Vice President for Strategic Sourcing and Procurement at global food company Dole, Arindam Sengupta, is on a mission. His immediate goal is to eradicate many of the manual, paper-based and time-consuming processes that accompany the purchase of fresh fruit and vegetables from growers around the world, along with the packaging in which they are sold to customers.
So on a trip last year to the company’s offices in the Philippines, he was sad to discover that employees working late into the night were members of his own team, busy preparing and sending out purchase orders.
Now, the prospect of touchless automation at the company is still a few years off, he says, but Dole has made significant progress in standardising and streamlining its procurement processes over the past two years, thanks to its implementation of a cloud-based procurement platform from Ivalua. This project has run alongside the roll-out in Dole’s Asia-based operations of a new SAP ERP platform, with which Ivalua will eventually be integrated.
Perhaps best known for its fresh bananas, tinned pineapples and its fruit cups, Singapore-headquartered Dole Asia Holdings sits at the helm of the worldwide Dole Group of companies, owned since 2013 by Japanese multinational Itochu Corporation. The supply chain associated with both its fresh and processed foods is extremely complex and fragmented, says Sengupta, and, prior to the company’s shift to Ivalua, it was a struggle to make sense of procurement data based on numerous outdated legacy systems and spreadsheets, scattered about offices around the world:
As reported on diginomica.com, senior stakeholders wanted more visibility on data and procurement needed more insight into the activities of key strategic procurement teams. We wanted Dole to be a more data-driven organization, where we knew exactly where we were spending money, who we were spending it with and what needed to be done to get the most from our spending.”