March 2021 | More about going live Peaty Mills

Peaty Mills plc is a UK importer of, amongst others, canned fruits and vegetables, pickled vegetables, fruits in plastics and industrial products (juices, purees and concentrates). For over 40 years, Peaty Mills has been importing these products from across the globe, relieving its clients of burdens related to logistics, customs and store management.

Until recently, Peaty Mills used two systems to support its business processes, an accounting system as well as a logistics and transport system developed in Microsoft Access. Due to the company’s growth and obsolescence of its current systems, the need arose for a complete ERP system. Peaty Mills closely monitored developments at a friendly competitor (Ivory & Ledoux), and decided at the end of 2019 to implement Microsoft’s Dynamics Business Central, combined with HB SmartTrade. The implementation would largely be done through Microsoft Teams sessions, and a HB Software consultant would travel to Peaty Mills’ head office in West Malling in Kent once every two months, for on-premises training and implementation.

Going live was scheduled to take place before the summer of 2020, but the corona pandemic threw a spanner in the works. During the first lockdown period March 2020, Peaty Mills decided to temporarily put the project on hold. Due to the fact that staff members could only work remotely from their homes, Peaty Mills did not feel comfortable enough to continue the project.

The project was resumed after the summer of 2020, entirely remotely through Microsoft Teams, given the impossibility of travel to the UK at that time. The project was again delayed during the second lockdown period at the end of 2020, but this time, Peaty Mills felt up to continuing the journey online, feeling strengthened by friendly competitor Ivory & Ledoux’s experience with going live, supported remotely by HB Software through Microsoft Teams.

At the beginning of 2021, the Brexit resulted in another hitch. Peaty Mills was confronted with such a substantial extra mass of paperwork to get its products into and out of the UK, that it would be unwise to go live in January 2021. Another complication was the uncertainty around Ireland’s Border Region, where one of Peaty Mills’ biggest clients happens to be located.

Given the considerable amount of time that had passed since the start of the project and ongoing technical developments, the decision was made to upgrade the Business Central implementation to version 17, thus allowing Peaty Mills to use new functionality in Business Central as well as HB SmartTrade.

The second half of March ultimately marked the moment of Peaty Mills going live, supported remotely by HB Software through Microsoft Teams. After some initial ups-and-downs in the first two weeks, we can now safely say, that Peaty Mills will be able to support all of its current and future business processes with a stable and new ERP system. In the forthcoming period, all postponed activities for the second phase will be resumed, and Business Central combined with HB SmartTrade will become the core of Peaty Mills’ daily operation.