A bespoke ERP system from CSB-System is contributing to the continuing successful growth of one of Germany’s leading foodservice suppliers.

Established in 1974, the Sander Group is a market leader in the production and supply of convenience products to restaurants, hotels, healthcare facilities, canteens and schools. In the past 18 years, the company has grown tenfold, with sales increasing from 25 million marks to 80 million euros.

A key element in supporting this growth has been the introduction of fully-integrated industry-specific software from CSB to replace previous stand-alone solutions. This has delivered important benefits throughout the operation.

In production and inventory, for example, duplication of data entry has now been eliminated. Data from goods receiving, in the warehouse, production and stocktaking is captured on scanners or at CSB-Racks (special industrial PCs). As well as being more efficient, this ensures higher process quality and information that is more reliable because all data immediately goes to the ERP system.

The CSB-Racks are also used for batch processing of raw materials, providing precise on-screen instructions for ingredients and cooking processes to ensure that only correct products are transferred to the packaging machines. The software also documents every work step and inventory posting so that the entire creation process can be traced via a batch number.

This high level of transparency is equally beneficial in production planning where in
its fresh produce factory, Sander produces around 2,500 menu components in 12 product categories. Key challenges are the short shelf-life of many of the products, the fact that recipe ingredients are often produced separately in different departments before being combined, and the need to be able to respond quickly to ad hoc orders each day.

The production planning system from CSB therefore combines efficient scenario planning with very flexible response mechanisms. In the case of short-term orders or unscheduled machine downtime, plans can be modified quickly, while the effects of the variation from the original plans on all other resources remain manageable.

“Over the years, production planning posed some major challenges also for CSB,” explains Sander Group managing director Jens Sander. “Today we have achieved a level that gives us a head-start over other companies.”

The effective interaction between production planning and the other CSB modules has also enabled a high level of automation with minimised throughput times. Daily production statements facilitate greater cost transparency, with the reports proving managers with an overview of all key data, in particular allowing gross margins to be easily checked. This is important for Sander as the company is dealing with permanently changing daily prices for meat and fruit.

The CSB system has also enabled telephone sales to go paperless, with all customer information and contact details available in the system and displayed on-screen, saving salespeople up to 60 minutes each day in manual inputting and checking.

Sander has plans to grow further and the company’s ‘Growth Strategy 2020’ comprises many measures and processes to make every department even more efficient. This includes further optimisation of the ERP software.
“ERP is never quite complete,” concludes Jens Sander. “As soon as project is completed, the next one comes up. It is a continuous dynamic process that always has to reflect changes as well. We need a powerful IT partner for our future growth.”

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