Tackling the Challenge of Delivering Sales and Operational Control, Simply

Building an enterprise-wide software solution to replace manual systems, spread sheets and an aging accounting system is the kind of challenge that software development company Integral thrives on. Over the past fifteen years they have been doing just that with PF Olsen's core accounting and business systems. The system has come to be known as FIPS – short for Forest Information and Planning System.

Until recently the area of Sales and Operations Planning (SOP) was managed through a series of manual processes. The innovative solution developed for PF Olsen into the FIPS application replaces a number of unlinked spreadsheets and is designed to increase efficiency, reduce waste, improve customer service and optimise the supply chain – fundamentals that have a direct result on the bottom line.

The result, called Enterprise Resource Planning, is "a world class system that's very user-friendly," says Stephen Bennison, development champion of PF Olsen's Sales and Operational Planning system.

Each database module automates a certain business function and enables process and information integration across the company. It quite literally allows PF Olsen to see the forest for the trees.

"It removes the need for stand alone computer systems and replaces them with a single, unified, dedicated software program," says Stephen. "The modules all 'talk' to each other and have the same look and feel, but can also be used independently of each other."

He says the company now has a robust sales and operational planning system that balances production, sales and inventory demands on a monthly basis.

"The information that we're getting now is amazing and the reports are being used by all managers. Every time a truck goes across a weighbridge it gets weighed and the information comes straight into our system. Cut plans are automatically generated and emailed to contractors. Crews can log in via the Internet and enter their production estimates on a weekly basis, making it easy for the scheduler to verify it against the high level plan."

Stephen says Integral's approach is very professional and very thorough. "I knew what needed to be achieved. We weren't making the improvements we wanted through the old spreadsheet-based system because people were spending a lot of time manipulating data rather than improving business performance."

"I like that Integral's not afraid to challenge our thinking. They take a step back, look at what you're trying to achieve and ask the right questions. They're always looking for a better solution."

Integral's team of software developers works with a leading-edge rapid application development environment. Combined with the extensive knowledge and experience of its developers, Integral can create, customise and integrate business applications for unique situations.

As well as working closely with organisations like PF Olsen, Integral also develops products like Share IT – a share registry system designed specifically to manage the shareholding and dividend distribution of Maori land trusts. This product has been fine-tuned over 12 years working closely with accountants and individual trusts.

Integral places a strong emphasis on their products being easy-to-learn and user-friendly, with comprehensive information capture and flexible reporting options. Share IT ensures Maori Share Registers are 100% accurate and precisely reflect the relevant Trust's general ledger.

Integral's CEO Andrew Taylor says, "Our aim is always to provide value to our clients through software systems, so they in turn provide a better service and value to their clients. PF Olsen is a prime example of this."