Untroubled Treats

Italian cuisine is always hot in the culinary world. Even antipasti have found a regular place at family meals. Palatum Feinkost recognized this trend early, and its 40 employees near Munich produce a wide assortment of selected products for those with a passion for appetizers. The family-owned company delivers to retail companies that fill their showcases of delicacies with treats from Palatum and to restaurants that use its convenience products.
Deli foods are profitable, but sensitive goods. “It’s all about quality and freshness,” says Christian Graber, a project manager at Palatum. Smoothly functioning production and logistics processes are an absolute requirement. Raw materials and ingredients must arrive right on time from producers and vendors so that they can be processed quickly and delivered to customers. And new European Union (EU) regulations on consumer protection have been in force since 2005. The regulations require a seamless ability to trace all foods and ingredients – from the producer to the processor to wholesale and retail dealers.

More oomph for production processes

Meeting all these requirements with Palatum’s traditional methods of manually entering goods receipt and issue data proved to be too much work and too prone to errors. That’s why the deli company looked for new enterprise software that supported automatic, electronic data capture along with all important ERP and logistics processes. The company also expected the application to accelerate production processes.
After an intensive examination of the market, Palatum management decided on the it.consumer industry solution from itelligence, an SAP partner. The certified SAP All-in-One partner solution offers special functions for the consumer goods industry. “The decisive factor for us was that the solution is perfectly tailored to the food-specific requirements of our ERP and logistics chain,” says Graber. The software can be flexibly enhanced when requirements change, and it represents a secure investment.

Implementation in 69 days

Once the decision was made, things moved quickly. itelligence implemented the new enterprise software at Palatum in only 69 days. “Like all SAP All-in-One certified partner solutions, the preconfigured, standard processes of it.consumer can be quickly adjusted to the needs of an individual company,” says Astrid Rüggeberg, a project manager at itelligence, who oversaw the project with two colleagues. The deli specialist implemented functions to support sales and distribution, production, materials management, and warehouse management with comprehensive barcode processes and a link to scanners in the warehouse. Implementation occurred on time and within budget. The new solution was released for eight users at Palatum at the beginning of May 2006.
The advantages for the family-owned company are large. Palatum uses the solution to post all goods receipt and issue data with barcodes and mobile scanners that use wireless radio frequency transmissions. Picking and acknowledging personnel also use mobile devices. “The time of the stapler are over,” says Graber. “Thanks to the new solution, our production and logistics processes are seamlessly intertwined and run more quickly. We also profit from better process security. Our employees in the warehouse simply have to scan barcodes, which minimizes transmission errors and gives them more time for other important tasks.”
The new solution also guarantees seamless traceability of batches of goods according to EU Regulation 178/2002. Exact batch logs on goods receipts and goods issues means that Palatum can always show which raw materials were used for a product batch. The Intrastat notification for the Federal Statistical Office in Germany is completely automatic. The company is obligated to send the notification because it processes ingredients from other EU countries. The notifications capture the flow of goods within the EU.

An eye on all processes

The bottom line is positive. The deli specialist has a secure view of all processes in logistics and ERP. Even internal processes are significantly more efficient. “Collaboration among individual business areas – warehouse, production, and management – is much simpler and faster today because everyone has access to uniform data,” summarizes Graber. “Our work is noticeably more productive and economical – and because it.consumer is based on standard SAP functions, numerous options are now open to us for better cooperation with business partners, many of whom also work with SAP software.”

Daniel Grieshaber