Last week, on Monday, June 19th, we hosted our first ever Masters of JustFood Seminar at the Shangri La Hotel in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. The goal of the seminar was to connect food industry professionals from across North America with current JustFood customers to learn more about business software for the food industry. We were excited to bring together like-minded professionals to discuss the industry at large, gaps they are noticing within their organization and the potential that ERP can bring to their businesses.

The event was co-presented alongside Ultra Consultants, a consulting firm for manufacturing and distribution companies looking to select and implement ERP software. The format of the seminar put the spotlight on some of our most seasoned JustFood customers representing a wide range of industries and roles. Each customer brought their unique perspectives on the JustFood experience, discussing what business needs drew them to JustFood, the challenges of getting their facility running on a new system and, ultimately, some of the benefits they have seen post-implementation.

The seminar was conducted in a round table format. Rich Sides, Partner and COO of Ultra Consultants, introduced the agenda for the day and also the customers that made up the JustFood Masters. With the Masters seated up front, seminar attendees were easily able to direct their questions and comments, voicing both what excited them and what concerned them about an ERP implementation. As the moderator of the seminar, Rich guided discussion and proposed new ideas and challenges to both the audience and the JustFood customers.

Our panel of Masters was as varied and seasoned as the attendees. Representing companies across the North Eastern United States and Southern Canada, from a wide range of food companies and with varying perspectives based on their roles within the company. Our panelists included:

The session began with a discussion based around ROI, with Rich asking each of the panelists to share the business reasons that drove them to learn more about JustFood software. They addressed issues like the need for better lot traceability, better data for purchasing and sales forecasting and more control over the production process. For each issue, they outlined the business case they created and presented to the rest of the company, highlighting not only the gaps that the software would help bridge, but also the potential for future growth and additional revenue. Attendees brought up their own gaps that they are seeing within their organizations, drawing links between the panelists’ experiences and their own. From there, the panelists outlined how the problems have been addressed since using JustFood software, with both greater data integrity and streamlined inter-department workflow leading to more efficient, safe and profitable business practices.

The next session turned to the challenges associated with change management. The Masters outlined the struggles that they faced at their companies when it came to implementing JustFood software. Primarily, the discussion was focused on how to get team members on board with the change, selecting team leaders from all departments to drive education and adoption of the new system and how to encourage change among all employees. They also focused on addressing roadblocks that can arise in the organization in the face of change. To address these issues, the Masters noted how they outlined specific goals and dates for different stages of adoption so that team members knew the timeline they had to learn the new system, ask the necessary questions and be ready for the change. They also discussed the incentive programs they put in place to reward employees for taking on and excelling with the new system. Finally, the discussed how to coach those struggling with change, getting them where they need to be so they can properly execute the role. As all the Masters noted, due to JustFood being an integrated system, any team members not using it properly is highly detectable and needs to be addressed quickly.

Lastly, Michael Givens, president and owner of La Rocca Creative Cakes, presented on the benefits of cloud technology. Michael has long been a proponent of cloud technology, working over the years to move all shared documents and systems into the cloud so that everything is accessible in real time and from multiple devices throughout his manufacturing facility. He highlighted efficiency, security and risk mitigation as the main reasons why he is so devoted to having 100% of his business structure live within the cloud.

Overall, it was a very informative seminar, for both the audience that attended and us here at JustFood. It was an excellent opportunity for us to hear from some of the leading JustFood power users and get some insight into how they overcame initial challenges associated with change management to reach their goals. It was also great to hear from the attendees, all of whom brought their own unique insight from their company’s experiences. We look forward to conducting more of these seminars in the future. If you’re interested in finding out more, don’t hesitate to get in touch.