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There’s Something Fishy About this Family Business

September 19, 2014 by John Ward

Of course there is. After all, Charles Seafoods Supply is a provider of fresh seafood to some of the top restaurants in the Philippines.

But there’s definitely nothing fishy about this family-owned company’s business approach.

Charles Seafoods Supply believes in tried-and-true business practices. This includes using cloud-based technology to simplify collaboration with some of its largest customers.

Bounty from the Sea

Owner Mayette Yulo has run Charles Seafoods Supply for more than 20 years. She and her company have built a strong reputation for selling high-quality fish, oysters, crabs, and other delicacies harvested from the waters that surround this nation of more than 7,000 islands.

Headquartered in Manila, Charles Seafoods Supply has grown steadily over the years. Today the company has about 50 employees, and its clientele includes some of the most renowned hotel groups and casino operators in the Philippines.

The Importance of Family

Family businesses like Charles Seafoods Supply play an important role in the Philippine economy. Up to 75% of Philippine businesses are family-owned.

But this kind of percentage is by no means exclusive to the region. According to the Family Firm Institute, Inc., family enterprises are the most common form of business entity in the world, and an estimated 70% to 90% of global GDP annually is created by such companies.

Not all family businesses are small, of course. Think Wal-Mart and Samsung.

But small family businesses in particular can face some unique challenges – from failing to establish a clear succession plan to letting emotions run the business. Charles Seafoods Supply believes that lacking the right business technology shouldn’t be one of them.

The Case for Automated Collaboration

In the past, Charles Seafoods Supply took a largely manual approach to interacting with its customers. Orders were faxed or called in by phone; invoices were sent out by mail. This manual process made orders and invoices difficult to track. It sometimes led to delivery delays, and it provided very little visibility into payment status.

Charles Seafoods Supply turned to the cloud-based Ariba Network to streamline purchase ordering and invoicing for itself and its customers.

One of its first steps was to create an online catalog for about 140 of the seafood company’s different offerings. Reflecting the latest pricing and product specs, customers can use the catalog to view and place their seafood orders with just a few clicks. Charles Seafoods Supply also uses the network to automate the purchase order and invoice exchange process.

Charles Seafoods Supply and its customers have seen significant improvements with this automation. Increased order accuracy has resulted in fewer errors in delivery. “And since we started getting paid faster, we now have a positive cash flow,” says Yulo. In fact, she reports an 80% reduction in late payments.

Simple and fresh. Those are the hallmarks of the world’s best seafood. They are also good adjectives to describe a cloud-based approach to better collaboration with your best customers.

Charles Seafoods Supply recommends it. Consider it their catch of the day.

Follow me on Twitter @JohnGWard3.

This story originally appeared on SAP Business Trends.

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