An Interview with Adam Salisbury, Finance Director at MRC – The Flava People
A privately owned family business, MRC has been making tasty marinades, glazes, coaters and sauces for butchers, retailers and the wider food industry since 1976. Now with over 350 products on offer, MRC has won numerous awards for its innovative manufacturing and energy saving processes over recent years and as an investor in people the business has also increased the amount of jobs it is able to provide and currently employs over 50 people at its base in Manchester.
In this interview with MRC’s Finance Director Adam Salisbury, find out what steps the business has taken to achieve impressive sustainable growth in the last year:
Q: What has the last year been like for MRC?
A: We’re currently going through a period of sustained, planned growth and have managed to achieve this by making planned and well informed changes to the business.
Q: What changes have you made to support business growth?
A: We have worked to ensure that we have the right people and structure, so that our staffs’ best skills are used to their best potential, as well as employing more people to maintain consistently excellent customer service. We have also employed a ‘Head of Innovation’ whose experience is chef-based. He has been able to accurately predict future trends, such as what ‘BBQ 2014’ would look like. We’ve then been able to promptly pass this on to our customers so that they can present the right products at the right times, to their customers.
Q: How has the business coped with changes?
A: It’s all been about planning and investing, which is where SAP Business One came in. We didn’t feel that our current ERP system was able to cope with our anticipated growth and it didn’t have the financial controls needed to reap the rewards of growth.
Q: What were your considerations in choosing a new ERP system to support growth?
A: Our previous software and server were both old and hadn’t been updated. If anything was to have gone wrong it would have been extremely disruptive and time consuming to get everything back, which didn’t feel very safe. Choosing a modern system that had the latest technology was an obvious step to take in order to minimise risk. We found that SAP Business One was more than just an accounting system and the ProcessForce addition, which Signum Solutions implemented together with the SAP system, really appealed to us as a food business because of the flexibility it would give us.
Q: Was there anything that stood out as a key differentiator for the new system compared with other similar systems?
A: The usability for a wider audience was one of the main reasons that we chose SAP Business One. Some well-known accounting systems are very good, but the usability is invariably aimed at Accountants. SAP Business One makes our business-wide IT usage far easier for everyone from store people to planners, who perhaps aren’t very experienced in using different software systems. Basically, it isn’t just an accounting system – it ticks more boxes for the entire business.
Q: How affordable have you found the new system to be?
A: To be perfectly honest, everyone thinks that SAP is expensive. I’d used a different version before in a much larger company and when we say we use SAP to people they automatically assume that’s the one we’re using. What many people don’t realise is that the SAP Business One software is for SMEs, with pricing for SMEs. Affordability is not an issue – the pricing for SAP Business One is certainly comparable to other products that are similar or just accountancy focused.
Q: How has the new system benefited company growth so far?
A: MRC is a small company and so our advantage over larger companies is the high level of personalised customer service that we are able to offer, alongside rapid decision making and turnaround times. Speed is key. If a customer needs something very quickly, we can turn it around. This includes sourcing bespoke products more easily, more quickly and with greater flexibility.
Q: Are there any other areas of the business that the system benefits?
A: We’ve got far more confidence about stock holding and our ability to produce products as and when we need to. The information is always easily accessible in SAP Business One – we can see what’s coming in and when, as well as when the raw materials go into production. It provides great overall visibility into all of our stock requirements.
Q: How did you decide on the right ERP partner?
A: Signum were local, we had a good rapport and they gave us the confidence that they would deliver the project. As a company similar in size to our own, we felt quite a lot of synergy with the people at Signum and found that we could genuinely believe what they told us they could do for us.
View customer case studies to find out more about how Signum Solutions’ experience within the food manufacturing, foodservice and food wholesale industries has helped similar businesses achieve streamlined processes and financial benefits, with Signum’s Industry Edition for Food and Beverage.