Bakery Bread Image by Pexels from Pixabay Zeelandia has leveraged Infor Coleman to enhance its ERP solution and deliver significant benefits to its sales operation. Zeelandia began its journey with Infor in 2017 when it selected Infor CloudSuite Food & Beverage and rolled it out initially across the Czech Republic and Slovakia, replacing Epicor iScala. The implementation has enabled the company to become truly connected using cloud-based technology.

The difference with cloud-based ERP solutions is that they continually improve. The advantage of the Infor platform is that it has developed Coleman as an AI platform that can further enhance the ERP solution. The company is now starting to leverage the Coleman AI capabilities, initially in the Czech Republic. It will soon roll them out across the Netherlands and the 30 countries it operates in.

No single solution is a panacea to all issues, and they often highlight inefficiencies. Zeelandia is a global player in the bakery ingredients business. The company has 3,200 employees worldwide dedicated to developing products tailored to local tastes and needs with a motto of “keep exploring”.

With over 10,000 individual prices, a wide variety of products and a massive customer base, the sales teams struggled to find the best recommendations for every client. Furthermore, the pricing of products was an additional headache. Preparing for a sales meeting could take 30 minutes alone. It was these two challenges that Zeelandia looked to solve.

The business needed a solution to provide insights from data rather than leveraging spreadsheets because of the volume of data concerned. It has now replaced spreadsheets with the AI and analytics platform that manages the volumes of data to provide recommendations for both product and pricing.

Infor Product Recommender

Michal Rada, Transformation leader and group ICT director AI, Zeelandia, commented: “We teamed up with the Coleman AI team of Infor to develop a solution which is a machine learning algorithm that crunches the historical data. Based on that it makes five proposals per customer ranked by attractiveness and also (the) probability of being successful with that proposal.”

The solution is delivered via a web or mobile browser powered by Infor Birst Analytics. With salespeople having around five meetings daily, it has saved over two hours per person daily.

Rada confirmed the difference and added: “We expect our revenues to grow. We see the time needed for our sales visit preparation to go down from 30 minutes to 5 minutes. You see how much previous time we save for our people to do something which adds value to both our business and our customers.”

Infor Price Recommender

The second challenge was around the pricing of products. Rada noted: “We were wasting so much time with pricing. That’s why we needed a system to help us with this problem. Right product to the right customer at the right price.”

While a product, once defined, varies little, the costs and, therefore, pricing of it constantly change. Recent supply chain disruptions have highlighted and exacerbated the issue. Ingredients vary in price constantly and are sometimes unavailable. Pricing needs to reflect these changes to maintain margins.

The previous solution relied on complex spreadsheets where errors occurred. They were no longer fit for purpose. Rada turned to Infor and Coleman AI to provide a solution that could ingest the latest data to provide accurate prices to the sales team. The intent, according to Rada, was “to deliver intelligent price recommendations that would find the sweet spot between customer satisfaction and company profits.”

In partnership with Infor, they developed the Infor Price Recommender. Benefits are expected, Rada added: “By using it, we expect a higher customer retention while keeping our margins or improving our margins.”

These recommendations made a huge difference to the sales teams that manage relationships with customers who have differing, complex requirements. The recommendations enable them to reduce the time for sale with the right offering, leading to increased sales and eventually profit.

It also helps with retention as the salesperson delivers the right product at the right price and at the right time for every customer. The system also enables sales to pitch products that are about to expire at better pricing to reduce the risk of wastage.

Infor highlighted the three key benefits to Zeelandia pricing:

  • Improved customer loyalty, offering the right price and understanding why
  • Meeting profitability goals with optimal pricing
  • Reduced time and costs through machine-generated pricing

The end of the beginning

Having completed the first two solutions, Rada intends to keep exploring Infor Coleman and find new solutions. Rada commented: “Our goal is to be a trusted partner with bakeries by offering them the right products at the right price so that they, in turn, can keep their customers happy and loyal.

“With Infor’s AI-driven recommendations for products and pricing, not only do our salespeople save time in preparing for customer meetings, but Zeelandia stays true to what we value most – customer intimacy.”

Next up is customer relationship management (CRM) data to provide “customer” or “opportunity” recommendations. Rada is not only focussing on Coleman to improve the analytics within the company. While he as a team exploring what is possible with Coleman, he also plans to become an early adopter of Infor’s hyper-automation solutions.

Marcel Koks, Infor industry & solution strategy director for food & beverage
Marcel Koks, Infor industry & solution strategy director for food & beverage

Marcel Koks, senior director of industry & solution strategy for Infor Food & Beverage, commented: “Our relationship with Zeelandia is testament to Infor’s ongoing commitment to innovation, working alongside our customers to deliver industry-specific solutions that address the challenges they face on a daily basis. We’re already looking forward to the next stage in Zeelandia’s digital journey and will continue to work in partnership with the team to deliver the solutions needed to underpin their ambitious business goals.”

Enterprise Times: What does this mean

Rada is showing the way for other IT leaders what it means to deploy a modern ERP solution. Not only does the system continuously improve, but IT needs to create a partnership with the vendor or partner that takes advantage of the latest technology they offer to bring value to the business.

In the past, one used to breathe a sigh of relief once the ERP project was complete. Today, organisations must have an attitude of continuous improvement, with the flexibility to adapt to changes that occur in the business environment. With the recommendation engines, Zeelandia has achieved that, and it will be interesting to see how its solution evolves over the next few years.


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