In the end, all comes down to people

2 Minutes

If you believe the social media posts of some other software vendors, you might be led to the conclusion that what really counts in ERP projects is not the people - it is mostly about technologies. Is that true?

The simple answer is: Of course it is not. In the food industry in particular, other issues are equally important. First of all, how
can you, as a team, gain a real competitive advantage by using digital solutions? Which competencies do the consultants of the ERP vendor bring in? Can you communicate on equal footing?

Sven Friedli, CIO of our customer Bell Food Group, sings the same tune. In our interview he said, “There are plenty of ERP systems, but what matters more are the consultants who introduce them.” It takes more than just a good software program. The success of many food companies is undoubtedly based on a concept of a permanent IT-aided optimization. Yet, this works only if you focus on the people. This is not a personalistic approach, but a strategic one - and it is an effective one indeed. For example, Friedli reports on two very successful IT projects in Spain that solved numerous problems and closed efficiency gaps in the production processes. A result that was only achieved because the Bell team and the CSB consultants were an excellent match.

The CIO put it this way: “We’re all in the same boat. It is therefore important to have a common understanding of the processes in food production. A mere IT specialist without extensive industry expertise could do little to help move us forward.” In fact, the factories in the Spanish ham regions Extremadura and Castile-La Mancha now run like clockwork. The change from paper to a digital information flow has been completed, for example in the processing of recipes, purchase orders, stocktaking, and traceability. Redundant work steps or poor data quality are history now.

Friedli and his team aim to continue the progress that already has been made. They will continue to improve the processes at Bell Food Group, taking forward the business of the food company with new digitalization measures. Today, 19 sites of the company have relied on the software and the manpower from CSB. So for anyone who keeps thinking about where the right investment focus should be and how to make digitization projects a success, let me tell you: of course you have to look at technology trends. But in the end, it always comes down to people.

P.S. Sven Friedli told me many other exciting things. If you are interested, you can read the full story here.