Chris Anatra is the Founder & President of NECS, Inc., the developer of entrée software for foodservice distribution. Chris began coding software while he was still in the high school, and attained his first federal copyright on a program at the age of 15. He started NECS shortly after college in 1987 with the sole mission of producing quality software for foodservice distributors when he determined that the software market was severely lacking in specialized software to address the needs of wholesale food distributors, especially those dealing with meat, seafood, produce, cheese as well as full line distributors. The only software and hardware available at that time were needlessly complex, difficult to use, required expensive computer hardware costing into the six figures, and still did not meet all the needs of the foodservice distributor. Chris saw the opportunity to design a system based on the Microsoft and networking technologies available at that time. By adapting to this new technology early, it turned out to be a brilliant move that set NECS to become the leader in food distribution software. NECS was able to provide a comprehensive, easy-to-use software package, at an economical price.
After 25 years of creating innovations in food distribution software and the supply chain, NECS President, Chris Anatra was voted by his peers in 2016 in the March issue of Food Logistics Magazine, to be a “Rock Star of the Supply Chain.” Chris shared the recognition with his staff of creative and hardworking professionals who honestly care about customers’ success and go the extra mile without hesitation.
“I am honored to be recognized for my efforts and achievements to the food supply chain which started for me in 1987 and had been a passion ever since. Here at NECS we are all Rock Stars of the Food Supply Chain as we continue to produce innovative ERP software for food distribution, which drives our customers’ success and efficiency,” says Chris.
NECS, Inc.: Creating Innovations in Food Distribution and Supply Chain Software
NECS, offers the ERP software named entrée for food distribution. It’s a comprehensive Windows based application used by almost 1,500 foodservice distributors. Foodservice distributors who run their operations using entrée are more profitable and operate more efficiently on reduced staffs. This leaves NECS with enthusiastic user base, who readily recommend NECS software to other wholesale food distributors.
Software solutions offered by NECS include:
Electronic Order Pad: iOS and Android app for foodservice distributors DSRs (Distributor Sales Reps) to place orders, the prospect for new business, etc.
Electronic Warehouse Manager: Android app for barcode scanning in the warehouse including picking and receiving tasks.
entrée.PEN: Interface with the Anoto Digital Pen for the drivers to capture invoice documents, cash collections, etc.
entrée.NET: An Online system for food distributors clients to place orders, check on delivery, view a distributor’s catalog, review open invoices, generate reports, etc.
NECS is now working on several new products for release in 2017. This includes full GS1 (Global Standards) compatibility within the entrée ERP software so that distributors can have the food traceability features needed for the Government’s FSMA (Food Safety Modernization Act). For example, in produce, tracks the food from the field to the distributor to the store or restaurant, and knows that the product that arrives is fresh.
Interfacing with GS1 also provides access to hundreds of details about every item they purchase that in the past has been difficult to obtain. This includes official item images from the manufacturer, brand logo, allergens, nutritional info, ingredients, pallet configurations, case dimensions, weights, kosher, gluten-free, wheat, soy, shelf life, storage temperature, etc.
Applying Winning Tactics
Developing problem-solving skills and creative thinking are how Chris can overcome roadblocks and challenges. Perspective and seeing things from various sides of a problem is a good way to get all there is out of the experience. Every time a new technology is introduced, Chris and his team evaluate it for any possible use by foodservice distributors to reduce costs and increase profitability. Chris has always realized that the success of his company is entirely dependent on the success of his customers. Not only has that but having a happy and enthusiastic user base who readily recommends NECS to their peers been a key area for driving growth.
Maintaining Innovation Continuum
Every month, more and more food distributors are abandoning their older systems and converting to the entrée system by NECS. Many of these include accounts that NECS thought would be almost impossible to migrate to entrée. However, as NECS continues to innovate and create a better solution with high praise from existing customers, it becomes the logical choice for these customers to switch platforms to entrée.
The success mantra for NECS team is to never stop innovating and thinking about their customers. Always be open minded and look at old problems with out-of-box solutions and to be disruptive to the industry.
“We are looking for opportunities to acquire technology companies in the same space as our entrée ERP system. This doesn’t necessarily mean direct competitors, but companies that provide other valuable solutions to the food distribution industry with which we can integrate with entrée,” asserts Chris.