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Sakuma Brothers Reduces Manual Labor Amidst Growth Into New Markets With The Help of NorthScope

The Company

Located in Burlington, Washington, Sakuma Brothers Farms & Processing is a 100% vertically integrated grower and processor in the small fruit industry. It currently grows and processes strawberries, blueberries, and blackberries. Sakuma Brothers Processing, Inc. was founded in 1997, expanded in 2003 with the addition of an IQF facility, expanded again in 2005 with a cooler for incoming fruit, and has continued to expand to this day.

The Highlights

Prior to 2014, Sakuma Brothers had been relying on a combination of internally developed software, outsourced software packages, and a legacy accounting system that was no longer supported before turning to NorthScope and the Northlake Partners (the creators of NorthScope) to streamline their environment and provide better visibility into and control over their business. This visibility and control came in the form of a NorthScope solution that included built out integrations, automated processes, improved reporting and data accuracy, a lasting and supportive partnership, and more. Since then, Sakuma has been able to:

Grow into new markets and customers without adding staff.

Improve inventory traceability to meet customer demands without relying on paper and pencil or adding staff to do the work.

Get real-time access to data that drives both formatted reports and ad-hoc analysis.

Reduce the number of systems in their environment and remove points of manual data entry, improving accuracy and timely reporting.

The Challenge

Before turning to NorthScope, Sakuma Brothers needed a system that would meet its unique requirements including but not limited to supporting a multi-company environment, running on site payroll with time clock integration and detailed labor tracking, inventory traceability down to the pallet and lot level, ease of use, and a system that would be flexible and grow with the company as it grew and changed. These needs were not currently being met by Sakuma’s combination of internally developed software, outsourced software packages, and a legacy accounting system that was no longer supported.

The Approach

The NorthScope implementation was able to meet Sakuma’s requirement by focusing on the three primary goals of providing Sakuma with the ability to maintain a multi-company environment with consolidated financial reporting, detailed item setup and traceability from the field to the customer for both products Sakuma processes and packs as well as for third parties, and ease of data entry and accuracy by integrating with on-site hardware, such as truck scales, and configuring the transaction entry to make it as simple and quick as possible. NLP worked with Sakuma to implement NorthScope before their busy harvest season. This supportive partnership produced a successful implementation that included reconfiguring some setup information for ease of use, working with the existing shop floor management system to build out a real-time integration, creating a suite of inventory and sales reports for Sakuma users, working with the accounts payable and field receiving teams to configure and add features to the Grower Accounting functional area of NorthScope in order to handle some specific requirements Sakuma would need for their upcoming harvest season, and more.

The Solution

Thanks to the configuration and setup, new feature development, built out integrations, and collaboration during implementation, Sakuma’s NorthScope solution allowed them to remove several manual processes, including traceability reports, integrating grower receipts into inventory and accounts payable, and payroll data being integrated into the system automatically. Additionally, since the implementation of NorthScope, Sakuma has taken on new lines of business and has been able to add these new processes to their environment without any custom development or re-implementation work.

The Results

With NorthScope, Sakuma can now get real-time inventory reports, run traceability reports from the system, run consolidated financial statements directly from the system and manage complicated sales order processes that involve multiple shipments per order and setting up invoicing and shipping transactions for international shipments. With the help of their system, Sakuma has been able to grow their business into new markets and customers without adding staff, improve the traceability of their inventory to meet customer demands, get real-time access to data for reporting and analysis, reduce the number of systems they use and manual data entry, and more.

The Review

As our business has grown and changed over the years, we have worked with Northlake Partners and the NorthScope system to meet a number of objectives – both internal and customer requested. We’ve been able to achieve every objective with the help of the NLP team and the NorthScope platform, which we use to manage and report on our businesses from the receipt of raw fruit from the fields through to the financial statements.

Juan Baldovinos, CFO