technologies which help growers to minimize water waste and pesticide use.

As established leaders in the American produce industry, The Nunes Company continues to pioneer industry efforts toward the safest possible produce and support fresh produce industry efforts to protect the supply. With the Foxy® and Tubby® brand names, the company markets healthy, nutritious vegetables throughout the United States, and to dozens of foreign countries.

Situation

As Nunes's business grew, their existing AS400-based business software was quickly becoming obsolete, which made ensuring their standards of service and support a challenge.

Microsoft's Dynamics AX offered an opportunity to take advantage of newer technology and revive their information technology infrastructure with software that offered future growth and enhancement potential.

However, the fresh produce business is highly complicated and it is riddled with many business challenges, such as:
  • Attribute-based product definitions
  • Rapidly fluctuating market pricing
  • Quickly expiring inventory
  • Fluid logistics requirements
In the fresh produce business, product production, storage, and logistics requirements do not follow typical manufacturing and distribution models.

Fresh produce is an agricultural business that is driven by commodity markets and strict food safety regulations that requires a business system with the ability to provide accurate real-time visibility into:
  • Future harvest estimates
  • Existing inventory levels
  • Current market pricing

Solution

SAGlobal and Nunes worked together to enhance the base Dynamics AX business logic to support the requirements of a full grower accounting system that handles the cooperative nature of produce farming, storage, sales and distribution, including price pooling, cooler warehousing, and free-market trading.
  • Industry-specific solutions were required to provide visibility into daily supply and demand fluctuations, such as the sales board.
  • Special accounting algorithms were needed to support grower contracts and pooled pricing.
  • Unique approaches were needed to handle promotions, rebates and long-term sales contracts.
"The flexibility of Dynamics AX allowed us to implement several solutions specific to the fresh produce industry, including a sales board that provides real-time visibility into harvest estimates and market price fluctuations," stated Jan Dahl Sorensen, SAGlobal’s lead consultant.

Benefits

Since going live with Dynamics AX, Nunes has been able to handle their standard business volume levels. On its first day of operation using Dynamics AX, Nunes filled 150 semi-trucks full of fresh produce. While this volume represents a normal business day, it is notable that service levels were sustained during the implementation.

As Nunes gains familiarity with Dynamics AX, the ability to easily search, filter and query data in Dynamics AX far exceeds functionality in their previous business application. In the future, Nunes hopes to gain more access to Dynamics AX's custom ad hoc reporting capabilities and to add dashboards and other management tools.

On a strategic level, Nunes sees Dynamics AX as a strong platform to help them move their business forward. As a Microsoft solution, Dynamics AX offers more options for future growth through the use of third-party products and customized add-on functionality.

As an ERP solution, Dynamics AX enables improved business practices such as in-field product packaging. Nunes expects to eventually implement enhanced inventory control through the use of hand-held scanners and bar-coding.

“We look at Dynamics AX as a solid platform for us to move the company forward,“ stated Barbara Rodgers, Nunes's Director of Information Technology. “Dynamics AX gives us better access to critical business information, and the flexibility of the product gives us room to grow as we look to streamline business practices and stay on top of changing industry-driven standards for product traceability and food safety.”
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