dProduce Man Software, a leading provider of software for the produce industry, has announced dProduce Man Online, the first online accounting and management software for produce distributors, wholesalers, brokers, and processors. dProduce Man Online makes it fast and easy to manage a business online. It gives users anytime, anywhere access to their books and essential information from office, home or road. The online solution provides the full functionality of the company’s industry leading dProduce Man integrated accounting and management software. dProduce Man Software has been providing software to the produce industry since 1980. “We always look to make financial management as easy as possible for produce businesses,” said Charles Shafae, president of dProduce Man Software. “Our customers are moving to a “cloud” platform from a traditional hardware hosted solution. We wanted to meet their needs and let them take advantage of the cost savings and elasticity of the cloud.” With dProduce Man Online, businesses save both time and money, says Shafae. “The system is very easy to implement. Users can be up and running in hours, not days. It’s the same infrastructure as a five-user in-house system for as little as $500 - $700/month -- with no long term commitment.” The integrated online software is customizable with several modules—order entry, accounts receivable/payable, purchase order, general ledger. It keeps track of lot tracking, grower accounting, traceability, inventory control and other accounting tasks. It offers automated order entry, up-to-the-minute cost/price changes, and inventory control processing for bar-coding, price lists and warehouse management. Several software features help businesses perform everyday tasks more efficiently and access information on the go. One such feature lets users create, print or email orders directly from dProduce Man Online. Another feature lets a company link its website to the software, allowing orders to be placed online. To ensure data security, dProduce Man Online uses the same data encryption technology as leading banks. Data is stored on redundant servers and automatically backed up daily. dProduce Man Online is PACA compliant with country of origin. Invoices can be printed in both USD and other currencies such as Euros.
dProduce Man Online is available now and includes 24/7 technical support in the monthly fee. For a free 30-day evaluation trial, call 888-776-3626 or email sales@dProduceMan.com. About dProduce Man Since 1980, dProduce Man Software has provided integrated accounting, inventory and management software to thousands of leading agriculture and fresh produce grower, packer, shipper and brokerage companies worldwide. Its dProduce Man integrated accounting and management software is the leading software choice for the produce industry. The company is based in Half Moon Bay, CA.Go to top
Charles Shafae`, President of Shafae` and Associates, based in Half Moon Bay, California, has been producing software for the produce industry since 1981. Shafae` believes that any company running a business without a complete computer accounting system is working at a disadvantage. "The correction of mistakes alone is enough reason to go on line, but the other advantages make these systems absolutely necessary. For example, 90 percent of errors are extensions and calculations," explains Shafae`... For produce specific software, most of the functions already are built in to the [dProduce Man] programs, and a company's particular needs are added to tailor them. "Eighty to eighty-five percent of what a produce company needs is probably covered in our package off the shelf," says Shafae`... Can users test a program before they buy? That depends on the company. Shafae` and Associates says yes, Holm-Dietz says not really. "We give sample packages to companies and let them decide if our program is right for them. We talk with them, discuss their needs. If there's no match, we don't sell," says Shafae`... Produce businesses of all sizes can benefit from computer technology. Joseph Glorioso, President of Shreveport, Louisiana-based Santa Maria Wholesale Produce, a full-time purveyor of fruits, vegetables and fresh-cut produce—and self-proclaimed "not a real technical" person—joined the computer world in 1994... Santa Maria Wholesale Produce uses a Shafae` and Associates [dProduce Man] program it purchased after seeing one in action at a nearby company. "We're not a big company," add Glorioso, but we're really so much more organized. We carry 450 to 500 items, depending on the season. Now we have the capacity to control it."...
No company will quote a set price of system, especially over the phone. Suffice it to say, an integrated system does not come cheap. Most of the costs are attributed to the extras associated with set-up, delivery, training, and service... "At the time it seemed expensive---but 1995 and 1996 were banner years. And with the [dProduce Man] program, we were able to keep accounts receivable down to a minimum, and inventory shrinkage was much, much, much less---down to less than one percent from over four percent."... However, in the scheme of things, the costs pay for themselves quickly. "One hundred percent of errors are eliminated with our system. The program does all the bookkeeping—period-to-date sales---and saves money in every area: time, errors, reduction of inventory shrinkage, collection. All in all, a five-user system will pay itself back in less than six months," says Shafae`... So while a system may initially seem pricey, software vendors say it is a worthwhile commitment and investment...
Users and vendors agree that the best reason to integrate computers into business has to do with time and controls, which translate into money. Ivey notes, "[With computers] you're only doing the work once, not writing and re-entering. You don't have to try to read someone else's handwriting when you're working off the computer screen. You can build in validation tables, compare prices automatically, price all new orders, etc. The advantages are endless."... Glorioso concurs: "The system has helped make our gross profit increase about eight percent in the last two years. And that's money in my pocket."...Go to top
In the information age, when everything you ever wanted to know is available at your fingertips, why should the Blue Book and the Red book be any different? Now, instead of thumbing through pages of listings updated every few months, you can get current information about clients and suppliers several times a week, keeping you informed of developments which can influence business decisions. Both the Blue Book and the Red Book are available electronically, enabling users to retrieve desired information at the push of a button. The Red Book, too, is available electronically and Charles Shafae` of Shafae` and Associates, has adapted a computer software package called "Contact Central" to search and manipulate the Red Book data base. It is universal software that can do the same for any other data base the user wishes to import. Shafae` says information contained on Red book diskettes is first imported into Contact Central which can then search the data base in a number of ways, including by name of firm, by address, by telephone number, by zip code, by product, by city, or by other criteria. "Say I want to find all the people with potatoes in California," Shafae` explains. "I can filter through the information and find them all. Then suppose I want to send some potatoes to this person and find out if he is interested. I move my cursor into ‘call' and it will automatically dial this number for me. All I need is a little modem." Once an agreement has been made for a shipment of potatoes, Shafae's software program can be used to print a form letter to be faxed or mailed to confirm the sale. The software can also be used to keep records of dealings and transactions with clients. "I can write myself a little note that the letter was sent on a particular date and the price agreed upon was $2,500," Shafae` explains. "I can keep track of everything I do with my clients this way. If you're calling me and I know your name, I can enter it in the computer and search for you. Then I select the name and now I know exactly who you are. I have notes on you and I know when we met and what we talked about the last time we spoke. When I use this software, people are surprised. They wonder how I remember these things." Contact Central can also be used for mail merge to write form letters to clients. If other word processing software is being used in the office, Contact Central is compatible with any program that has a mail merge function. It is easy to import a data file from Shafae's software to the user's word processor. Specifically for WordPerfect 5.1, however, Shafae` says Contact Central has been equipped with macros designed to completely automate the importation of a data file for mail merge. "If you are using WordPerfect for mail merge, then you don't have to learn Contact Central," he explains. "You can export and import to and from other programs." Another feature of Contact Central is the "to do list." Accounts can be highlighted to be called on a certain day at a certain hour and each morning the program will print out a list of people to call, Shafae` says. "Every day, you come into the office and highlight the ‘to do list' he says. "It prints out your list and you can make all your calls and never forget any of them." Shafae's software comes complete with manual and tutorial to speed up the learning process. It can be used with any number of lists, simply by importing all desired lists and highlighting the one to be searched. If a search is not needed, browsing through any list is also an option. Data on diskettes can be modified or updated using Shafae's software. If an error or change in information is found during a conversation with a client, it can be corrected on the spot. Shafae's firm also offers a produce accounting package called "dProduce Man" which can be used with Contact Central. Once a contact has been made and a shipment has been ordered and received, dProduce Man can then step in to keep track of inventory and other accounting tasks. dProduce Man features automated order entry, up-to-the-minute cost and price changes, inventory processing for bar-coding, price lists and multi-warehousing capabilities. "Contact Central keeps track of daily activities such as who you called, who you made a deal with, etc.," Shafae` concludes. "When he sends me the produce I ordered, then I go to dProduce Man and put down that I received the truckloads and keep track of inventory and accounting with that."Go to top
On the subject of quarterly reports, one fresh-cut processor recently commented, "Can you imagine operating your business for three months without knowing whether you made a profit or a loss?" It's a scary thought, but how many processors still rely on quarterly reports to tell them how their business fared? Do you have your finger on the pulse of your own operation or are you working in the dark? Do you know your costs on that shipment of stir fry mix being loaded onto the truck? Did you price it high enough for a profit, yet not so high that you won't get the next sale? If you can't answer those questions today, then tomorrow, after it's too late, you may realize you lost money. "Wait a minute," you say. "How can I know my profit margin even before product goes out the door?" The answer is computer technology. With the right software, you can enter the cost of each ingredient in the blend and compare it to yield in pounds of usable product at the end of the processing line. You can give the stir fry "recipe" to the computer and, figuring in labor costs and other expenses involved in processing, packaging and shipping your product to the customer, you can have an up-to-the-minute report on that load. In fact, the computer will even give an array of prices, depending on the margin you want on a given sale. "You can never have enough information, if it's relevant," says Charles Shafae` of Shafae` and Associates, a computer software firm located in Half Moon Bay, California. "And in this age of information, the computer can give us so much information that can help us run our businesses more effectively. It's pretty commonplace to have your accounts receivable and accounts payable on computer. Your sales person makes a sale and writes the invoice by hand, agrees on a price and extends it by hand. Then the sales invoice goes to the office and somebody inputs that information into the computer. Well, that's old information. To me, using a computer means that at any particular time I should be able to go to any terminal on the network and pull up the information now. If I want to know where I will be using all the carrots I have sitting in inventory, I should be able to get a report that tells me. I should be able to pull a report for today to see what my expected sales for an item will be. Then I could look and see how much of that I have in inventory. And if I'm short, I can get some more." Computers provide answers; it's just a matter of asking the right questions, according to Shafae`. He has developed a program tailored to specific information needs of fresh-cut processors. Called dProduce Man/Fresh Cut, the software is especially useful in helping processors track their costs and price their products more accurately.
"Everything becomes automatic," Shafae` explains. "Now you have more time to look at your business and manage, rather than running around seeing where a load of broccoli went. You know exactly where you're going." For complex mixes, the program will enter an unlimited number of ingredients. Knowing the yield and cost for each ingredient and the recipe for the mix in the bag of finished product, the computer will tell you what each bag cost you and enable you to price it accurately. "You don't have to punch in the costs for each item," Shafae` says. "We pick it up from the invoice that was entered into your system when it was received. All you have to do is tell me the yield, because the quality of one batch might be different than for another batch. Once you put the yield in, I know your costs, I know the recipe. I give you all the reports and calculate your sales ahead of time. We give you nine different price levels at the percentages you want." A few of the features of dProduce Man/Fresh Cut include: detailed labor and materials requirement projected for the next six periods (user defines length of periods); inventory tracking, tracking usage and yield of both stock and non-stock items, including labor and outside services; inventory and sales history for up to 26 months; complex mix formula with unlimited number of items; mass cost/price changes on any group of inventory items by flat dollar amount or percentage of current; listing of multiple inventory suppliers for each item; and scrollable display windows. Reports include: daily recap report; gross requirement report; net requirement report; where-used report; average pounds per hour per worker; average sale price; yield per item; usage; inventory reports by lot, by customer, by supplier and by quantity.
Current information is critical to making informed decisions and Shafae` says computers can provide processors with up-to-date, useful information at a moment's notice. "It's no longer good enough to get reports after the fact," Shafae` reasons. "That's the old style of management. The idea used to be that we would get the information and use it to adjust for the next period. Now you can have current information and instead of running around without knowing what you're doing, you can manage your business. You can manage your costs. We're trying to make it a little more scientific by providing more information." Science is behind the other products Shafae` has available for processors, too. A major grocery store in California recently stopped accepting paper invoices for baked goods, according to Shafae`. He believes it's only a matter of time until produce deliveries will be treated the same way. To aid in the process, he offers a hand-held unit that enables a driver to enter items and prices and then hook up to the customer's computer to download the invoice directly into the firm's system. In the area of electronic order taking, Shafae` also offers a system for ordering that enables a processor to take orders from a customer without requiring the customer to have computer capabilities. Using a touch tone phone, the customer can enter his produce orders into the processor's system 24 hours a day.Go to top
Tomorrow’s watermelons, tomatoes and strawberries will enter the high-tech Cloud at harvest, if not sooner, and remain there in transit to the packing shed, on to the distribution center and on to the produce department shelf. This new age of produce distribution will be built on the ability to store information without pen, paper or even wires, and retrieve it quickly and easily from anywhere in the world with an inexpensive portable device. “Hosting services, now known as ‘The Cloud,’ have been a choice leading-edge solution for Silver Creek Software clients for about 10 years, and is an ever-increasing way to run business with our technical staff handling the day-to-day maintenance, administrative information technology tasks, such as anti-virus concerns and back-up processes and hardware updates,” says Tina Reminger, vice president and general manager of Silver Creek Software, Boise, ID. “This is a revolutionary way to do business without the information technology-concern hassles.” “The trend has been and will be to move to Cloud-based systems and use the internet to communicate more effectively,” says Charles Shafae, president of dProduce Man Software, Half Moon Bay, CA. “Previously, this type of communication was used only for larger companies that had access to more sophisticated hardware and software. Today, with the progression and ease of accessibility to the internet, more people can communicate and transfer electronic data through this medium.” Produce entered the computer age with the need to be able to track fruits and vegetables back to the field for purposes of food safety recalls. The industry is now poised on the edge of an era in which a wealth of information is available literally in the palm of one’s hand. “Users want tools that simplify their lives,” says Reminger. “Mobile integrated tech seems to be where everyone is headed. Flexibility will be important. Mobile and online apps are still going to be hugely important in the next five years.” Fasten your seat belt because the pace of change in how we store and access information about produce is about to accelerate beyond anything previously imagined. “The produce industry is changing more quickly now than ever before — the next five years in the produce supply chain world will see more change in technology than in a previous generation,” says Mick Hetherington, vice president of sales for Prophet North America, Bakersfield, CA. “The world is becoming more connected; it is now possible to electronically integrate the whole supply chain from growers to consumers.”Full Article