Caitlin Sykes

Caitlin Sykes is the NZ Herald's Your Business editor

Small business: Embracing the cloud - Blake Cropp

Blake Cropp, founder of Dynamic Supply Co.
Blake Cropp, founder of Dynamic Supply Co.

Can you tell me about your business?

My business is called Dynamic Supply Co. We specialise in supplying food, beverage and hospitality products to the wholesale food-service sector in the Pacific Islands. We work with selected brand partners here in New Zealand and market their products to our client base. Our business model is based on supplying quality New Zealand products directly to the end user, such as resorts and restaurants.

I have been involved in the freight and logistics industry for some time, and also have a background in sales. I handle all facets of my business myself, from business development through to overseeing all company accounting functions.

What are some of the different cloud-based technologies you use in your business?

I use Magento for my online store platform in conjunction with Unleashed and Xero. Unleashed is an excellent cloud-based inventory software that integrates with my online store.

Information passes through my website into Unleashed and then finally through to Xero, which I use to handle all of my accounting. Unleashed plays a pivotal role in the ordering and receiving of freight and has many features that enable me to keep on top of all of my freight movements at any time.

What impact have these technologies had on your business?

Cloud-based technology has had a profound influence on my business structure and functions, allowing me to increase productivity significantly and spend more time developing products and services specific to my clients' needs. The software enables me to keep overheads to a minimum and has freed up my time considerably to develop Dynamic.

I travel frequently and it is very important for me to be able to manage my company while overseas. This technology allows me to visit clients on site, yet still be connected and on top of all the day-to-day functions of my business.

What have been some of the challenges associated with embracing these technologies?

There haven't been too many bumps in the road. I spent a lot of time researching software options and trying to locate industry-specific software providers. Due to the flexibility and feature-rich options within Unleashed and Xero, I was able to make the call to partner up with New Zealand-based providers.

Both software options are monthly subscription-based, allowing me to have premium software programs at a very reasonable cost. The great thing is there is no set up cost with servers and no ongoing IT costs, as all updates are carried out online by the provider.

Also, internet connectivity has vastly improved throughout the Pacific in the past five years allowing businesses to utilise this technology. This also has resulted in buyers becoming more informed with sourcing products offshore, so maintaining a point of difference and staying ahead of competitors is paramount.

Switching to all new software programs has taken some time to adjust to. Both Unleashed and Xero have gone above and beyond to support me, which has been great. There are lots of resources available online from both providers for training and ongoing support.

What advice would you have for other small business owners in terms of embracing the cloud?

The most important thing is to find the correct software for your business application. Most cloud-based systems offer a trial, which should definitely be utilised to make sure it is a viable option for your needs.

Talk to the provider and explain your business functions to ensure the software is right for you and check to see what systems the software can be integrated with. This could streamline a number of business functions increasing productivity and your bottom line.

- NZ Herald

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