Prophet's Mick Heatherington Discusses Shifting ERP Landscape and Industry Solutions
WESTLAKE VILLAGE, CA - There is power in partnership—and Prophet is one produce ally helping its partners achieve strategic operational growth and development. As we began our deep dive into an evolving industry segment, I asked Mick Heatherington, Vice President of Sales, what shifts Prophet has noticed in the ERP landscape, and how it is able to help its partners better navigate such shifts.
“Over the past couple of years, it is noticeable that several ERP vendors with a strong presence in fresh produce have either changed hands or consolidated through acquisition. In addition, Microsoft has also been announcing the ‘out of support’ dates for several of its ERP business solutions older releases, some of which are deployed by produce businesses,” Mick explains. “This, Prophet believes, will inevitably result in some major changes including the sunsetting of well-known produce industry applications in the near to mid-term. Service levels, costs, and continued development have also been affected, and our advice to produce businesses is to act early and have a timely plan in place to review, upgrade, or change to avoid pressured and costly disruption.”
“We all know that implementing new ERP can be a time-consuming process and not without risk,” Mick continues. “Acting early provides the opportunity to be proactive and successfully deploy up-to-date technology that can add real value and efficiency to produce businesses.”
As Mick explains, there are a host of benefits and functionalities that favor produce suppliers and allow them to seamlessly strengthen their operations.
“If a produce business is considering a new ERP, selecting one like Prophet with a very close headline fit for fast-moving, high-volume, low-margin perishables ensures it can deliver integrated forecasting and planning, easy data merging, accurate decision-making data, and automation of roles and tasks to drive efficiency,” Mick explains.
Prophet emphasizes that a comprehensive business intelligence tool should also be mandatory and layered across the entire business, including operations and profitability analysis. These focuses have been designed to be the cornerstones of success of the Prophet software.
“From our perspective, the Prophet annual license is designed to encapsulate and solve all of the known downsides of ERPs," Mick shares. "For example, many companies install ERPs that, with modifications, may be fit for purpose at the outset; however, over time as the business expands, evolves, and adopts new processes, it may lead to either expensive and disruptive modifications or the use of spreadsheets and off-system nonintegrated applications to compensate. The net result after a few years is that less of the core ERP is in use, increasing workloads and slowing data flows, resulting in functionality and benefit shrink.”
Prophet, within its annual license model, provides highly configurable interfaces and modules that shape easily to produce business processes. Prophet is also continuously upgraded, and all support and maintenance are included alongside a robust account management service to ensure that the ERP is nimble, flexible, and attuned to business changes. These interfaces—or workspaces, as Prophet calls them—can be configured by the users as opposed to programmers, which is of benefit on many levels. As Mick explains to me, Prophet’s ultimate aim here is to deliver a “no code low code” solution geared specifically to the produce industry.
Companies looking to adopt innovative technologies to advance their operations should provide the ERP team with the resources and time needed to assess, install, and continuously fine-tune the right solutions for the business, Prophet advises.
“Technology is changing at faster rates than ever and it is critically important that the owners and senior managers understand how these newer technologies can provide better control, efficiency, and business performance analysis—all of which lead to better service to customers and ultimately the bottom line,” Mick adds. “In short, it's money well spent.”
Stay tuned as ANUK continues to report on the innovative services uplifting our industry.