Bruce Foods Spices Up Its Operations with ERP System Based on Microsoft Dynamics

As I talk to customers, many of them tell me that two must-have features for their enterprise resource planning (ERP) system are that it be easy to implement and easy to use. No company can afford a major operational interruption after their ERP system goes live. Nor do they have the luxury of spending hundreds of hours training their employees to learn a new system.

A key advantage of Microsoft Dynamics ERP is that it offers exactly that. It’s quick and easy to deploy, and it provides a highly intuitive, graphical user interface that’s consistent with Microsoft Office software most employees are already familiar with. That’s important to our partners who build specialized ERP systems on top of Microsoft Dynamics. It’s also a winning combination for any company that wants to implement an ERP system without slowing the pace of productivity.

Take Bruce Foods Corporation, for example. While you may not have heard of Bruce Foods, chances are you’ve tasted the company’s famous Original Louisiana Hot Sauce. Known for its spicy Cajun and Mexican foods, Bruce Foods produces 350 products under nine brands, which it distributes to 100 countries around the globe.

The company had been using an ERP system from Infor System21 and a warehouse management system (WMS) from RedPrairie. Not surprisingly, moving data between the two unintegrated systems proved cumbersome. Even more problematic, the ERP system was built on outdated technology that couldn’t keep up with the company’s growth.

As the wish list for better functionality grew, Bruce Foods began researching new ERP systems and eventually narrowed its list to two products: SAP and JustFoodERP, an ERP system created by Microsoft partner JustFoodERP and powered by the Microsoft Dynamics NAV platform. In the end, executives chose JustFoodERP for its ease of use and because it was specifically designed to meet the needs of the food industry. When it came time to flip the switch, the implementation went off without a hitch. The company simultaneously rolled out its new ERP system in all four locations in just one day. In fact, the transition went so well that the IT department won Bruce Foods’ annual President’s Award for the first time in the company’s 85-year history! As Norm Brown Sr., chairman of Bruce Foods, put it: “The JustFoodERP implementation was the quietest go-live we’ve ever gone through.”

While the quietest go-live in the entire history of the company may seem like an enormous accomplishment, the benefits haven’t stopped there. Because JustFoodsERP is seamlessly integrated with other Microsoft products familiar to its employees, the company improved productivity right out of the gait. For example, employees now develop product forecasts using Microsoft Excel directly within JustFoodERP. They also generate customized analyses and reports using Microsoft Access and Microsoft SQL Server. What’s more, the company now tracks inventory far more quickly and accurately. For instance, any product can now be traced in just two to three minutes, compared to 30 to 45 minutes with the old system.

Equally important, JustFoodERP required minimal training. Says Keith Kern, IT director at Bruce Foods: “Changing to a Windows-based system was a significant improvement. End user training has dropped dramatically. You can sit down in front of a terminal and have an idea where you’re going without any training, whereas with our old system, we spent days training employees.”

Talking about spicing up its operations! With an ERP system that’s easy to implement and use, Bruce Foods is now positioned to keep up with the growing appetite for its foods. T