Founded more than 140 years ago, Koninklijke (Royal) Buisman remain a well-known name in the production of caramelized sugar, coffee and chocolate for the consumer drinks industry. In the recent past, the business was taken over by Joep van Wessem and Dirk van Kappen, their acquisition the beginning of a major revamp for the company’s internal processes.

Over to a new system
“We have two production facilities,” explains Engelbert van der Weerd, controller at Buisman. “One is for the production of caramelized sugar, used mainly as an ingredient by other businesses in the food and drink production industry. The other is for our own consumer products: the instant coffee and chocolate specialties.” Even prior to the take-over, the business had moved to a new integrated ERP system to help better manage these distributed activities. However, benefits had failed to be realized, owing largely to the absence of a detailed implementation strategy.

Van der Weerd: “We hadn’t thought through the set-up of the new administration in enough detail. As such, the move to a new software system brought with it problems. That’s not the fault of the software – you can only hold yourself responsible if you didn’t get the plan straight before-hand. Before you start with an implementation, you have to know exactly how you’re going to map out your processes. Only then can you look at how the software is going to give you the right support. At Buisman, it had happened the other way around, and we struggled initially as a result.”

A completely new financial administration
Van der Weerd: “We had to begin again from scratch with our financial administration. Before that point, the administrations of the two factories were interlinked. We began by setting up a business unit structure, followed by a completely new cost-price system. The cost calculations were so complicated that it was practically impossible to trace their origins and the logic behind them. This was information we needed to know. We thought carefully about how the system should be logically organized and started again completely from scratch. It was a major project, but absolutely necessary.”

Facilitating growth with the right IT system
Over the past few years the ingredients business has seen significant organic growth. “Our integrated ERP set up has helped make this possible, now that it is properly aligned with how we conduct our business,” reveals Van der Weerd. “The E-purchase module is coupled to an MRP-run. The sales department enters a sales forecast into the system. Based on this and other parameters, the MRP-run then calculates what needs to be purchased for the related production to be realized. Thanks to the new set-up, we’re now able to run the ingredients side of the business based on demand, rather than pure inventory – great news for our cashflow.”

A front-office environment for every administration
“The next step was the re-implementation of an integrated front office system,” continues Van der Weerd. “Every administration now has its own front-office environment. The systems for the ingredients side of the business and for the consumer side now look totally different, underlining the clarity we’ve created by setting up separated administrations for the different parts of the business.”

Buisman have also implemented an incoming invoice registration solution. Van der Weerd: “It’s fantastic – the matching now carried out automatically. All in all, we now make full use of the logistic possibilities on offer, manage our stock more efficiently, documents and quality control now work from one database, information is easily shared throughout the business, and management are always fully up to date with the financial situation of the company.”