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Aptean’s Food and Beverage 2021 Global Symposium – Westfalia Harnesses the Power of Purpose-Built Technology Session Recap

Aptean’s Food and Beverage 2021 Global Symposium – Westfalia Harnesses the Power of Purpose-Built Technology Session Recap

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Aptean’s Food and Beverage 2021 Global Symposium – Westfalia Harnesses the Power of Purpose-Built Technology Session Recap

Oct 19, 2021

John McCurdy
A colorful variety of fruits.

This latest entry in our running blog series covering the sessions of Aptean’s Food and Beverage 2021 Global Symposium focuses on “Westfalia Harnesses the Power of Purpose-Built Technology,” a customer case presented by André Oosthuisen, group integration and IT executive at Westfalia Fruit.

Oosthuisen can speak with authority on the subject of technology’s importance for food and beverage businesses, having worked in the industry for more than 25 years and specializing in the application of new technologies in agriculture. In his Symposium presentation, he provided insight on the greatest challenges facing fresh produce businesses, how Aptean's food ERP has helped his organization tackle these concerns and ongoing changes in the industry that warrant attention going forward.

Westfalia grows 24 varieties of fruit and operates in 15 different countries, which leads to complex supply chains and a wide variety of considerations that vary from product to product. The key concerns he identified and their contributing factors were:

  • Farming: accounting for weather, climate change, labor-intensive work responsibilities, distant locations and multiple growers

  • Packing: selecting the right packaging solution, choosing between manual or automated methods and dealing with staffing during the pandemic

  • Distribution: accounting for the soft and bulky nature of fruits, covering long distances and maintaining total traceability

  • Sales: meeting customer expectations for appearance and availability and dealing with price fluctuations

When searching for a technological solution for the company, Oosthuisen and other Westfalia leaders were drawn to Aptean for our extensive food and beverage industry experience, as well as our teams’ willingness to listen and act as a partner during the implementation process. Since the system was put in place, they’ve seen numerous improvements on multiple fronts:

  • Farming: allows for comprehensive tracking of operations, maintains grower details, calculates returns and generates accurate demand forecasts

  • Consignments: provides pooling requirements and facilitates liquidations

  • Packhouse: accommodates differences in individual items and manages processes

  • Cost allocations: captures more comprehensive cost- and activity-based metrics, improving data management

  • Traceability: complete information at case, lot and pallet levels

  • Inventory management: real-time updates for stock levels

Finally, with an eye to the future, Oosthuisen made note of shifts in the food and beverage landscape that will influence Westfalia’s market approach in the coming years. In the short and medium term, catering to millennial and Generation Y consumers, applying new technology like Internet of Things (IoT) devices, the rise of third-world growers and social media will all have an effect on the business and the products they offer.

In the long term, the threat of global warming and limited access to water, a shift toward sustainable growing methods, changing standards for organic growing, shifts in land rights in developing countries and legislative changes will all factor into Westfalia’s evolution. Still, with a platform like Aptean Food & Beverage ERP on which to operate, they’ll be prepared to scale and adapt no matter what challenges emerge.

If you want to hear more about what Aptean Food & Beverage ERP can do for your food and beverage business, contact us today.

Be sure to check back for more of our session recaps, and browse our Insights page for those we’ve published previously. And if you’d like to view any of our sessions on-demand, you can do so here.

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