After going public, Italy’s premier supplier and distributor of fresh food decided that September 2016 was the perfect moment to renew its ERP.
Alexander Drost, CFO Bieze Food Group
Due to market blurring, shorter product life cycles and changing consumer behaviour, agility is a top priority for food companies. That is an extra challenge if you, like Bieze Food Group, consist of twelve different companies. In order to respond more quickly to the market, the company - with a turnover of 380 million euros - switched to the Microsoft Dynamics platform.
In the mid-1950s, "maneuverability" was not yet very complicated. At least, not if your name was Frank Eduard Bieze and you wanted to sell luxury biscuits, tea, nuts and mustard. In those days you just bought a caravan, loaded it up with your products and traveled around the country to supply delis with your treats.
The success of the company on wheels soon put an end to that admirable simplicity. Because the sole proprietorship of yesteryear, F.E. In the decades that followed, Bieze Import grew into a leading player in the international food sector through acquisitions. Twelve different companies in four divisions now operate under the name Bieze Food Group. Since 1986, Bieze has been operating under the flag of the German Wernsing Food Family.
Due to their independent history before the acquisitions, each company within the group cherishes its own specialty and identity. Diversity is the strength of Bieze Food Group, but it also poses challenges in terms of that once so self-evident maneuverability. After all, the food sector is subject to major changes: the emergence of e-commerce, working directly with the end consumer, shorter product life cycles and the increasing importance of sustainability require an organization that can respond quickly.
“We wanted to move towards a centralized, shared platform that offers space for local nuances”
– Alexander Drost, CFO at Bieze Food Group
“Demand is changing rapidly, ”confirms CFO Alexander Drost. “The volumes in which we have to deliver are getting smaller. Packaging must be firmer and less polluting. Local flavors are changing as a result of blurring borders and globalization. The demand for chain-wide transparency and origin information is also increasing.”
The fragmented IT environment of Bieze Food Group, in which each company worked with its own Exact system, made it increasingly challenging to meet this changing demand. Bieze called on Cegeka for the transition to Dynamics 365. “We wanted to move towards a centralized, shared platform that allows for local nuances,” explains Drost. “The technology had to offer the possibility to respond quickly to developments in the Benelux and France. IT no longer had to be a cost item, but a strategic tool for growth. We therefore consciously chose the Microsoft platform, on which ERP, CRM and data come together.”
Thanks to Dynamics 365, Bieze Food Group can work more than ever with intelligent solutions for forecasting and for controlling waste flows and transport movements. This helps the company realize its sustainability goals towards zero waste and less transport. Thanks to the possibilities for data sharing and chain integration, information can be shared more quickly with employees, suppliers, consumers and other partners.
“Data quality is very important internally,” says Alexander Drost. “If our cost price calculation and quality standards are optimized, we can distil best practices from them. This enables us to organize our processes more efficiently and to switch more quickly. Dynamics 365 offers countless possibilities for this and is very flexible. This is ideal for us, because we can adapt the processes per company to the local context.”
“Dynamics 365 offers countless possibilities and is very flexible. This is ideal for us, because we can adapt the processes per company to the local context.”
– Alexander Drost, CFO at Bieze Food Group
The collaboration and implementation were given an extra boost by the chosen working method, whereby Bieze remained the owner of the project. The stakeholders and the tasks are clearly stated in advance. During the process, project leaders from Bieze and Cegeka worked closely together. Progress was made through a combination of scrum methodology and "traditional" consultation. In the meantime, employees were kept informed of the progress via newsletters.
Since the platform was taken into use, Bieze has been working on automating the administration, so that resources can be shifted to data analysis. But that's just the beginning. The basis is in order, the data is correct and the processes are running smoothly. Now there is plenty of room for innovation. The food market is changing every day, it doesn't stop. The difference with the past is that Bieze Food Group now has a platform that can respond to these changes and even benefit from them.
Curious about what Dynamics 365 can do for your company? Let us know and we are happy to think along with you.
" Bieze Food Group can now benefit from the changing market."