Dole Packaged Foods Relies on SAP for Continued Growth

If you’ve ever packed a fruit cup in your kids’ lunchbox, chances are it came Dole Packaged Foods. This global producer of packaged and frozen fruit products is one of the most recognized food brands.

Dole Packaged Foods divested from the Dole Food Company, the fresh fruit and vegetable group synonymous with pineapples and bananas, as part of a 2012 corporate restructuring and was acquired by Japanese conglomerate Itochu Corporation for $1.7 billion in cash in 2013.

Gabe Dellevigne, senior director of ERP applications, supports the company’s business in North America and Europe. He explained that while Dole Packaged Foods was growing it did not have the right IT application portfolio to keep pace.

“We ran on various end-of-life applications with many different interfaces. This was less expensive but couldn’t sustain our growth,” he said. “We needed a platform so we could seamlessly integrate acquisitions as well as support organic growth.” For example, as SKUs proliferated the existing applications could not adequately process the associated growth of data. Additionally, the trade promotion management system did not tie directly to the general ledger, leaving the company vulnerable to financial misstatements.

That’s where SAP came in. Because of the company’s expertise in the consumer packaged goods (CPG) market, Dole Packaged Foods standardized on SAP in 2011, with support from partner IBM.

“We started with SAP ERP but have always been on the cutting edge. We were one of the first to upgrade to SAP S/4HANA,” said Dellevigne.

The company went live on SAP S/4HANA for finance in 2017 and has also been using SAP S/4HANA embedded analytics. Dellevigne believes that SAP S/4HANA will differentiate Dole Packaged Foods versus competitors since many CPG companies are using older, less robust ERP systems.

The company also uses cloud applications from SAP including: SAP Concur for business travel, SAP Ariba, SAP Integrated Business Planning for frozen products, and SAP Cloud for Customer to manage its consumer center.

According to Dellevigne, IT total cost of ownership (TCO) for Dole Packaged Foods was less than one percent — below the CPG industry average. Says Dellevigne, “This is particularly impressive given that our application portfolio is one of the most innovative in the industry and we did not use outsourced IT resources. SAP has helped us automate manual processes and save resources.”

SAP has also helped the company reach new markets. “Millennial consumers are not brand driven,” said Dellevigne. “They want lower prices and are more concerned about the quality of the products inside the package.”

While Dole Packaged Foods prides itself on producing high-quality, nutritious food, SAP — particularly SAP S/4HANA — has provided the company with better visibility across the supply chain so it can meet customer requirements.

Most importantly, Dellevigne sees SAP as a partner he can trust to help solve business problems.

“If revenue doubled by tomorrow, I know this platform could sustain it,” he said. “There’s no piece of information we can’t get and that’s the power of SAP S/4HANA and SAP.”