Castle Importing, Inc. is an Italian family business with roots in the cheese industry dating back more than half a century. The company's name is derived from the family's hometown of Castellammare del Golfo in northwest Sicily. Originally, their business focused on the processing of the standard sizes of hard Italian cheeses and then expanded to include custom cheese blends, private label programs and a line of high-quality Mediterranean olive oil products. Currently, with its state-of-the-art processing facility (over 70,000 square feet), Castle has expanded its product line with cheeses that can be processed into an infinite variety of packaging options for both retail and wholesale markets.
Manual "Pen-and Paper" Tracking Method Proves Unwieldy and Imprecise
As a large-scale producer of grated and shredded cheeses, as well as custom blends, Castle Importing, Inc. employs a highly complex procurement, production, packaging and shipping cycle that culminates in the delivery of finished products to its retail and wholesale customers.
Freshness and food safety are of paramount importance to Castle and to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which mandates that all food processing companies have the capability to "trace" every "ingredient" in their "recipes" -- commencing with the initial purchase of raw materials from their vendors through sales, production, packaging and shipping.
In the food industry, despite all possible precautions, the potential for a product recall is always present, and if a recall is warranted, it behooves a food-based company to have fully integrated systems in place in order to "trace" the exact cause of the problem and to take immediate corrective action. Until recently, Castle Importing utilized a manual "pen-and-paper" approach to conduct the tracing procedure required in the event of a product recall, which proved increasingly time-consuming, labor-intensive and risky as the company grew.
According to Castle Importing vice president Rosangela Borruso, "Whenever we conducted a "mock" product recall, we had to assemble a team of at least five co-workers to painstakingly examine scores of logs that contained records of receipts of raw materials, production data (including labeling and packaging), sales and customer data (including any special instructions) and shipping information. Since our systems were manual, it took too long to pinpoint the cause of the recall and the exact quantities involved in our simulation."
SAP Business One 'Food One' Deliver Superior Automation of Highly Complex Food Production Cycle
In early 2011, Borruso and her colleagues began to evaluate software options that could streamline their business processes, especially MRP, warehouse management, lot tracing for recalls and FDA food audits, as well as commissions and rebates for their sales force and customers. An initial examination of numerous products was disappointing since most of the solutions didn't offer the automated lot tracing functionality they needed. This led to consideration of a custom-designed solution from scratch.
Fortunately, they discovered SAP Business One, a robust and flexible ERP solution that appeared to fulfill all the items on their wish list. The company contacted a local SAP Gold Partner, Softengine Inc. (www.softengineusa.com), to demonstrate the features and benefits of the software and explain how the system could be modified to their unique specifications.
Softengine not only had an impressive track record of successful, high-ROI implementations of SAP Business One, they also had developed a complementary SAP software extension program that was designed expressly for food-based businesses 'Food One'. Together, this powerful combination could deliver superior financial management and inventory control functionality, plus complete traceability of every step and ingredient in their complex production process. Armed with this solution, Castle Importing could conduct quick and precise recall practice runs and maintain total compliance with all FDA requirements.
Comprehensive Inventory Control and Lot Tracing Functionality