One of the largest manufacturers of canned foods in the Netherlands,Baltussen Konservenfabriek BV, retains its lead because it innovates. "An innovatory company should have an innovative ERP solution," says Ruben Bringsken, General Manager. "The fact is, our previous IT system was implemented just before the Millennium and was DOS orientated." Bringsken came in contact with Schouw Informatisering for the integrated solution Microsoft Dynamics® NAV and SI Foodware®, specifically for companies in the food sector.
Bringsken: "Now that we have implemented this innovative solution, we can work more efficiently and remain one of the largest manufacturers of canned products in the Netherlands".
Canned vegetables and canned organic vegetables
Every year millions of jars of vegetables and apple sauce leave the oldest canning factory in the Netherlands on their way to consumers. The company, with its fourty employees, concentrates on regular canned vegetables as well as organic canned vegetables. Baltussen is the only Dutch canning factory that processes 100% organic vegetables into canned products and in this segment it has a nearly 100% market share in the retail sector. As such, Baltussen has created an enormous niche market, because demand for organic products is increasing all the time. The third product pillar that is currently being developed involves products with greater added-value, such as processing fresh garlic and herbs. A large proportion of the products are exported to neighbouring countries and to Dutch expatriate communities in countries such as Australia.
User-friendliness and integration
An innovatory company should have an innovative ERP solution. "The key selection criteria for the new IT system were user-friendliness and integration," explains Bringsken, "We recognised this in Dynamics NAV, which, besides these advantages, is also very flexible to implement". In Schouw Informatisering, Baltussen found an implementation partner with a great deal of knowledge and experience in the food & beverage sector. Schouw has its own add-on SI Foodware which has been developed and is maintained specifically for the food & beverage sector. Because Schouw has a focus on food and beverages its consultants understand the client's business processes and information flows. "This, combined with the satisfied clients Schouw already has, some of whom we know well, gave us the confidence to start working together with Schouw".
For Baltussen it's very important to supply quality products. "Of course, we are very proud of our BRC A status". The SI Foodware quality module means that Baltussen can include quality control in the company-wide IT system. Product inspections and quality controls can be registered, the products can be traced and we can manage all the administration surrounding inspections in the system as well. Furthermore, we can generate reports from all these quality control data. "In the area of quality we now save a great deal of time and the data is accurate".
"The great advantage of Dynamics NAV and SI Foodware is that as a user you don't see the difference," according to Bringsken. This integrated solution has the same look and feel as the well-known Microsoft products, so our employees learned to work with the solution quickly. "Now, a year after going live, our people are getting even more enthusiastic, because they are exploring the system and discovering more and more." By now the Baltussen staff are used to the new system so there is more time for real information instead of just entering data. The information we require can now be pulled directly from Dynamics NAV, so we can make better decisions in a shorter space of time. "As our people work with Dynamics NAV, their quality can be raised to a higher level, enabling us to now implement process improvements."
"We have also learned a great deal from the implementation process," explains Bringsken. "If I were to do it again, I would certainly take more time in advance to consider what I want and how I want to achieve it." The way of thinking is important and once you set out, you have to stick to the same path: do we adapt the company to the system or the system to the company? Once you've made this choice, it is advisable to continue as you started. If you switch paths, you will lose the overview and the project costs will only increase. Bringsken continues: "In addition I can advise on how important it is to select a partner you trust. The consultant must know the ERP solution thoroughly and understand the business processes."
Concentration of vegetable processing companies
Baltussen expects that the concentration among the vegetable processing companies will only increase in the years to come and that just a few will remain. "So it's important for us to remain one of the larger players in our sector." Naturally innovation and efficiency are important, and that can partly be realised through IT. "I'm very satisfied with the first phase of the implementation," explains Bringsken. "But, in order to achieve even greater efficiency we're going to make even more improvements." Currently, together with Schouw, we are looking at how we can further improve the availability of management information. Furthermore, Baltussen wants to implement scanning in the warehouses. Bringsken explains: "Come what may, one of the survivors in the vegetable processing industry will be Baltussen, we are ready for the future!"