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Dairy takes bull by horns, creates business solution

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Douglasdale Dairy’s MD, Michael Matthews, has been searching for the “perfect” business tool that would solve the ongoing issues his business faced day in and day out.

When he couldn’t find the solution to the problem he created it himself. Mike Matthews briefed his idea into leading local software development company, Singular Systems, who successfully developed a software program, which will have an enormous impact on the success of any midsize business it is applied to.
Mastermind of the D3 Management System, Mike Matthews explains: “It has become essential for us to focus on our efficiencies in order to protect our already small margins. Food safety compliance, which includes product traceability, employee training and plant maintenance has also become a major issue within our industry.
"After scanning the local and international markets for a software program that would assist in solving these issues within the business, we were despondent that no integrated system designed for our size company with the capabilities and diversity we required was available.”
Matthews then decided to conceptualise the software program himself, and so the current system was born.
The system is a full enterprise resource planning (ERP) system which has been designed to meet the needs of any business involved in food/beverage processing and distribution. The software runs every aspect of the business and, since its implementation at Douglasdale Dairy in June 2006; it has significantly improved overall business efficiencies and loss control.
“The software has improved our margins, significantly reduced our stock losses, reduced returns from customers, addressed our HR issues including time and attendance records and management, plant and fleet maintenance schedules and cost management and it has vastly improved our food safety standards incorporating traceability and accountability,” explains Matthews. “It offers complete control,” he adds.
The system is a multi-user, multi-terminal, integrated system developed to provide a complete solution to food and beverage processors who conduct their own distribution and the distribution of third party products.
All data is only captured once and is immediately available to all users on the system, allowing for real-time business management, overview and analysis of every aspect of the business. Security rights limit the access of users to specific functions, and so protects the validity and integrity of the data at all times.
In addition, the system is fully scalable and modules can be added and removed to meet an individual company’s needs and budgets. The system is fully supported by Singular Systems who will modify the existing program to fit any business model and will continue to enhance the system to meet any future business requirements.
The D3 Management System designed for Douglasdale Dairy offers the following capabilities:
* Distribution – due to the high volume of van sales Douglasdale Dairy has to control daily, the system interfaces with simple-to-use handheld computers operated by every driver, which provides information on current price lists, standing orders, stock on hand in each vehicle. The system controls stock and cash on daily distribution routes, provides daily invoices/statements for cash customers and will not allow invoices to be generated for customers who are over their credit limits. Upon return to the depot, the system does an immediate stock and cash reconciliation. The mobile units are integrated with route invoicing and sales prediction modules to optimise load efficiencies.
* Full debtors and creditors maintenance (standing orders, credit limit controls, credit reviews, debtors over terms, rebates, debtor profitability and age analysis).
* Human Resources (biometric time and attendance control, employee training schedules and full BEE reporting compliant to latest standards).
* Production (scheduling of maintenance including calibration as required by HACCP, acquisition, processing and packaging, full traceability with laboratory analysis, loss control and complete production predictions based on past sales).
* Technical (Plant & Fleet maintenance scheduling and overall technical cost analysis including part issue and external service costing);
* Warehouse stocks and warehouse balancing.
* Comprehensive “real-time” sales reporting (by branch, customer, route, rep, stock item inclusive of analysis by day, week or month and allows comparisons with previous time frames).
*  Sales prediction tool;
* Strategic Management Analysis functionality offering a “real-time” overview of enterprise performance against customizable benchmarks to clearly indicate non-conforming and non-performing areas within the business.
“The system not only works internally but benefits our customers and their consumers.  Every customer complaint we receive can be addressed immediately,” explains Matthews. “The management system ensures superior levels of food safety are adhered to at all times, through access to data that allows us to trace the source of the product, analyse the production process the product underwent and review the laboratory analysis stats. This information assists us in offering customers a possible explanation on the product issues.
The management system continues to evolve in its functionality and so to adds to the continuous betterment of every aspect of our business,” concludes Matthews.