Batchelors full of beans with new ERP system

10 Sep 2004

Food supplier Batchelors has rolled out a new enterprise resource planning (ERP) system to gain greater control and transparency in its manufacturing and distribution operations.

The six-figure contract for the project was awarded to Dublin-based Clarion Consulting, which will deploy the ERP software from IFS. The deal also covers the provision of professional services such as project management and skills transfer.

Batchelors supplies the Irish retail and food service industries with range of products under its own brands — Batchelors, Sqeez, Lustre and Amigo — as well as through agency agreements with names such as Fox’s Biscuits, Old El Paso, Green Giant, Lavazza and Douwe Egberts. The company employs 275 people at operations in Dublin and Kildare and it also has a presence in Northern Ireland through its Fruit Juices branch. Earlier this year Batchelors was acquired by a consortium including Barry’s Tea and Bank of Scotland (Ireland) from Northern Foods.

It is anticipated that with the new software, Batchelors will benefit from improved control of its transactions and transparency in its order processes. The new system is also intended to support the company’s business growth plans.

New EU legislation for the food and drinks sector is due to come into force on 1 January next year. In light of this, many companies in this market are currently upgrading their manufacturing systems to comply with these regulations, which will compel all food and beverage manufacturers to identify the source of any ingredients used in the manufacturing process.

Aidan O’Byrne, financial director with Batchelors commented: “The food processing business demands controlled and accurate logistical operations. In choosing an ERP system, we required a future-proofed yet cost-effective solution capable of supporting a manufacturing and distribution environment with an annual output of 75 million tins of produce.”

Batchelors chose an off-the-shelf system that did not require any customisation and it had many transaction-related features, O’Byrne added. It also has a real-time financial reporting function that will help the food company to increase the accuracy of its forecasting and replenishment processes.

The IFS solution addresses industry-specific issues such as supply and demand planning, hazard analysis and critical control point as well as full component traceability. The new ERP software is designed to integrate with Batchelors’ existing electronicdata interchange system, which allows orders, despatch notes and invoices to be sent digitally to and from suppliers and customers, for greater management of Batchelors’ supply chain and improving customer service.

According to Clarion Consulting, IFS Applications is based on individual component delivery, so that companies can implement software modules incrementally, depending on their operational needs or budgetary limitations. This approach also reduces the time needed to implement software. Batchelors has taken delivery of components from IFS Financials, IFS Manufacturing and IFS Distribution and this gives the company the option of rolling out further modules such as IFS e-Business or IFS Maintenance in the future.

By Gordon Smith