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        References, Food Bank of the Rockies                                                                        


MAS 90 / MAS 200 Installation Profiles
MAS 500 Installation Profiles

CUSTOMER: Food Bank of the Rockies

Denver, Colorado

Type of Business
Non-profit organization that distributes food for needy to agencies in part of Colorado and all of Wyoming.

Number of Locations

Number of Employees:



Computer System
IBM Compatible

Operating System
Windows NT

Users on System

Mas 90 Modules in Operation

• Accounts Payable
• Accounts Receivable
• Crystal Report Writer
• Custom Office ™
• General Ledger
• Inventory Management
• Library Master
• Purchase Order Processing
• Report Master
• Sales Order Processing

Feeding the Hungry, with the Help of MAS 90

Getting food to people who are hungry is one of the tasks of 800 programs in churches, child welfare centers, soup kitchens, shelters and halfway houses throughout Colorado and Wyoming. Where do these agencies get the food? Mostly from Food Bank of the Rockies, a nonprofit organization that collects more than a million pounds of food every month, and distributes it to its member agencies.

The food is stored in a 32,000-square-foot warehouse in Denver. Every pound is accounted for — who donated it, who received it and when it was sent out. This food is donated by hundreds of sources, including manufacturers, retail stores and community food drives. In addition to Food Bank’s 41 full-time employees, the agency is supported by volunteers who assist with administrative, warehouse, special events and program functions. During 1998, volunteers contributed 58,752 hours to Food Bank, the equivalent of 29 employees.

Meat, milk and dairy foods, beverages, frozen and canned vegetables, cereals, soap and paper are the major staples provided by the food industry. “Companies donate for many reasons,” said Sharon Fiscus, director of administration services. “By giving us their surplus, mislabeled or older merchandise, they receive an income tax credit and have a way of giving back to the community. The donors are also comfortable contributing since we’ve carefully screened our member agencies to make sure they are genuinely serving the needy and are set up to store food adequately. The agencies serve an estimated 836,000 meals each month from this food. Everyone gains.”


Processing a million pounds of food every month is hardly logistical small potatoes. When Fiscus started with Food Bank eight years ago, employees were recording accounts in a manual ledger, and keeping track of inventory and agencies on outdated software that had been customized for food banks. Among other problems, there was no one around to service the old system. They had 16 employees at that time. Clearly they needed a new system.

“I was familiar with MAS 90 from a previous job, and we decided to convert to MAS 90 for UNIX in 1992,” Fiscus says. “The only customization required was keeping track of pounds of food instead of dollars. I’m not a fan of ‘fit-like-a-glove’ customization that isn’t suitable in a year.”

MAS 90 for UNIX worked well for Food Bank. It provided a trouble-free, user-friendly platform that required minimal staff training. However, the organization wanted a Windows-based environment, and therefore, decided it was a good time to move to the latest version of the software.


Food Bank upgraded to MAS 90 Client/ Server for Windows, keeping the same modules, and adding Crystal Reports ™ and Custom Office software. The use of Custom Office allowed us to substantially extend the core functions of MAS 90 Client/Server. “Best Software has always given us excellent support, which is one of the reasons we remained with MAS 90,” comments Fiscus. “The Windows environment also gives us additional capabilities, such as data export and import.”

The upgrade has allowed the organization to start a database of demographic information that is requested by donors and the government, such as number of people serviced, areas, zip codes, marital status and ethnicity. Demographic data is added to information pulled into Microsoft Access from MAS 90’s Accounts Receivable module. Fiscus is pleased with the new software. “MAS 90 for Windows is great,” she says. “It’s very fast so we can now select employees for their customer service skills, rather than how quick they are on the keyboard.” She is also impressed by the Custom Office module, which allows anyone to change screens and fields without going into the source code.

Unlike for-profit corporations, Food Bank doesn’t place orders — it takes whatever is offered. Donations are entered as purchase orders, and MAS 90 issues a receipt to the donor stating the number of pounds given. The amount is then added to inventory.

Everything at Food Bank rotates around the number of pounds of food sent out. This is tracked in the same way dollars are monitored in a corporation. Report Master reaches into Accounts Receivable, Sales Order, Inventory and Purchase Order to get data on the pounds distributed to each agency. The data is keyed to an inventory number. For example, MAS 90 can provide a report on who donated a particular case of stewed tomatoes, which agency took delivery, and when it was received.

The Sales Order module issues two shopping lists every day, detailing the food available. People from member agencies come into the warehouse, look over the list and select products that fit their pantry. MAS 90 creates a picking sheet from their selections, and volunteers pull the orders. Then, agency drivers pull trucks up to the huge warehouse doors and load up the food.

Member agencies are charged a nominal handling fee of $.14 per pound, which covers half of Food Bank’s operating expenses. The balance is raised through foundation, corporation and individual gifts. Fees are recorded as cash receipts in Accounts Receivable, which keeps track of the product received and how much has been paid. Some agencies pay each day, others write a monthly check.

“Our new system is wonderful,” raves Fiscus. “It’s fast, very user-friendly and simple to customize to our needs. Because of MAS 90 for Windows, Food Bank of the Rockies is able to do its job much more easily — providing food to thousands of hungry people.”





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