[Client feature]


Bestfoods is all over the map. Dublin. Bucharest. Haifa. Denver. Johannesburg. Little Rock. Oconomowoc. Morocco. Santo Domingo. Burton-on-Trent. Casablanca. Greenwich. Wittengen. Miami. Barrancas. Beijing. Sanguinetto. Aguascalientes.

With annual sales of $9.8 billion, Bestfoods - maker of such household consumer foods brands as Hellmann’s, Skippy, Knorr, Mazola, Mueller’s, Entenmann’s, Thomas and Boboli - is a US-based leading international food company, with 45,000 employees running 115 plants in 60 countries worldwide. Bestfoods’ products are sold in 110 countries, and it is one of the most global of US food companies in terms of percentage of sales and earnings - nearly 60 percent - coming from outside North America.

Bestfoods markets a broad array of leading consumer foods brands, including these brands with more than $100 million in sales each: Knorr soups, sauces, bouillons and related products; Hellmann’s and Best Foods dressings; Mazola corn and canola oils; Skippy peanut butter; Entenmann’s sweet baked goods; Thomas’ English muffins; Oroweat, Arnold and Freihofer’s breads; Mueller’s pasta products; Maizena corn starches; Boboli Italian pizza crusts; Alsa desserts; Pfanni potato products; and Pot Noodle instant hot snacks.

Also the largest fresh premium baker in the US, the company markets its products through retail outlets and its strong worldwide foodservice business, which operates under the name Caterplan outside the US.

Bestfoods relies on BPCS and eBPCS for unified, consistent business practices throughout its widespread operations. Bestfoods International, Bestfoods Nordic, Bestfoods Benelux BV, Bestfoods Hong Kong, Bestfoods Taiwan, Bestfoods Thailand, Bestfoods Malaysia, Bestfoods Beijing, Bestfoods Italia SPA, Foods - Ireland, Refinagoes de Milho - CPC, Bestfoods Hellas, Bestfoods Rathan Ltd., CPC Amino S.A., and Bestfoods France - all are live on eBPCS or BPCS, an accomplishment that took little more than three years.

Now Bestfoods Nordic has just gone live with BPCS v6.0.04 on IBM’s AS/400 at its sites in Kristianstad, Sweden, and Skovlunde, Denmark. And, utilizing the SSA Portfolio solutions strategy, Bestfoods UK is scheduled to go live on eBPCS with Supply Chain Management (SCM) and Configurable Enterprise Financials (CEA) in October, with Multi-Mode Manufacturing (MMM) being implemented at seven UK manufacturing sites beginning in April, 2000.

Supporting 170 users at three factories, two distribution centers and two main offices, the Sweden and Denmark implementations included SSA’s CEA, MMM and SCM modules. A rollout is planned for two more Bestfoods sites in the Nordic next year.

“SSA offered much better scalability, it was easier to implement, less expensive, and it was also easier to adapt and change after the initial implementation,” said Bestfoods Europe’s Senior Director of Finance, Willem Nijman. “We now have BPCS running alongside Hyperion for financial reporting and consolidation, Cognos for data warehouse querying and report writing, Oracle for financial analysis, and Microsoft Office for office automation.

“The most promising aspect,” Nijman said, “is the fact that SSA has been listening to its customers all over the world and is willing to react to their needs and wishes, because that will no doubt have a direct impact on SSA’s product and service quality as a whole.”

Bestfoods’ Benelux operations are the main driver of the SSA-BPCS groundswell taking hold at Bestfoods worldwide. Bestfoods Europe (also responsible for Africa and the Middle East) is headquartered in Brussels, Belgium - covering 31 countries with $3.5 billion in revenue from 61 manufacturing plants, two of them located in The Netherlands. Apart from the international operations in Brussels, there is also a Belgian marketing and sales division in Antwerp. All in all, Bestfoods’ operations in Benelux employ 800.

“Actually, although Ireland had already expressed its preference for SSA’s BPCS in the late ’80s,” said Nijman, “it was in the Benelux in the early ’90s that we started looking at ERP and supply chain programs for our European affiliates, most of which ran on IBM AS/400 computers. It soon became clear that System Software Associates was the most obvious choice, because of their knowledge of this platform and their support. And quite quickly, the other countries followed the same path - it was as if we had created some sort of ‘sneaking standard.’ ”

Then, in 1996, Bestfoods initiated a strategic effort to harmonize all of its policies and programs, and ERP got another close look. The US, Germany and a handful of other countries were running a different ERP system at the time, while BPCS was being used in operations in 10 European countries, Latin America and Asia. Worldwide Bestfoods management made the decision to develop a core BPCS system for those three regions, because they all had similar information needs.

A global contract was signed with SSA, and an international project team - 40 staff plus a number of external consultants and local support teams - went on to develop a core model for Bestfoods. At the end of 1998, the development group was split into two teams, one for the Scandinavian countries and one for the UK.