"We found Vanilla to be very professional, very helpful and very knowledgeable. They couldn’t have made it any easier for us – and we knew what a big ask it was. I’m pleased to say the IFS Applications 10 installation and implementation at Flatfish was delivered on time."

CAISTOR Seafoods set Vanilla Solutions a real challenge when replacing their new sister company’s legacy system.

Parent company Nissui purchased specialist seafood processor Flatfish last year and quickly looked to replace an ageing ERP system. Japanese seafood giant Nissui Group, is the second largest seafood company in the world.

Andrew Wright, IFS Manager at Caistor Seafoods, explained: “Flatfish were using an old system that was limited in what it could do. Caistor have been using IFS Applications 7 for 12 years and we knew how good it is, but the latest version is IFS Applications 10. So the decision was taken to move Flatfish on to IFS Applications 10 and then migrate Caistor to the same version at a later date.”

However, the company needed the switch to happen quickly, so set Vanilla the very challenging target of introducing and implementing IFS at Flatfish in 12 weeks.

“To be honest, I didn’t think it could be done. I just didn’t think there was enough time,” said Andrew.

“I spoke to Jason Belcher at Vanilla, as I’d met him at various IFS conferences, and outlined the size of the challenge. This was last July and I asked him ‘Is there any chance of IFS Applications 10 being installed at Flatfish by October?’”

“Jason said Vanilla had been working on something similar for another client, so he said it was possible, which really surprised me. Obviously, it helped that we had so much background understanding of the business, the sector and the processes needed. We knew we could basically copy the IFS set-up at Caistor, which would really speed things up,” he added.

Further conversations followed and a contract signed for installation of IFS Applications 10 at Flatfish. The conversations included discussion on whether the system was going to be hosted on premise or in the cloud.

“We opted for IFS to be hosted in the cloud, which was the best solution operationally and financially. Vanilla’s Head of Technology, Mike Hollifield, was a huge help to us and designed a bespoke solution,” said Andrew.

“We had a lot of Vanilla people on site – fortunately, they’re geographically very close to us in Grimsby – and the workshops and testing was really thorough. It helped that we had experience of IFS within the group, but everyone at Vanilla was very helpful. They responded very quickly to every issue we had.

“We found them all to be very professional, very helpful and very knowledgeable. They couldn’t have made it any easier for us – and we knew what a big ask it was. I’m pleased to say the IFS Applications 10 installation and implementation at Flatfish was delivered on time.

IFS will be used to make business improvements in every area of the Flatfish business, from manufacturing to supply chain, finance and costing.

“IFS will give us far better financial analysis of the business, far more – and accurate – data and a better relationship with our customers. It’s also future-proofed.

“We also know that moving the Caistor business to IFS Applications 10 will make a big difference; it’s easier to use than the version they currently use and is more proactive – it points to the information you really need so you don’t have to go searching for it,” said Andrew.

Jason Belcher, Director at Vanilla, said: “I think Andrew was surprised when we told him we could implement IFS at Flatfish so quickly. It took us 12 weeks and we have now successfully completed the migration of Caistor too.

“Andrew’s knowledge and experience of IFS certainly helped and it was a really team effort to complete the Flatfish implementation in what seemed to be an impossibly tight timeframe.”