Shared Recipe Unites Olive Company

Feature Article | March 30, 2012 by Christine Benton

A. Camacho Inc., a U.S.-based importer and distributor of specialty food products, was the smaller of the two entities that came together as Mario Camacho Foods. About a year before the merger, A. Camacho replaced its ill-suited, poorly supported business applications with SAP Business One. “We wanted a first-class enterprise application, but we thought SAP software was out of reach financially,” recalls Ken Starling, director of technology at Mario Camacho Foods. “But SAP showed us how well SAP Business One matched up with our needs and our budget. SAP also introduced us to Real Solutions of North America Inc., a top-quality local integrator with a specialty in SAP Business One.”

The company performed due diligence before making its decision, but found at every turn that SAP Business One excelled over its competition. The more Starling and his team looked into potential solutions, the more they found that flexibility was a major differentiator. “We had been frustrated every time we tried to accommodate our special needs with the legacy system,” he says.

“When Real Solutions demonstrated the user-defined field functionality of SAP Business One, I instantly realized it was the solution we had been looking for. It provides all the benefits of tailoring without the downsides of customization, and it puts the power in our hands.”

Common software and processes for all

A. Camacho and Real Solutions performed extensive planning before implementing SAP Business One, and it paid off when the project was finished on schedule and under budget. The preparation was so thorough that the firm switched off the legacy software the day it went live with SAP Business One. “Our decision to have no parallel operations worked out superbly,” Starling reports. “Customers never knew the difference.”

A. Camacho had barely settled in with its new business solution when its executives announced a pending merger with the Mario Olive Company. A nationally recognized branded olive enterprise, the Mario Olive Company wanted to greatly expand its North American footprint to include international markets and increase its store brand and food service channel presence. The Mario Olive Company decided the best way to accomplish this was to merge with a respected food supplier with an established import, food service, and distribution framework. A. Camacho fit the bill perfectly, and Mario Camacho Foods was born.

One of the first decisions the young company made was to implement common business software throughout the enterprise. Unlike most such mergers, however, the firm decided to retire the software used by the larger entity and proliferate the application used by the smaller. That application was SAP Business One.

“The Mario Olive Company had challenges with its legacy systems as well,” explains Starling. “Besides, in just the few months we had been live with SAP Business One, we had proven how well suited it is to the needs of an import and distribution company. It was an easy decision.”

The right solution for every aspect of the business

SAP Business One has proven to be a success for Mario Camacho Foods in all four of the major facets of its business. “In finance, we have many more tools that increase our efficiency,” begins Jeff McMahon, the firm’s CFO. “Our old software was batch-oriented and analysis was difficult, requiring our most senior financial people, our controller, or myself. With SAP Business One, we have real-time visibility into all our financials and a range of analysis tools that everybody in the department can easily use. That has freed our team to contribute to corporate planning at higher levels.”

In procurement and logistics, the benefits are just as strong. Historically, the Mario Olive Company had paid for most of its purchases from large suppliers using electronic data interchange (EDI) technology, an arrangement that worked well for all involved. To support EDI, Mario Camacho Foods integrated Transaction Manager from True Commerce Inc. with SAP Business One. “Now we use EDI for 78% of our purchases,” McMahon reports. “That, together with the superior purchasing functionality of SAP Business One, has greatly improved our efficiency.”

The company’s sales personnel enjoy richer functionality too, enabling them to more easily track orders and deliveries and keep customers up-to-date. “With all the growth we’ve experienced lately, our customer service people never could have kept up using the old software,” says McMahon. “Processing a sales order took eight screens to do the job that we now accomplish with one using SAP Business One. Because of improvements like that, we have actually been able to reduce our number of customer service associates despite the growth.”

The inventory and distribution side of Mario Camacho Foods’ business is capitalizing on SAP Business One as well. “In our old system, we had to wait before responding to a purchase order because we could not trust our inventory reports to tell us what we had available to promise,” McMahon remembers. “It was a batch-oriented system that was always a day late. And even after we learned what products we had available, it was cumbersome to determine which of our warehouse locations had them in supply. With SAP Business One, every warehouse can provide reports in real time, making it crystal clear where we stand so that we can respond immediately to customer requests.”

Mario Camacho Foods is the largest importer of green table olives in the USA (Source: Mario Camacho Foods)

A dynamic future

IT has also seen its burden reduced and efficiency increased since the implementation. “We used to spend all day fighting fires, but SAP Business One just plain runs,” says Starling. “That leaves us a lot more time to help our business users find ways to increase their productivity even further.”

The merger and decision to implement SAP Business One company-wide have been big wins for Mario Camacho Foods. With the application’s help, the firm has grown to become the largest importer of green table olives in the United States, with household-name products on grocery store shelves. “We are now one company in every way,” says McMahon. “Without a doubt, a big reason was our decision to implement SAP Business One.”

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1 comment

  1. George William Mark

    Real Solutions North America has since joined Clients First Business Solutions, expanding to eight brick and mortar locations. Check out http://business-one-sap.com/ for more info.

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