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Project Finesse: Crossing Borders to Success in the Food Industry

Findus is a leading international frozen food brand who develops, produces and markets a complete range of frozen food products. The company has presence in Norway, Sweden, Finland, UK, France, Spain, Germany, Denmark, Czechia, Slovakia, Hungary, Thailand and Australia, employing around 3,000 people. Their annual turnover is approximately EUR 800 million.

Project Finesse: Crossing Borders to Success in the Food Industry

Findus is a leading international frozen food brand who develops, produces and markets a complete range of frozen food products. The company has presence in Norway, Sweden, Finland, UK, France, Spain, Germany, Denmark, Czechia, Slovakia, Hungary, Thailand and Australia, employing around 3,000 people. Their annual turnover is approximately EUR 800 million.

Success Story: Findus has its origins in the Nordic region. In 1941, Marabou, a Swedish confec-tionary company acquired a small factory in the Northwest of Sweden – with a brand name called Findus. In 1962, Marabou sold the Findus business to Nestlé, and it remained under Nestlé ownership until January 2000, when it was sold to EQT Scandinavia BV.

The Challenge: After the sale of Findus to EQT Scandinavia, the company realized that a common business and IT platform was required. The IT environment was focused on local operations rather than European operations. Each country worked in a different way. There was a lack of policies and procedures and a need of co-ordination between different sites. All in all, there was no overall IT business model. A platform, which could adjust to the constant change the company experienced, was needed. Jerker Andersson, CIO at Findus, was responsible to develop the IT strategy for the “new” company.

This project was christened “Finesse” (FINdus, Energy, Speed, SuccEss). First of all, the key requirements were set. Findus wanted to operate on a global instead of a country basis. Their second challenge was to concentrate the number of applications they were working with, with as few as possible IT production sites. In addition to this, they wanted an IT infrastructure, scalable and flexible for potential acquisitions and divests.

The Solution: One of the key components in the suggested IT strategy was the integration of the various applications and business processes across all countries and departments, e.g. a solution that provides Enterprise Application Integration. The EAI Methodology of the Cap Gemini Group was used to deal with this task, which included evaluation and selection of a tool for EAI, resulting in the selection of the webMethods Integration Platform.

“Findus could have chosen to build point-to-point interfaces between the IT systems, which in the long run would not fulfill the demands, wouldn’t be as cost-effective as desired, and this solution would become very difficult be manage, maintain and administer. In a simple way, webMethods makes all enterprise data available, in real-time if desired. It provides business process integration with a high level of track ability and guaranteed deliveries,” states Malin Lindén, Alliance Manager at Sogeti, a daughter company within the Cap Gemini Group that has been deeply involved in the Finesse Project.

Göran Bengtsson, IT Manager at Findus tells more; “We were taking some risk. webMethods is clearly a leading provider in the integration space, but at that time it had never before been used in such a big project in Sweden before. The greatest advantage of webMethods is that the system is event-based and has the flexibility we need. Also, the technology has been successfully implemented in other parts of the world.” 

The integration: Sogeti had a number of trained consultants working on the Finesse project. Together with the employees of Findus, they implemented webMethods as the central hub for all the internal applications and systems in Findus. They have so far replaced three country-specific SAP applications with SAP EBT (the SAP European Base Template). Movex is used to replace systems across the world for Manufacturing. APS (Advanced Planning System from SCT) has replaced a number of country-specific applications as well.

Two master databases have also been built by Sogeti and are now further developed by the IT consultancy. One is used for globalization of material data; the second is used for meta data and cross-references. webMethods is now the only tool for integrating internal IT systems within Findus. Sogeti also provided Findus with a complete framework for monitoring the webMethods platform. It is a custom build framework that enables Findus to decentralize monitoring and error handling to dedicated super users. The framework is event driven and enables for example monitoring of queues/transactions/adapters/brokers. All transactions going through the webMethods platform at Findus is completely traceable and resendable.

”We now have a common and standardized IT environment that saves both time and money when it comes to documentation, maintenance and updates. The old systems were functional but modern integrations products such as webMethods create new possibilities for coherent IT operations”, says Göran Bengtsson.

A successful project: The separation project Finesse is finished, on time and within budget. The solution has been implemented in all countries where Findus acts. Findus is now continuing to focus on the advantages of integration solutions. The work is handled by Sogeti, which is taking care of support, maintenance and further development.

“We are pleased to see how well the technology really works and that the webMethods Integration Platform provides the required mechanisms for EAI here at Findus. It has been interesting and inspiring to work with all the people involved and achieve the goals set for the Finesse project. By continuing to work with Findus we are able to assist them as they move forward towards strength-ening their brand, developing new products and building a complete set of core business processes, together with the IT infrastructure to support them”, says Markus Edholm, Integration Manager at Sogeti.

Sogeti Alliance Manager Malin Lindén concludes:

“The webMethods Integration Platform implementation at Findus shows us that webMethods is an effective tool to help companies become more adaptive. After the positive results we hade with Findus, a Swedish partner agreement has been signed and we continue to educate our consultants in Sweden on webMethods technology.”

Future Plans: Findus and Sogeti people working together have created a basic template for implementing common processes across Europe. The next step is to roll these out, country by country. Findus CIO Jerker Andersson, states: “We are building a new company from scratch. Sogeti is a key partner because they are the single point of contact for the know-how and experience that we need.”

Future plans also include a continuous roll-out of SAP EBT for the Swedish and Danish market. The EBT model, created within SAP by the IT department at Findus, enables the company to swiftly and homogeneous support processes on the European market. The system will be a vital and very important part of the commercial and financial operations at Findus. This Swedish and

Danish roll-out is considered as the starting-point of the second wave of system implementations, the first containing the implementation of the system in Finland, Germany and Norway. As soon as the work in the Nordic region is done, France and Spain is next in line.  

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Kontakt
  • Joel Fredin
    Joel Fredin
    Integrationsexpert
    070-875 45 45
  • per.bjorkegren
    Per Björkegren
    CIO
    070-214 63 18