Canteen ladies go digital

Developed by local software solutions provider Good Business Technology (GBT), the kidzbiz site allows canteen managers to order goods online and keep track of orders and invoices for accounting purposes.

"It's more than a shopping cart," said Nick Barlow, GBT director.

Designed to help canteen managers easily manage the new tax laws introduced with the GST, kidzbiz provides online ordering, invoicing, and accounting information in addition to detailed product information and availability.

Users log into the system and order goods directly from distributors. Ordering patterns are tracked by GBT's software to produce invoices, monthly statements and accounting information required by the canteen managers, Barlow said. Alternatively, the system is integrated with a school's accounting system for automatic updating.

According to Barlow, since going live around a month ago, several schools have already adopted the system which is being promoted by the NSW School Canteen Association. Around six distributors have joined the exchange, with another 20 lined up, he added.

Schools and canteen managers are encouraged to register with the service which makes ordering and distributors accessible by canteen operators 24 hours a day and provides information on products to increase healthy food awareness.

A TAFE training course in the system and how to use the internet is also available for canteen managers who have had little experience in using computers, Barlow said.

Integrated online ordering, invoicing and accounting systems are a fairly new area of development for the internet, Barlow suggests. "I believe it will be a very large market . . . I wouldn't be surprised if in two or three years time [invoicing and ordering] will go through these integrated systems.

"They are the fax machines of the future," he said, adding that the benefit of online systems is the additional information and level of integration and automation.

GBT is already planning to expand the system beyond just school canteens and the food servicing industry, with the launch of a complementary website called Orderplus, Barlow said.

The site will provide an opportunity for non-canteen customers to participate in online ordering using an automated GST-compliant accounting solution. "The system is not necessarily restricted to the food service industry. We can't see any reason why any company that does invoicing can't use it," he said.

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