In the competitive world of beer brewing responding to the complex demands of major retailers, distributors and pubs can be just a big a challenge as nailing the perfect blend of malt, hops, water and yeast.
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Just ask Coopers’ commercial manager, Michael Shearer. A JD Edwards (JDE) customer since 2004, the company recently upgraded from version 8 of the ERP suite to version 9 along, along with a refresh of its IBM-based hardware.
The goal, along with update its hardware and ensuring a proper disaster recovery strategy was in place, was to unlock functionality to help it manage rapid changes brought on by fluid customer pricing and terms of trade.
“One of the unique things about the beer business is the pricing and the costings,” Shearer told Computerworld Australia following a JDE 8.0 to 9.0 migration presentation at Oracle OpenWorld 2011.
“Coopers works with a variety of customers – we sell direct to wholesalers, and distributers, direct to hotels and the supermarket chains and all of them have different pricing structures and capabilities, so having basket pricing is important.
Along with the ability to manage relationships with multiple buying groups – which often have different pricing and different products – managing the pricing pressure often exerted by major retailers also comes down to the ERP suite.
“We need to have the flexibility within our systems to cater to the needs of the major chains,” Shearer said. “For example, you have not only discounting but trading terms involved. You have to ensure you are accumulating your costs properly back in the general ledger and you need to be able to validate claims.
“We need a system which can accrue those trading terms, accrue those claims and have the ability to validate that. JDE has helped us know and understand our costs.”
While Coopers intends to explore existing functionality in version 9 of JDE, upgrading has enabled the company to begin to think about new modules and tools – such as Oracle’s Business Information (BI) Publisher. Exploring new SaaS- rather than Cloud-based software options is also of interest.
“We are a simple small organisation and a product like (demand management suite) Demantra has a lot of features and capabilities that we don’t need at this point in time” he said. “So looking at it in a SaaS proposition we might be able to get access to [certain features] at a better cost.”
With just 1.5 dedicated IT staff and a highly virtualised hardware environment, as well as concerns over data sovereignty, the Cloud was not of particular interest to Coopers, Shearer said.
“The thing about going to the cloud is that you don’t have your own hardware and your own data,” he said. “We have our own data and our own hardware and someone else manages that for us. We are happy with the level of security where we know where our hardware and our data is at this point in time.”
Tim Lohman travelled to San Francisco as a guest of Oracle Australia