Eamonn Flynn and Rick Rebergen at Amsterdam Produce Show 2017
The name Keelings is well known in the fresh produce industry as a provider of fruit and vegetables, but the Irish company has added another string to its bow. Keelings Solutions is a company which provides ERP systems from fresh produce people to fresh produce people.
“Back in 2012 one of our customers in the Dutch market was looking at ERP systems so Caroline Keeling, our CEO arranged for them to come over and we let them see how our ERP system worked,” explains Eamonn Flynn, Managing director at Keelings Solutions. “They went back and looked around for six months for a good ERP system, then called us back and said that they couldn’t find anything as good as what they has seen at Keelings and asked if they could use our system in their company. That was where it all started.”
Keelings Solutions has been around for about 5 years, but has changed from being an in-house service to a separate stand-alone organisation within the Keelings Group. They are also present in Asia as well as Europe and have gone from a small team of five to a team of 25.
“If you look at all the ERP systems they are all similar,” states Eamonn. “Our system is specific to the fresh produce business and when people are explaining what they need, we understand. Functionality is specific, if you look at Microsoft they developed excel and the majority of people using excel only use about 50% of the functions the rest is wasted. In our software all functions are used by our Customers, it was developed by the end user, for the end user which is the big benefit of what we do. Our ERP software system can be used within all parts of our customer’s businesses – purchasing, sales, logistics, cost control up to management information. For companies involved in one or all of the wholesale, retail or food service sectors, our software operates well.”
All of the development is done in Ireland, nothing is out-sourced and Keelings Solutions along with its Dutch partner offers all the training and the support that customers need.
“Companies in the fresh produce industry work on very tight margins and they are concerned about how they can get a return from the software,” said Eamonn. “We can come in and after a couple of days of an IBR (initial business review), find areas where they can make savings and see a return on their investment. That is key because we are not just a software company we are also in the fresh produce business with experienced people who can help companies become more transparent and efficient, that is the huge benefit that we bring to the game.”