Dynamics gives large dairy co-operative a platform for growth
Gay Lea Foods Co-operative Limited is the largest dairy co-operative in Ontario, with members on more than 1,360 dairy farms, more than 4,250 total members, and production facilities across Ontario, Manitoba and Alberta. The co-operative processes milk to make butter, cottage cheese, sour cream, whipped cream, milk and cheese, serving customers around the globe from four distinct quarters: ingredients, retail, co-pack and food service. In 2010, when RSM was first introduced to Gay Lea Foods, the co-operative was investing money into its equipment to improve production.
Gay Lea Foods was running a 40-year-old, disparate legacy system which supported its back-end financials. Due to the system’s limited capabilities, Gay Lea Foods operated other Access and Excel-based systems for add-on functionality. Ultimately, functionality was basic and very manual, and didn’t provide a platform for growth or an efficient solution for acquisitions or joint ventures.
“We were looking for more functionality in our system, as well as a platform for growth,” said Mike Eusebi, vice president of finance for Gay Lea Foods. “We wanted innovation to help us spend more time working on the business, be more efficient to change the way we do business, and to set us up to be an organization that could grow.”
RSM has an established history with Gay Lea Foods through various phases of deploying the Microsoft Dynamics enterprise resource planning (ERP) system. Solutions include initial implementation of the co-operative’s financials and add-on functionality such as the RSM Dairy Accelerator as well as upgrades, training and ongoing support.
“I couldn't imagine now today, doing an upgrade or doing a systems implementation without RSM,” said Michael Barrett, president and CEO of Gay Lea Foods. “I would not consider being able to move forward without being able to look at the advice, the guidance, the leadership and indeed the mentorship of RSM.”
The initial Microsoft Dynamics ERP project included a global solution verification model that designed Gay Lea Foods’ full solution across all phases. Then, the RSM team deployed financials and shared services, including order-to-cash and procure-to-pay functions for all of Gay Lea Foods’ manufacturing and distribution facilities. Next, RSM conducted a plant-by-plant deployment that included production reporting functionality with a simplified user interface for operators, blend optimization and advanced lot trace for each of their sites.
RSM’s Dairy Accelerator was also implemented, allowing Gay Lea Foods to track milk component costing by class, class utilization, dairy milk reclassification and dairy blend calculations.
The RSM team has continued its relationship with Gay Lea Foods as the co-operative has acquired more dairies. RSM has helped the company leverage Microsoft Dynamics’ functionality in several key areas, including:
- Supporting business growth and rapid enablement of entry into new channels and markets
- Accelerating company processes and improving productivity while reducing operational costs through better integration
- Automating processes and enabling visibility into business insight and operations
In addition, Gay Lea Foods leveraged RSM’s training services during the earlier phases of the project, helping to increase productivity among the users. The company is also currently utilizing RSM’s managed services team for a project that includes maintaining iOS compatibility for the RSM mobile sales module.
RSM has helped Gay Lea Foods utilize Microsoft Dynamics throughout the business, enabling greater functionality and business insight. Gay Lea Foods now has an innovative ERP platform that is highly scalable, accommodating the company’s growth strategy and increased business demands, and positioning the company for continued success.
Key benefits of RSM’s relationship with Gay Lea Foods include:
- Getting acquisitions up and running quickly on the Microsoft Dynamics system
- Implementing a modern platform for long-term growth
- Designing an integrated platform that serves as the single source of truth and enhanced visibility across all operations
- Eliminating manual re-entry from former disparate system model
- Enabling real-time access to dairy components for Canada’s dairy reporting compliancy
- Configuring automation to accelerate processes and improve productivity