Carfax Commodities specializes in sourcing and delivering quality food commodities. Backed up by unique promises of performance, they provide customers with global reach through offices in Singapore, Kenya, Ghana and Switzerland. We met up with Patrick Dean, founder and CEO, to talk about the selection and implementation of our flagship CTRM solution.
We asked him why he had chosen Agiblocks? He reflected on his decision.
“Before launching Carfax, I had had long experience of enterprise software selection and use within the commodities industry. So, when it came to it, I was fully aware of what was needed to control my own commodities business effectively and efficiently. I would say that I was well placed to target the right software system in the crowd of IT contenders in the marketplace.
I was mindful of the many horror stories of enterprise software systems that ill-fitted with true operational needs. Tales of ham-fisted ‘go lives’ that resulted in shockwaves around those unfortunate organisations. The resulting collateral damage to customer relationships and business efficacy was always immense. I was determined to avoid this at all costs.
Real business processes are rich in interactions and communication patterns. Often, these are incompletely addressed in the use case scenarios of the software system model. Why? It seems that the software house didn’t fully understand the problem domain – the customer’s business – and so their system’s requirements engineering was naturally deficient. In these cases, users are forced to adapt to system shortfalls. And, to get things done, some have to escape from the system onto paper and supplementary spreadsheets. The tail wags the dog! For me, this was totally unacceptable. Yes, I was seeking a system to automate my businesses processes and reduce variation, but it had to model the realities of my business in a comprehensive and seamless way.”
God is in the details
“I’m a great admirer of the architect Mies van der Rohe. His dictums ‘God is in the details’ and ‘less is more’ have guided me in business. So, in choosing an enterprise software system, I knew I had to scrutinise each potential contender in detail. I needed to take the lid off each box and see what was really in there. I had to judge whether the use case modelling inside would align well with my needs – present, proximate and future. And, I wanted to be able to deploy just as much functionality as my team currently needed. I had learnt that too much causes confusion and impedes efficiency. On the other hand, my system had to be future-proof. It had to be adaptable and scalable as my business evolved – including having an interface to financial and management accounting packages. It goes without saying that ease-of-use was a universal prerequisite for any contender.
My industry is founded on good relationships. My software choice was not just about the system itself but the people behind it. The Carfax promises of honesty, integrity, capability and dependability are not marketing platitudes but the foundations on which my business stands. It was essential that I saw these qualities reciprocated in my chosen enterprise software supplier. So, after intense reflection and due diligence, I concluded that the Carfax system would be built on Agiblocks provided by your excellent team at Agiboo.”
We asked him how the implementation had gone and how he now experiences the benefits.
“The support we’ve received from Vanessa has been great. It allowed us to implement the system – loading data and configuring parameters – without distracting my team too much from their day jobs. Implementation has gone very smoothly.
We import commodities and sell them piecemeal out of our warehousing. It’s quite a challenge to manage diverse contacts across a range of geographies. Agiblocks now allows execution of multiple contracts out of diverse locations in an easier, more organized and efficient way.
The benefits to our operations have been immediate – with much more to come. We have a much better view of the landscape and greater clarity of detail, and the business has become more cohesive. Data reconciliation has become quick and accurate and it’s straightforward to extract reports.
Customers buy into and gain from our management expertise and on-the-ground know-how of all aspects of the supply chain. Thanks to Agiblocks we can provide them with even better service. That’s what it’s all about.”
What is your vision of the future? How do you see things going forward?
“There is always a disparity between ‘what I have’ and ‘what I want’. Stasis is just not my thing.
I’ve already asked you for additional system features and tweaks beyond immediate necessities. Some software companies might jump to dismiss such requests as ‘nice to haves’, or in your industry’s parlance ‘gold-plating’, but I know you listen with discernment and they will be forthcoming in future releases.
The most exciting system enhancement I dream about is functionality that allows customers to interrogate the system themselves. I would like to give them the ability to track status changes – a common feature in B2C CRM systems. And I would like them to be able to check their position with queries such as: ‘How much of the contract is still open? When is it shipping? Where is it now?’
And then there’s the interfacing to other systems. I suppose the next big step for me is to have financial and management accounting packages integrated with Agiblocks. You have given me an option for that which I’m currently considering.
We have much to achieve together!”
Find out for yourself
Agiblocks is the first CTRM software solution that simplifies the daily practices of commodity trade professionals. It has been developed with the single goal of making your fixed routine of commodity trading and risk management more efficient. Its clean user interface is simple with fast access to key functions. For every task, from creating a contract to evaluating your risk, all required information is readily available. It is as powerful on smartphones and tablet computers as it is on the desktop, so it’s accessible anytime, anywhere. Experience our CTRM software solution for free and get a front-row seat to all the benefits Agiblocks has to offer with our free demo. The full range of Agiblocks functionality is available within the demo environment for your browsing leisure. Familiarize yourself with the tools and features of our powerful and agile software solution and find out how you can make the daily practices of commodity trade and risk management more efficient.
This Case Study is also available as a PDF. You can download it below.
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