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Today, the food industry faces food supply uncertainties, new customer demands, and ongoing government regulations. In light of these challenges, manufacturers require industry-specific business systems that can quickly adapt to significant changes.

That's precisely what Infor CloudSuite offers.

"Food and beverage producers need business systems and IT solutions that can handle rapid changes or disruptions in the value chain, as we've witnessed in recent years," says Per Christian Øen, Business Solution Director at Columbus. "This also includes growing transparency demands from regulators and changing consumer trends.

These rapid changes require robust enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems. Traditional, on-premises, solutions are no longer effective for managing today's complex food and beverage industry, explains Per Christian Øen.

He emphasizes the need for industry-specific solutions that continuously update in the cloud to keep ahead of the demands of all stakeholders.

Major trends in the food and beverage industry

food tasty

  • Better food safety and animal well-being: In recent years, there have been numerous scandals related to bacteria, viruses, and inadequate animal treatment. These issues mean that producers need to ensure control over the entire process, including their suppliers. This entails maintaining transparency in aspects such as the source and ingredients of animal feed, having a deep understanding of animal welfare, and ensuring control over all quality standards right up to the finished product in stores.
  • Disruptions in the value chain: It's evident that having a strong value chain is crucial. While it's challenging to shield against certain events entirely, creating backup plans with alternative suppliers is vital. This helps distribute risks, whether tied to pandemics, animal welfare, or changes in demand that might disrupt the value chain.
  • New regulations: Business systems are significantly influenced by new regulations and legal requirements, which means that they should be continually updated to comply with them.
  • Consumer Influence at the market changes: Consumer preferences for food and drinks are evolving more rapidly than before. This involves changes in taste, a greater emphasis on health, convenience, and eco-friendly production. Producers require an ERP platform that enables them to adapt their production lines and products swiftly, access external data, anticipate trends, and enhance product development efficiently.

Listen to our podcast if you would like to learn more about the transformation of the food & beverage industry. We share a wealth of actionable business tips.

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Four key reasons to choose Infor CloudSuite and Columbus

There are four competitive advantages that Infor CloudSuite offers today:

  1. An industry-specific solution with enhanced functionality for multiple industries, including food and beverage.
  2. A quick implementation process due to integrated industry functionality and APIs for major third-party solutions.
  3. A multi-tenant cloud solution that includes continuous updates and a significantly lower total cost of ownership compared to many competitors.
  4. Columbus specializes in focused industries, and the food industry is one of them.

The explanation below will show how these four points are closely linked and rely on each other. This indicates that Infor CloudSuite is a solution that all food companies should consider when switching to a new cloud-based ERP system.

Dedicated industry solution for food

Infor has identified various industries where they provide market-leading business systems. Within these selected industries, Infor has developed solutions tailored to micro-verticals.

"For example, in food production, there are micro-verticals for meat, dairy, and bakery, among others," says Per Christian Øen.

Infor annually invests in research and development for their ERP system, tailoring it to the specific needs of micro-verticals. As a result, Infor's industry solutions offer extensive functionality customized for each vertical. In contrast, many competitors rely on partner networks to handle this task.

Let's take the dairy industry as an example. It has distinct requirements, such as the shelf life for fresh products or the aging period for specific cheese varieties. Infor recognizes these needs, so this functionality is integrated into the solution from the outset, turning it into a configuration task rather than a solution development process during implementation.

Furthermore, these feature-rich industry functionalities significantly reduce the implementation time of the ERP system compared to most competitors.

Infor has developed a 60-30-10 methodology, where 60% of the solution is delivered 'out-of-the-box,' 30% involves configurations tailored to the industry and micro-vertical, and the remaining 10% of the ERP implementation is dedicated to development and integrations specific to each business.

"One part of the secret behind Infor's cloud platform is Infor OS. It facilitates development and customization with minimal coding requirements," says Per Christian Øen at Columbus.

Infor's cloud platform also offers the flexibility to easily incorporate various solutions and add-ons, such as integration with apps and mobile devices. The system is also designed to leverage advanced analytics, predictive maintenance, and make predictions about market developments and demand in selected market segments.

Lower total cost of ownership

In recent years, businesses, regardless of their industry, have increasingly focused on avoiding long, resource-intensive, and often risky IT projects and implementations. It's essential to start quickly and begin reaping the benefits of the chosen systems.

The trend of moving ERP systems to the cloud has continued and strengthened. However, there are significant differences among various ERP systems in terms of how far they have progressed in becoming a genuine, full-fledged, multi-tenant cloud platform.

Multi-tenant means that a single software solution and its surrounding infrastructure serve multiple customers. This means that customers share the software and database, but each customer's data is isolated and invisible to other customers using the same software and database. The significant advantage is that integration with other systems is more straightforward, and the total cost of ownership is lower compared to competitors.

food and beverage

"Infor CloudSuite is somewhat of a hidden gem. Right now, Infor is several years ahead of competitors when it comes to multi-tenant cloud solutions. On the path to developing a true cloud platform, Infor has focused on developing integration interfaces and APIs with the best and most widely used IT solutions in the food industry," says Per Christian Øen at Columbus.

He emphasizes that the ready-made APIs also contribute to making implementation easier and faster: "Integration with solutions from other vendors is often a significant and challenging task in many ERP projects, but with Infor CloudSuite, most integrations are simplified with the pre-built APIs."

As is well-known, a cloud-based ERP solution offers numerous advantages over traditional on-premise ERP systems. The system is continuously updated, eliminating the need for large and costly upgrade projects. Infor CloudSuite receives monthly updates, covering everything from solution optimization to the development of new functionality to support best practices in the industry and address emerging market trends.

Successful ERP project with Norsk Kylling

In the factory at Støren, owned by Rema, Norsk Kylling aims to create the world's best food value chain. The business includes 133 farmers who form the foundation of the business as producers of eggs, hatching hens, and broiler chickens. In a year, Norsk Kylling delivers approximately 81 million meals under the “Solvinge” brand to Norwegian consumers.

"A chicken that is better treated tastes better. The best possible animal welfare and responsibility throughout the value chain are central to our strategy,"- says IT Manager Torfinn Utne at Norsk Kylling.

Norsk Kylling_1

Photo: Norsk Kylling.

When Norsk Kylling had to choose a new ERP solution, they emphasized a short implementation time, minimal customizations, and solid support for the industry's specific needs. That's why they chose Infor CloudSuite Food & Beverage. The solution comes with pre-configured settings tailored to the food industry.

"To succeed, we are entirely dependent on smart systems, as well as accessible and accurate management information that we obtain from the digital platform that seamlessly collects it and structures," says Utne.

The industry-specific solution for the food industry ensures control, quality, and efficiency throughout the entire value chain.

"CloudSuite Food & Beverage gives us full control throughout our complex value chain," Utne explains. "We have around 150 suppliers from three different categories: farms that provide us with either eggs, hatching hens, or broiler chickens. The business system covers both hatching and slaughter, as well as the purchase and sale of eggs and chickens. Now we have full control and can more quickly document and trace transactions from field to table."

Per Christian Øen, Business Solutions Director at Columbus, emphasizes that the strategy from the beginning has been to invest in a standard industry solution.

"The advantage of this is that Norsk Kylling no longer needs major upgrades every four years. Now everything is upgraded continuously. Security, disaster recovery, scalability, all of this is handled by Infor, which dedicates significant resources to it, allowing Norsk Kylling to focus on what they do best," says Øen.

Utne confirms that it has been a complex and highly successful project.

"Even though we chose a standardized ERP solution, it's important to note that this has been an interdisciplinary digitization process throughout the organization, while also ensuring management information from a relatively complex value chain.”

"Columbus has delivered a successful digitization project on time and within budget. The reason for that is a combination of deep industry knowledge, a good understanding of who we are and where we want to be, along with their expertise in the Infor solution that we have chosen," says Utne.

"We aim to be the best in the world at what we do. The Infor ERP system is the platform that makes it possible to achieve the goal of becoming a carbon-neutral company by 2030.”

Read more about our collaboration with Norsk Kylling here.

Don't hesitate to reach out if you have any questions or would like to speak with one of our experts.


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