Follow up on Waste Management grace period to end in June 2019 and Azure Pure Water benefitting from Xero’s efficient and real-time accounting software

Follow up on Waste Management grace period to end in June 2019


As per the Ministry of Tourism Trade Industry and Ni Vanuatu Business request, VCCI has submitted a list of local businesses with their current stock of unused plastic bags, polystyrene take away boxes and plastic straws in the country. Under the Waste Management Act and Regulations, the total amount of unused plastic in local businesses stocks is more than 4 million pieces of unused plastic bags, polystyrene take away boxes and plastic straws.

The Vanuatu Chamber of Commerce and Industry asks that the Government authorise a grace period from 1 July 2018 to 30 June 2019 to allow the domestic stock of plastic bags ordered before 1 February 2018 to be used up. If the Government cannot amend the 1 July 2018 date, then would the Government provide a reimbursement on the import duty and taxes paid for the stock ordered before 1 February 2018 and provide the conditions on how the retailers and wholesalers can destroy unused stocks?

The Government can consider declaring a stop to any imports of plastic bags, boxes and straws as per Waste Management Act and Regulations from 1 July 2018.

VCCI has requested that the Ministry of Climate Change and Environment Department consider our urgent request and approve the amendment of the Waste Management Act and Regulations accordingly.


Azure Pure Water benefitting from Xero’s efficient and real-time accounting software



Azure Pure Water Accountant working with Xero


Azure Pure Water drivers are now using Xero on iPads and mobile phones, for deliveries, no more docket books.


BLP Interviews Yael Sakker, Sales and Marketing and co- Director of Azure Pure Water

On Wednesday 27 June we celebrated International Micro, Small and Medium-sized Enterprises Day. Those businesses, which generally employ fewer than 250 people, are the backbone of most economies worldwide and play a key role in developing countries. Businesses in the Pacific tend to underutilize business advisory services which can help them grow and remain healthy and sustainable. Business Link Pacific with the accounting firms vSolutions, AJC and Barrett and Partners in Vanuatu is offering eligible SMEs a free 12-month subscription to Xero accounting software, a cloud-based accounting system that is changing the way small businesses’ approach their accounting. Business Link Pacific caught up with Yael Sakker, Sales and Marketing and co- Director of Azure Pure Water in Vanuatu to learn how Xero has improved the efficiency of their SME.


BLP: Tell us a little bit about Azure Pure Water’s story and the challenges you are facing.  


Yael Sakker: Azure Pure Water is the manufacturer of Vanuatu Natural bottled water and is the largest bottled water company in Vanuatu. We are located in Port Vila, Vanuatu, but distribute worldwide upon demand.


Azure Pure Water has been operating in Vanuatu since 1995 and is now in our 23rd year of operation. In that time, the business has expanded and grown. We took over the business in December 2016 and we currently have about 35 to 40 full-time employees and just over fifty percent are women.


We have invested in significant growth, and in raising our standards to comply with international best practice around food and consumer safety. This has been a challenge for our business due to the cost of implementing international [food and consumer safety] auditing (which can cost AUD$15,000). This comes off the bottom line and in our current economy where cash flow is short and in a highly competitive water market, is a big cost for a small business to bear. Achieving international standards and competing in an international market is a real challenge.


BLP: Why did Azure Pure Water’s engage vSolutions’ business services and start using Xero? 


Yael Sakker: When we took over the business, a very outdated accounting software was in use and had never been updated. I struggled to use it. We approached vSolutions about trying Xero as we had heard good things about it and particularly because it could integrate with cloud-based point of sales and manufacturing stock tracking software. We were very interested in giving it a shot.


We were the first business that vSolutions rolled out Xero for and we haven’t looked back. It was a challenge for our accountant and she was hesitant at first, but she came to enjoy the intuitiveness of Xero and the ease of use. We have more than doubled our front office, sales and administrative team. All of them find it easy to use daily, and it certainly helps that it is so simple and intuitive.


BLP: Tell us about your use of Xero third-party apps?


Yael Sakker: We have integrated Xero with a cloud-based point of sale software called Vend and with Unleashed, a cloud-based manufacturing stock tracking software.


All three applications talk to each other. Vend handles the sales and receipts and feeds that to Xero.

Xero handles the accounting. Vend and Unleashed talk to each other about stock levels and Unleashed and Xero talk to each other too. These apps are Xero “plug-ins” and are custom designed to work in seamlessly with Xero.


BLP: What benefits is using Xero and third-party apps bringing to your business?


Yael Sakker: Xero gives us a lot more visibility over what is going on in the business. It’s easy for us to “stick our heads” in virtually and keep a “real time” eye on things. We have ability to access it on our mobile phones, and we are often on the run and doing business from the car. Wherever we are in the world, it makes it a lot easier for us to leave the business but keep an oversight of what is happening on the ground.


Xero has really helped with our efficiency. Personally, the biggest Xero benefit is the dashboard. I login daily and see all our accounts. It’s a nice overview. I really like it. I can see everything that is happening. I can see what payments have come in, the aged receivables, I can pull up a P&L really quickly. There’s none of this “having to dig around and find data”. Previously everything had been incredibly paper based and time consuming.


Xero and Vend have given us the capacity to log into the customers’ account and “click on” the invoice number, “click on” the mail icon and quickly send it. It makes it a lot easier for quoting and to set up standing invoices. The interface between Vend and Xero means data is easily transferred so we don’t have to enter data twice.


Vend can be used on iPads and mobile phones, so we said to our delivery drivers “no more docket books for you”, because it was very labour intensive for our admin team to scan and save. We gave our delivery drivers iPads and Bluetooth printers to use. At first, they were reluctant, but with some training now they love it (and we get some funny selfies!).


This has meant more efficient deliveries. Our sales team take the order, “park” the sale in a Vend waiting list, then the drivers see it on their iPads with the delivery address and they can make the sale. It’s essentially treated as a separate till that the drivers reconcile at the end of the day. So, there is no Chinese whispers with orders. It’s all in there in black and white.


Unleashed helps us to manage our stock in real time by integrating with Vend. We set up virtual warehouses in Unleashed so we could better manage stock, and set up automatic product assemblies.


BLP: What implementation challenges have you faced?


Yael Sakker: It was bit of a challenge to roll this new system out. We did it in three stages and it took us about four months. We are the first business in Vanuatu to be using all three systems together.


Thankfully, vSolutions customised Xero solutions for us based on what we wanted to see happen with our business logistics and operations. They helped us start with Xero and Vend, and then recommended Unleashed.


vSolutions have also provided staff training and ongoing support with working with these apps and for general accounting. Our staff are now feeling very confident and enjoy using Xero and Vend. Xero’s success for us has been what we have made of it, but the fact that it is so intuitive and simple to use unlike old accountant software means I enjoy using Xero and I feel competent to use it.


BLP: Any advice for other Vanuatu SMEs wanting to improve their efficiencies?


Yael Sakker: It’s worth investigating Xero for every business to see how it can improve efficiencies in their systems. Obviously, there are costs and time that need to be taken into consideration when implementing these solutions, but there are also opportunities to drive efficiencies in their business. I recommend seeking advice from experienced business advisory services about how Xero and complimentary programs can help to streamline businesses and improve operations. If you don’t know what options are available, how do you know what you can do?


BLP: How do you feel about the future of small business in Vanuatu?


Yael Sakker: SMEs are crucial not just for the economic development and revenue for the country but for local employment. Over the years, we have seen increasing urban drift into Port Vila and Luganville and SMEs are essential to help make sure that people arriving in urban areas have employment and an ability earn money. SMEs are also essential for gainful employment for those coming back from overseas and university graduates. We hope we will see support for SME growth and ongoing support for investment here in Vanuatu. The economy is challenging at the moment and diversification of the services and products SMEs are offering is important to continue to see the growth in Vanuatu, which is a very small market in comparison to our neighbours regionally.


Small and medium sized businesses in Vanuatu interested in accessing the Xero 12 months subscription promotion can contact Kesha Licht at VCCI at [email protected] or Phone 27543 Ext 19 or Mobile 555 5347 or contact direct vSolutions, AJC or Barrett and Partners.