A wake-up call
“More product information, faster, to multiple channels. That is how we have been required to work increasingly over the past few years.”
The complexity of Zwanenberg Food Group is almost unparalleled; with close to 3,000 different products sold in over 100 countries, both under private labels and owned brands, the challenge of maintaining a central source of truth for product information is a tremendous challenge, to say the least. Only when Product Manager Manon ter Haar and Team Coordinator Specification Management Sandra Mensink started to do an internal research to map these processes two years ago, they realised their complexity and error sensitivity.
About Zwanenberg Food Group
Zwanenberg Food Group is one of the leading European producers and exporters of meat products and canned meat, with:
- 12 production sites in the Netherlands, the United Kingdom and the United States
- 1,600 staff
- 2,861 different brands, ranging from A-brands Zwan and Lupack to many international private labels
“For every product introduction, we needed to involve too many people from too many departments. Maintaining product content within existing systems, channels and documents was very time–consuming due to the time it takes to collect all information per system and due to the duplication of effort for maintaining/submitting the product content.”
Due to recent changes in legislation such as 1169/2011, Zwanenberg now needs to deliver different types of information regarding ingredients, nutrition and allergens to several separate data channels, including GDSN, PS in foodservice and SIM.
The outcome of the internal research was a wake-up call for everyone involved: Product Managers, the team responsible for product data, IT and the CFO alike. “No one ever realised how time-consuming and error-sensitive this task had become. In ten years’ time, our team responsible for maintaining data has grown from two to eight people.”
One central solution to manage them all
“There were several vendors offering point solutions like PIM and DAM”, said Eilko Bronsema, Manager IT at Zwanenberg. “They are hard to compare. Everyone does something, but it all overlapped with the systems that we already had in place. When we invited SyncForce to present their solution, we realised that they share a similar mind-set with us and offer exactly the solution that we needed: one central solution that manages all content related to our products.”
SyncForce now allows Zwanenberg to have one system of record for every content element, linking product information not only to all existing data channels (GDSN, PS in foodservice and SIM), but also allowing employees to create the product sheets and AMF sheets.
All systems aligned
The combination of Product Portfolio Content Centralisation and 1-Click Content Distribution saves both time and frustration. Sandra Mensink: “Plus, the process is less error-sensitive. All systems are aligned, we don’t need to copy data manually anymore. With almost one click, we can share most recent product information – not only with clients, but also to our internal product catalogue.”
Manon ter Haar: “We have so many products that change all the time. With SyncForce, everyone has access to the same product information and digital assets, whether they work in logistics, production or marketing.”
A prerequisite for growth
A next step would be for Zwanenberg to align project planning in SyncForce. Eilko Bronsema: “We still use a separate system for this. That’s a pity, because a lot of product information is generated in project teams, so data need to be copied manually to SyncForce.”
Moving towards a central integrated solution to the company’s ambitions for the future. “We want to continue growing, which is why we have replaced, improved and optimised many of our IT solutions. With SyncForce, managing product information centrally and efficiently is now covered, which is an important prerequisite for the company’s growth and flexibility in the near future.”