Technological Innovation Bears Fruit for SunMoon Food

Monday, January 15th, 2018

SunMoon’s use of NetSuite OneWorld for financials, inventory and order management as well as financial consolidation across subsidiaries in China, Indonesia, and the U.S., has helped it thrive after being on the brink of bankruptcy in 2007. 

The SunMoon Food Company was on the brink of bankruptcy in 2007 when Gary Loh, a veteran of the financial services industry, took charge of the Singapore-based company. Over the next decade, Loh directed a sweeping restructuring and applied technological innovations that have transformed SunMoon into a fast-growing provider of fresh produce, from apples, pears, tangerines and cherries to ready-to-eat sweet corn.

With an “asset-light, customer-centric” approach, Loh shifted the business strategy from company-owned plantations to sourcing produce from more than 200 carefully selected growers that meet SunMoon’s standards for freshness, quality, safety and traceability. By selling off the plantations, Loh cut the workforce from about 500 to 50. At the same time, SunMoon aggressively expanded its distribution model, which today encompasses 11,000 points of sale to 169 customers in 20 countries, from the nations of Southeast Asia to Australia, New Zealand, Japan, South Korea and the U.S.

SunMoon’s dramatic turnaround triggered a recent investment by Shanghai Yiguo E-Commerce Ltd., a food service commerce company backed by Chinese ecommerce giant Alibaba. Additional investments by Goldman Sachs and KKR into Yiguo have SunMoon poised for further growth, in part by tapping Yiguo’s logistics and food service network.

“When I came in 2007, I needed to streamline the entire operation,” said Loh, the SunMoon CEO and Deputy Chairman. “We needed to be able to move a lot of items from farm to fork, which means a lot of logistics on the back end and coordination with suppliers.”

Sowing Seeds for Success

A central element of that strategy is SunMoon’s use of NetSuite OneWorld for financials, inventory and order management as well as financial consolidation across subsidiaries in China, Indonesia, and the U.S., and multi-currency transactions in 11 different currencies. Before rolling out OneWorld in April 2017, SunMoon relied mostly on manual emails to communicate with suppliers and customers for order management, invoicing and billing. The move to OneWorld has greatly improved efficiency, enabling SunMoon to save 150 hours and an estimated SGD $20,000 in just five months.

Today, SunMoon suppliers enter expiry dates, packaging sizes and other details into NetSuite’s cloud-based system. That makes it easy for SunMoon to create quotes and invoices for customers, and to automate purchase orders and payments with suppliers.

"With NetSuite OneWorld, we've been able to move our products seamlessly from farm to fork on a global scale much faster and more efficiently,” Loh said. “Using NetSuite OneWorld's integrated capabilities helps us transform SunMoon into an asset-light and customer-centric enterprise."

With multi-currency and multi-lingual support, the global solution also gives SunMoon agility for continued global growth. And NetSuite’s inherent flexibility aligns well with SunMoon’s plans to utilise technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI), Blockchain, Bitcoin and fintech in the future.

“NetSuite addresses a lot of the issues we faced in a single bundle, with scalability to expand our geographic reach,” Loh said. “We can smoothly manage exponential growth in sales with real-time data all in one place.”