Zeke Alley, Caffe L'affare, Enprise customer

Iconic café Caffe L'affare so impressed its parent company Cerebos Greggs with the speed and accuracy of its financial reporting that Cerebos Greggs moved to standardise all of its subsidiaries on MYOB Exo.

Caffe L'affare's parent company Cerebos Greggs Ltd is part of the Cerebos Pacific group, which is headquartered in Singapore and listed on the Singapore stock exchange. The acquisition drove a need for heavy-duty financial reporting, with Caffe L'affare reporting profit and loss to Singapore within two weeks of each month's end.

Caffe L’affare was already running MYOB Exo when it was acquired, and had no difficulty delivering on its new reporting requirements. Cerebos Greggs was ‘blown away’ by how quickly Caffe L’affare could get financial information out of Exo, says Administration and Procurement Manager Zeke Alley.

“Cerebos Greggs uses a very large ERP package, and its CFO said generating similar reports would take him five days plus a trip to the IT department,” he says.

“It takes us only minutes to generate those reports with Exo. The CFO of Cerebos Greggs was so impressed with our reporting capabilities he decided that all Cerebos Greggs subsidiaries – which include companies such as Atomic Coffee and Toby’s Estate Coffee – would standardise on Exo.”

When Caffe L’affare went to market for a new ERP system it sent out a detailed questionnaire to ensure the products could do all it required. With EXO, Zeke Alley says, a great many of the questions came back with the answer ‘This is standard operating procedure for Exo’.

“One of the reasons we were interested in Exo is that it was developed for a real company,” he says.

“Tracking serial numbers for example is a problem we share with PC Direct, the company for which Exo was originally developed. Every time we buy or sell coffee machines we enter a serial number. It’s these serial numbers that let us track individual coffee machines, manage warranties and conduct stock takes. Humans transpose serial numbers, but a wrong serial number means the system tells you the machine is not here, even if it is sitting on the shelf in front of you. This is a real life problem. Exo has certain ‘tricks’ that let you correct the error – you can just tell that the system was designed for real people, to use in the real world where not everything is perfect.”

In the coffee trade it’s also common to lend customers equipment such as coffee machines. Caffe L’affare wanted to keep track of the machines, yet they are no longer in stock. Exo made it easy to create alternative stock locations, and create a way of dealing with loan machines that makes sense from an accounting perspective, says Zeke Alley.

“Our General Manager is an accountant and so is Enprise’s Peter Chung. It’s advantageous for us that they can talk ‘accountant to accountant’ to give us certainty that our reports will be accurate. Everyone has their own way of doing things – for example, when handling end of month stock you might run a report to get the new value of stock, then post it to general ledger. Peter can talk with our General Manager so that we understand any effect that may have on reporting. When we’ve had hardware issues such as a computer failure in the middle of a transaction, Peter Chung can say whether the figures are right because he has the rigour of an accounting background.”

Caffe L’affare has also won admirers because of the excellence of its Electronic Data Interface (EDI), which it uses to supply large supermarket chains such as Foodstuffs and Progressive.

To reduce costs, these chains encourage their suppliers to invoice electronically. Enprise partner ‘Very Impressive Software’ built the EDI. An e-invoicing routine takes a purchase order from the customer, loads it into Exo and processes it like a sales order. The resulting invoice is then sent to the customer electronically.

“The fast moving consumer goods market is fiercely competitive - we need fast and reliable reporting. Supermarkets are 60% of our sales, and timely replenishment of stock is crucial,” Zeke Alley says.

“The Electronic Data Interface (EDI) Manager at Foodstuffs said ours was one of the best EDIs he’d seen, and asked if he could refer other suppliers to us so they could replicate it. It’s impossible to punch in a wrong product code or amount, and all data is in SQL.”

He says he finds SQL queries ‘very powerful and very fast’.

“It’s easy to do basic data extraction from SQL for one-off reports. Exo is incredibly flexible, there’s really no limit to the customisations you can do. As the business has grown, Exo has grown with it and I feel that Exo will meet all of our requirements into the future.”


When Wellington’s Caffe L’affare was purchased by a Singapore-based company four years ago, its new reporting requirements included producing profit and loss reports within two weeks of each month’s end. It easily achieved this with MYOB Exo. The speed and accuracy of Caffe L’affare’s reporting so impressed the parent company that it moved to standardise all of its subsidiaries on Exo.

Caffe L’affare has also won admirers because of the excellence of its Electronic Data Interface (EDI), which it uses to supply large supermarket chains such as Foodstuffs and Progressive. The Electronic Data Interface Manager at Foodstuffs said it was one of the best EDIs he’d seen, and asked if he could refer other suppliers to Caffe L’affare so they could replicate it.

Business benefits

  • Stringent reporting requirements met in minutes
  • Simple fixes for exceptions and 'real world' problems
  • Fast, effective customisation includes world-class EDI
  • Powerful, fast SQL queries.

Key outcomes

Caffe L'affare has used MYOB Exo for ten years. During this time the company has experienced strong growth and also acquisition by a Singapore-based company.

Caffe L'affare has found it easy to customise MYOB EXO to fit its changing needs, which have included stringent offshore reporting demands and a sophisticated electronic data interface for supplying large supermarket chains. The customer describes MYOB EXO as 'incredibly flexible' and says it will continue to meet 'all of our requirements' into the future.

Download the Caffe L'affare case study (PDF 161KB)

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