Software glitch cheeses off customers
Fonterra has good news and bad for Waikato food makers annoyed about not receiving cheese, butter and fresh milk orders this week because of the dairy company's major switch to a new software system.
Fonterra Brands NZ managing director Peter McClure said all but maybe the smallest customers should by now be receiving their Anchor and Mainland brand orders on time.
But he warned that the Foodstuffs and Progressive supermarket chains would soon be making similar big system switches. He believed Foodstuffs, operators of New World and Pak 'n Save supermarkets would be switching next month and Australian company Progressive Enterprises, operator of Countdown outlets, would be tackling the software change in February.
McClure said he recognised that implementation of Fonterra Brands' new order system had caused difficulties for business customers as the company "struggled to get enough product out the door".
"Yes, there's been a fair amount of noise," he said.
Still seeing red over the delays is Hamilton Beaut Pies directors John Bary and Jennifer North, who pride themselves on using "quality" cheese in their baking.
They have been unable to get tasty cheese for the past week from their milkman and say they have been forced to use substandard product that turns orange when baked.
Bary is particularly cheesed off because Fonterra is a near monopoly, did not communicate over the delays, and out of concern that his franchised milk deliverer must also be losing income.
But McClure said the switch had been "sensational" compared to the nightmares suffered by some companies.
"It's almost impossible to anticipate everything. You test and test and test and run simulated exercises but then you go live and something happens. Also our business is incredibly complex."
Fonterra controls nearly 90 per cent of the country's raw milk supply. Its biggest rival in the local market is Goodman Fielder, which buys its milk from Fonterra.
- © Fairfax NZ News