This article originally appeared on Inside Retail NZ

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The last decade has seen a veritable feast of boutique New Zealand health food brands experience phenomenal growth, both in New Zealand and on the world stage.

Their rapid adoption by major retailers has forced many to mature quickly as brands and also take on new technology to ensure their operational systems can cope with increasing demand.

Alongside many of them has been Kiwi tech-integration company, Crossfire, which connects suppliers, retailers and logistics companies' operating systems together to ensure things run smoothly, right across the supply chain.

It’s helped some of New Zealand’s leading food suppliers evolve from small, largely paper-based, manual operations to highly efficient, market-leading export businesses. The secret ingredient; its managed integration service which creates a seamless flow between parties and removes the need for any in-house knowledge or software.

While it services clients from a wide range of industries, Crossfire’s food manufacturing client list reads like a ‘who’s who’ of the country’s hippest, most adored, food brands. This includes Oob Organics, Honest Brew Beer, Raglan Coconut Yogurt, Karma Drinks and Little Island Coconut Creamery to name just a few.

The company also has an impressive line-up of large retail and logistics clients including Mainfreight, Lion and Foodstuffs whilst also integrating to a range of large retailers such as Fonterra, The Warehouse and Mitre 10 through to juggernauts like Amazon, Target, Walmart, Nordstrom, Bed Bath and Beyond and Costco.

“Integration using the likes of Electronic Data Exchange (EDI) is not new – it’s been around for a number of years,” says Head of Crossfire, Henry Payne.

“What is new is the increasing expectation from large retailers and the wider supply chain that suppliers now operate digitally. This not only gets rid of paper-based processes, but also shares vital data seamlessly between all key parties to ensure things run more efficiently.”

Payne says managed integration with EDI helps businesses achieve that by automating their systems end-to-end and providing visibility across the entire supply chain of partners – from ordering and invoicing to logistics and deliveries.

“It provides real-time data flow between all supply chain parties’ systems which maximises efficiency and ensures the whole process runs smoothly.”

Payne says EDI integration has become a must-have for many Kiwi businesses that trade both in New Zealand and overseas.

One such supplier is Omaha-based Oob, a leading provider of organic certified fruit, vegetables and ice cream.

“We supply most of the major supermarket chains in NZ and Australia through multiple third party distribution companies,” says Oob CFO, Howard George.

“It’s absolutely critical for our business to seamlessly integrate with our customers and warehouse systems to ensure we deliver in full and on time. The team at Crossfire have made all that possible and it is now an integral part of our business operations.”

Adam Turner, Supply Chain and Distribution Manager of Karma Drinks agrees.

“Our company supplies hundreds of retailers throughout New Zealand and raises thousands of orders. The time and errors that have been saved with Crossfire’s EDI integration are countless.”

Karma Drinks range.

Payne says Crossfire prides itself on not just being an out of the box solution because every client’s business is unique.

“You can’t just plug someone in, send them off and away they go! There’s lots of little traps and pitfalls that clients can fall into and that’s where our experience comes into play.

We provide a tailored solution for each business and then back that up with good support afterwards.”

To find out more about how Crossfire helps Kiwi businesses streamline operations through integration, check out the Crossfire website.

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Crossfire delivers a fully-managed integration service, connecting you to business partners, removing manual processes and improving visibility across systems.