Zentis is one of Europe’s leading fruit processing companies and a high-performing and innovative partner for the processing industry. Zentis is currently number two in Germany for jams and bread spreads.
Of the three markets supplied by Zentis, retail is by far the most difficult – at least in terms of price and condition management. This is because, in this sector, the basic price is very different from the final price paid by the customer and had reached its most complex iteration. Sales employees working in the retail sector are faced with having to juggle variable compensation in percentages, fixed promotional amounts, fixed anniversary supplements and many other conditions. To make things more difficult, such agreements are not only concluded with a food supplier’s central office, but also with subsidiary and regional companies.
Zentis decided that a shared database, comprising a single source for sales, financial control and accounting would help to resolve the situation. This would also create complete transparency in scoping and structuring the conditions to simplify sales planning, from mid-term planning to annual planning; forecasting and rolling planning.
Zentis brought IT specialists
4brands Reply on board to develop this database and series of tools. Initial workshops at which the financial control, accounting and sales teams were all represented determined not only the different requirements, but also certain boundaries. “The previous system that had developed over many years could not be quickly streamlined and unified,” recalled Biermann. “The non-homogenous structure needed to be clearly represented in the new solution,” he says, explaining one important demand set by Zentis for the IT solution.
The next step in the project implementation was the replacement of the old Access database, into which Zentis sales employees were previously obliged to enter all reductions in earnings. As soon as this was completed there were finally no more differences between sales and financial control. The shared database for financial control, accounting and sales has been extensively tested.
Even if a few requests could not be met due to the complexity of condition management in the retail trade and for Zentis, Stephan Biermann is very pleased with what has been achieved thus far. He had not, however, reckoned with the high training requirements resulting from the transfer of certain financial accounting tasks to Sales. Even with the authorisation concept and the IT-supported workflow control, according to Biermann pragmatic solutions were required, which the project manager thinks is better than simply “going by the book”. Something else that cannot be further automated is the “assessment of the financial effects of condition changes,” as Biermann puts it. “Thanks to the optimised simulation tool, however, it is much easier to predict which measures will have which effects,” explains a Zentis employee regarding how the new tool helps to limit the consequences of a change.
When asked about the success factors for the IT project, Dirk Vonhoegen does not have to think for very long: “We fully applied our business management knowledge and 4brands Reply added its extensive technical know-how and great experience in implementation to the
mix. As you can see, it’s been already been a great success and we expect to see much more as Zentis uses its new, enhanced IT system to support its goals”.
4brands Reply is the industry expert for the consumer goods industry in the Reply network. At 4brands Reply we help companies in the consumer goods industry to design their individual digital transformation processes using innovative IT technologies. The starting point for our approach is the consumer and his customer journey, which is used to align the entire value creation chain of the company. Our offer consists of process consulting and system integration for three core areas: Consumer Engagement, Sales Excellence and Demand Driven Supply Chain. Thanks to the Reply network, we can provide holistic support in all areas of your transformation process – from the digital design of the customer experience to the IT strategy and final implementation.
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