“The software has really increased the possibilities of what we can do. We no longer have to spend months training new employees, as they are becoming proficient with SYSPRO in a week or less. The customization tools have made the need to memorize stock codes a thing of the past.”
– John Perrone III, Information Technology Manager, Perrone & Sons
Perrone & Sons is a third and fourth generation-run wholesale high-end gourmet food business operating out of Progress Grocery in the French Quarter of New Orleans, Louisiana. Rich in history and family tradition, Perrone & Sons celebrates nearly 100 years of manufacturing and distributing specialty food items like its original Muffuletta Sandwich, a well-known dining favorite of New Orleans’ residents and tourists.
Today, Perrone & Sons offers the same traditional Italian quality products that founder, Bartholomew Perrone, offered in the early 1920’s, in addition to 5,000 specialty items and ingredients distributed to restaurants and grocery stores. The gourmet food distributor processes anywhere from a couple thousand orders per month, to upwards of 30,000 orders per month depending on the season.
“Since the company’s founding, we consolidated our three story retail operation and offsite warehouse facility to a location in the New Orleans suburb of Metairie,” explains John Perrone III, Information Technology Manager, Perrone & Sons. “In 2001, changing demographics made the retail side of the business no longer profitable, so we decided to focus our efforts entirely on our wholesale operations.” Perrone said
Perrone recalls that Hurricane Katrina in 2005 forced the business to operate temporarily out of various family residences. “However,” he notes, “during the rebuilding phase, the company decided to replace its original ERP solution, which had become antiquated, with a new, more comprehensive solution to help elevate the business to the next level.”
Perrone & Sons’ first attempt to upgrade its ERP solution resulted in choosing a popular Tier 2 ERP system. However, after discovering that the system they chose could not deliver the caliber of EDI functionality it had once promised, and unhappy with the lag in quarterly updates and repeated software bug fixes, Perrone & Sons was back on the hunt to find the total ERP package.
After a five-year struggle with their previous system, compliance and governance were top of mind in finding a new ERP solution. Perrone explains that two crucial functionalities weighed into the ERP selection process: EDI and lot traceability. “We wanted a software package that had those features to begin with—and not have to later find a new ERP package that supported those things,” says Perrone.
The gourmet food distributor met with a number of ERP vendors before narrowing the focus on three contenders: Microsoft Dynamics, Edible Software, and SYSPRO. “What I really liked about SYSPRO was the customization; and the interface is just incredible,” Perrone said. He explains that the company selected SYSPRO, not only because of the software’s current functionality, but also due to the outstanding features of the latest version.
Shortly after going live with SYSPRO, Perrone & Sons moved into a new warehouse that was double the size of the former facility. However, Hurricane Isaac hit the city creating a second ‘storm’ to one of a different kind that was brewing. A major local competitor had decided to sell his company to a national chain, and Perrone & Sons became the company of choice for many of their customers. “Not only did this force us to work many 16-hour days to keep up with the increased demand, but it also became a strain on our new SYSPRO ERP solution,” said Perrone. “I’m pleased to report that our personnel and SYSPRO ERP solution were up to the task and we were able to keep up with the work required,” Perrone said.
Within two years of implementation, SYSPRO helped reduce Perrone & Sons’ inventory by at least 25%, and they saw double digit growth. “The software has really increased the possibilities of what we can do. We no longer have to spend months training new employees, as they are becoming proficient with SYSPRO in a week or less. The customization tools have made the need to memorize stock codes a thing of the past,” said Perrone.
Today, Perrone & Sons is happy to run its business with an ERP that allows it to be FDA compliant. The narrowed focus of SYSPRO’s lot traceability feature enables the food distributor to have full visibility in case there is ever a product recall. Another key feature helping Perrone & Sons run its business successfully is SYSPRO’s mobile flexibility.
“One of the most important features SYSPRO brings to the company is the SYSPRO Espresso mobile application,” said Perrone. “This tool has really become a game changer for us. It has the same effect of doubling our office staff without actually hiring any additional staff, as it totally enables our sales people in the field to become self-reliant, greatly easing the work load on our current office staff,” Perrone said.
Perrone said that ultimately, SYSPRO has helped the company to compete by making it more efficient. By empowering Perrone & Sons with the same tools its larger competitors have been utilizing on a regular basis, the family-owned food distributor can compete head to head.