Wednesday, January 15, 2014

IT Updates

Successful Projects & New Key Initiatives
ABARTA’s IT Department rang in the New Year looking back at several successful completed projects in 2013 and looking forward to several key initiatives for the 2014 calendar year. Recent events in the IT department include: a knowledge transfer of in-house functions and processes to new hires, an analysis and planning strategy to increase network security, a joint effort project with the Buffalo location to incorporate the collection of state required recycling fees, and assisting on ABARTA’s annual close efforts for Fiscal Year End.
Over the last six months there have been new hires in both the ABARTA’s Corporate IT department and the Buffalo Facility IT staff.   The learning curve and transition for the new hires has been a significant climb but thanks to the existing professional, veteran staff, the business impact has been minimized.
In an effort to reduce network vulnerability, secure administration roles have been reviewed and will continue to be altered.  The implementation of these processes will lower the risk of breaching the ABARTA network and allows more precise monitoring of network activity.
In fall 2013, the Buffalo facility initiated a project to increase potential revenues by collecting state- mandated recycling fees.  This project has been ongoing and has required resources from the Buffalo and Cleveland facilities, ABARTA IT, and Coke Bottling Services.  The goal of the project is to collect the recycling fees for specific product as mandated by the State of New York.  The project required several changes to the in-house Garman and VIP software and the Consolidated Invoicing Software used by Coke Bottling Services.  Initially, the project is being designed around Aldi’s willingness to work with Coke, but once implemented, the program can be rolled out to other interested customers.  The anticipated implementation is early in the 2014 Fiscal Year.
The IT staff also has been busy assisting ABARTA’s Shared Services in the Financial Annual Closing of the Fiscal Year and preparations for the start of a new Fiscal Year.  The IT related tasks include loading of the new budgets into Margin Minder, setting up of new G/L accounts, and rolling over any year-end open balances. 
As a whole, the IT department has been very busy keeping up with the daily support as well as incorporating new initiatives and is looking forward to the challenges brought in the New Year.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Non Amended & Amended Bottlers

If It Seems To Good To Be True...It Probably Is!

Anyone who has been around long enough may recall about 7 years ago, SFS published an article describing the disparity in the pricing of a gallon on Coca-Cola Classic between our non-amended bottlers (Cleveland & Lehigh) and our amended bottlers (Buffalo & Chester).

Basically, the story went like this.  In the 1970’s, the Coca-Cola Company had persuaded bottlers that it would be in their financial interest to amend their bottling contracts.  The new (amended) contract would allow bottlers to use fructose (as opposed to sucrose) as their sweetener.   Fructose was going to save bottlers so much money in the long term that they also wanted bottlers to agree to allow the Coca-Cola Company to adjust their base price, just marginally, each year to keep up with inflation.  In the original contract, the base price remained fixed at .88 cents per gallon and could not be changed.

So how did this look in 2006?

  •    The base element had climbed from .88/gal to $3.34/gal in 2006…Approximately a 280% increase.
  •    The cost for a gallon of classic syrup was 38% higher for an amended bottler  (1 gallon of syrup produces approximately 3 cases of 24 pack cans).

How’s it look today, in 2013?

  •    A non-amended bottler is still paying a base price of .88 while an amended bottler is now paying $3.88 or 341% more.
  •    Today, an amended bottler is paying 74% more for a gallon of classic syrup than a non-amended bottler.

The morale of this story… If it seems too good to be true, it probably is!

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Welcome ALDI, Inc!

The Beverage Group welcomed a new customer in August: ALDI, Inc.
While new to our beverage group,  they have been an established customer of Kahiki Foods.  ALDI is headquartered in Batavia, Illinois, just west of Chicago. Employees number 3,000 with 200 at their headquarters location. They opened their first store in 1976 with a “no frills” food shopping philosophy growing to 1,200 stores in thirty-two states in the mid-west and east. ALDI has a foreign parent: ALDI  KG, Essen, Germany.

We have five authorized items: fridgepacks & 2L for Coke & Diet Coke
plus fridgepaks for Sprite for thirty-nine store locations as follows:

            Buffalo            19                    Lehigh             4
            Cleveland        15                   Chester            1

During the first half of August, we sold $100,000 of Coca-Cola products
to these stores.  While purchase orders are not required, our customer requested additionally that:

1)      delivery ticket left at store does not show pricing
2)      product quantities should be shown in both cases & units

Using our dispatch, masterfile, & chain reporting, we were able to meet these requirements.

We are doing Edi/ electronic invoices thru CBS’s Consolidated Invoice service. Payments to suppliers have been trending six days beyond terms; our credit terms have been set at net 21 days.

Welcome ALDI!

Friday, July 19, 2013

Kahiki’s Financial Conversion to S.F.S.

Recently, the move of several financial processes from Kahiki to Shared Financial Services was completed.  The processes moved included Accounts Receivable, Fixed Assets, and Accounts Payable.  Prior to the implementation phase, the Accounts Receivable and Accounts Payable staff needed to learn a completely new accounting software system used at Kahiki called Compass.  In addition, they needed to become familiar with a business that was a little different from their prior experience.

Our implementation game plan calls for three main steps:

  1. Getting things converted and working properly.  Opportunities to improve business processes are looked at during the implementation planning. 
  2. Getting things to work better.  As we gain more experience and more repetitions doing new things, we work out the bugs, bottlenecks, and inefficiencies in our processes.
  3. Getting things to work the best they can.  This is an area of ongoing focus that is in line with our constant effort for continuous improvement.  It involves stepping back, reviewing current business process, and finding ways to continue to make us better and more efficient. 
Accounts Receivable was implemented with all payments being remitted to the bank lockbox and sent to SFS for cash application onto customer accounts.  As part of this process, any payment variances were referred back to Kahiki for resolution.  More time is being devoted to improving customer collection results and we have seen great improvement.

Fixed Assets were moved in order to standardize what was being done for other ABARTA companies supported by Shared Financial Services.  The standardization of this area was very helpful in working with our tax department and year end responsibilities regarding fixed asset and depreciation issues.

Accounts Payable was the last area to be implemented.  A couple of key process improvements prior to full implementation included;
  1. Reimbursing T & E payments through payroll, consistent with other ABARTA companies.
  2. Utilizing purchasing cards for smaller dollar purchases to reduce the number of  invoices and checks run through the Accounts Payable System.
Both inventory and non inventory invoices are currently processed at Shared Financial Services.  Any questions or issues are resolved with the local Kahiki financial staff prior to final processing of invoices.  All check payments are handled by Shared Financial Services.

In completing the Kahiki conversions above, we have realized cost savings for our company, while streamlining our business processes at the same time.  We look forward to continuing to serve Kahiki as a valued new customer of SFS!