Chevalier Wholesale Produce is an Auckland-based wholesale distributor of premium fresh fruit and vegetables.
Through its business divisions the company supplies fresh produce to airline caterers, shipping lines, hospitals, and a predominantly Auckland-based clientele of restaurants and commercial catering companies. In addition, Chevalier exports to supermarkets in a number of Pacific islands including Fiji and New Caledonia.
The company operates in a market that is highly susceptible to seasonal fluctuations, particularly among its cruise line and catering customers.
At first glance, fruit and vegetable wholesale distribution may appear to be a relatively simple business operation, but as Graham Janssen, General Manager of Chevalier Wholesale Produce explained, the nature of the produce creates some interesting complexities. “Chevalier deals with a large number of different products, where the produce available and prices change every day,” Janssen said.
Moreover, to fulfil Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry requirements for export activities, Chevalier must be able to correlate purchases to sales and actual customer names. When the company began looking for new financial management software, it discovered that few packages were fit for purpose.
According to Janssen, “Many of the companies we spoke to simply didn’t comprehend our business needs… Jiwa showed they understood our business.”
“Many of the companies we spoke to simply didn’t comprehend our business needs… Jiwa showed they understood our business.”
In the five years since Jiwa was installed, Chevalier has tailored the system by tightly linking Crystal Reports, Microsoft Excel and Jiwa to create a range of additional divisional reports. Scripts provide hourly reports linking purchase order information directly to sales orders, giving an immediate snapshot of the overall business, as well as providing the all-important reports for the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry.
Janssen estimates that it takes just under a week for new staff to become fully competent in the software.
Into the Future
Jiwa is now used by up to 30 staff members daily and is an integral tool for Chevalier’s export and telephone salespeople, business analysts and management.
Chevalier now benefits from improved efficiency, accuracy and peace of mind that they’re well placed for future growth.