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Sander van Oversteeg, Cegeka:

“Automation shouldn’t hinder growth in fresh produce”

Automation is in full swing for fresh produce companies, Cegeka has noticed. For years now, Cegeka has been active in the total automation of food companies. It doesn’t just concern solutions such as ERP, CRM, BI and Document Management, but also de-burdening customers by completely outsourcing and taking over systems, hardware and infrastructure.

In 2012, Cegeka experienced a considerable growth in the number of automation requests from the fresh produce market. Late 2013, Cegeka took the step to the fresh produce market with Fruitmasters. “Fruitmasters came to us because the solutions available on the market did not meet requirements and wishes. We then already knew our standard solution for the food industry did not yet satisfy functionally for the fresh produce sector. Eventually, we decided to develop specific functionalities for the fresh produce sector in the shape of a standard fresh produce solution. We are currently implementing our fresh produce solution for our customers Fruitmasters, Levarht and Italian Fruttital. We have the ambition of becoming a market leader in the segment of medium and large fresh produce companies, both nationally and internationally. We have invested considerably in that in the past two years,” manager Sander van Oversteeg explains.

Developments in fresh produce visible
“We see that many fresh produce companies work with solutions that have often been in use for more than ten years already. During those years, many companies expanded their company activities. The reason that many companies come to us, is that they regularly meet their limit of functional possibilities. In such cases, they miss, for example, the functionality of WMS or TMS. This solution is based on Microsoft Dynamics AX, which is now called Dynamics 365 for Operations. This is a rich solution, which already has these kinds of functionalities as a base, such as batches, batch characteristics, shelf life, tracking & tracing, WMS, TMS and similar. Users can turn these functions on, when they need them,” Sander says.

Supply chain integration and internationalisation
The increasing demand for Cegeka’s fresh produce solution has a number of reasons according to Van Oversteeg. “We see cooperation occurring in the supply chain more often within the fresh produce sector, and supply chain integration as well. This is in part thanks to the increasing strength of consumers. These buy increasingly more consciously. Consumers want to know more and more about the origin of their food. In the end, the consumer indirectly decides which information should be exchanged in the supply chain. The retailers anticipate the wishes of consumers and then move these into the supply chain. In order to continue offering added value to their customers, fresh produce companies are forced to gain more control over the supply chain (from cultivator to consumer). The importance of, for example, good tracing is increasing because of this. More and more has to be traced outside of the company and the plot the products come from, for instance. For Fruitmasters, for example, we developed a cultivator’s portal, so that people can be even closer to the cultivator. Harvest prognoses are recorded in the cultivator’s portal by the cultivators, and are therefore directly available in the system. The cultivator is also supported in applying pesticides, so that these are also traceable on the final product,” Van Oversteeg explains.

“Additionally, we see national borders fading more and more, partially through demand from new international sales markets. Look at Levarht, which anticipates that by setting up cultivation in countries close to the international sales market. Digitisation plays a large part in this. A solution that keeps in mind the international aspects of fresh produce trade, such as local legislation, multilingualism, handling different currencies and timezones, as well as supporting inter-company traffic between sister companies is indispensable in that,” Van Oversteeg continues.

Fresh produce solution should facilitate growth
“Because many companies are hitting the limits of their current solution, we see an ever-increasing demand for a functionally richer option that is future-proof. For this, a tried and tested standard solution is asked for, which offers the possibility to grow along with the organisation. Possible changes  or changing company activities in future should also be supported by this solution.”

“We further see that companies have trouble deciding the correct scope, and then hold on to that, when implementing a new system. We therefore prefer being involved from an early stage, to support defining this scope with our knowledge and experience in the fresh produce sector, giving our interpretation based on best practices for fresh produce and helping with the cultural shift that comes with this,” Van Oversteeg concludes.

More information:
Sander van Oversteeg

Publication date: 3/20/2017


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