'the main data for our products was just lying around in multiple Excel spreadsheets'
Streamlining a complex recipe development process

Strauss originated as a dairy company, founded in the 1930s by a family that had immigrated to Israel. Growing steadily over time through innovation and collaboration, Strauss joined forces with the confectionary company Elite, becoming Strauss-Elite. Now known as Strauss Group Ltd, this international food and beverage company has a presence in 20 countries worldwide with headquarters in Israel. Strauss is Israel’s largest food manufacturer, a result of good business, heritage and an ability to understand the cultural requirements of this complex market.

Strauss runs a diverse range of business units, with product categories that include salads, dairy products, salty snacks and coffee products. Strauss has over 14,000 employees worldwide.

  1. FoodChain ID’s knowledge and expertise ensures tight integration with SAP for a seamless data management system.
  2. Data is compliant and the system is automatically creating our labels.
  3. A reliable and easily located single source of information for all SKUs and raw materials means faster and more accurate workflows and approvals
  4. Centralised information storage has resulted in improved business continuity.
  5. Intuitive user interface has meant fast user acceptance, cementing the project’s success.
  6. FoodChain ID’s pure focus on the food and beverage market brought an unparalleled depth of knowledge to the project
A Need for Simplification

Strauss Israel embarked on a project to replace their existing recipe management process. Different teams used a variety of systems and relied heavily upon Excel. This inconsistent approach was having a detrimental effect on the productivity of the R&D department, and a centralised system was urgently needed.

Considering the scale of Strauss Israel, it was crucial to find a system that would cope with the complexity involved. “Our first challenge was to create a unified process that all our business units could use” explained Dario Arditi, Director of Applications in IT. Multiple business units ran across different sites, each working in a slightly different way. This made it vital to create a central solution that everyone would recognise and respect. The second challenge was to find a system that would integrate effectively with the Strauss centralised ERP system (SAP). “Given most of the organisation works with a single installation of SAP, we knew it would be challenging to connect two systems”.

Prior to starting the project, inconsistencies and duplication of effort were common place. “We had different software installations, not only between plants, but also between teams and individuals” explained Dario. The variation in software usage led to inconsistencies in the way teams and business units worked. “Some teams developed their recipes in the software, others did it in Excel only using the centralised software to store the final data. There were many duplications; in some cases recipes were stored in triplicate”. The lack of visibility provided by the old system meant multiple versions were stored in different places, with teams unclear as to which was the correct version.

The variation also affected business continuity. When R&D technologists left the organisation, their data was as good as lost. Core data was inconsistently named and inconsistently filed; finding correct data quickly was almost an impossibility.

Manual Double Handling

Duplication of effort was also a big concern. Once a recipe was developed in the system, data was input into Excel and then shared with other team members. The recipients would then manually input this data into SAP. This additional effort took up needless time, and meant highly skilled R&D technologists were distracted from their primary task of recipe development. It also increased the risk of data input errors – the likelihood for user errors increasing with each manual input or data manipulation.

The lack of automation also made it difficult to adapt for different versions of the same product – there were no automated workflows or approvals; the system was basic and did little to support the scale of such a large organisation.

“We are a food company. It felt uncomfortable to know that the main data for our products was just lying around in multiple Excel spreadsheets.”

A Return to the Core Focus

After a rigorous tender process, Strauss selected food industry specialists FoodChain ID to work on this complex project. Strauss strongly believed that their new supplier must be able to create a unified system for all business units, whilst taking account of the unique challenges facing the food industry; Recipes & Specifications ticked all the boxes. Strauss were also impressed with the user-friendly interface and the ability of Recipes & Specifications to integrate with their existing SAP system. Having set up similar systems many times before, FoodChain ID’s experience in integrating with SAP was a crucial factor.

More than 20 years’ development and a pure focus on the food and beverage industry meant Recipes & Specifications software was uniquely positioned to support Strauss as they simplified their recipe management process. More than just “another” FoodChain ID used their in-depth knowledge of the food industry to create a system that would support the complex and demanding requirements of an organisation as vast as Strauss.

Despite the urgent need to streamline their systems, Strauss chose a phased approach to launch the new software. What may have appeared to be a cautious approach was the result of the complexity involved, and the huge amount of work needed. Transferring 1500 SKUs with their corresponding raw materials and data sheets was an almost overwhelming task.

Considering the cultural requirements of the Israeli market and the additional complexity that Kosher compliance demands, it was clear that Strauss had their work cut out. “The sheer amount of data that needs to be verified and input makes this a very long task”, commented Dario.

Over the course of 12 months and with the support of the FoodChain ID team, Strauss checked, repaired and input data into the new software, in parallel to running the existing business system. The pilot phase of the Recipes & Specifications software went live with a team of R&D technologists and Dario was impressed with how quickly the new software has helped reduce complexity and improve efficiency for the Strauss team: “we stretched our old systems to the limit – the difference with Recipes & Specifications is immediately clear: workflows are working well, data is compliant and we’re auto-creating labels with ease”.

Interested in learning how to streamline your recipe development process?

If you’re wondering how one piece of software manages multiple processes and data, our recent webinar provides an overview of the solution and a demonstration of how its features can accelerate new product development and make managing the lifecycle of your products easier.

Watch now

A Brighter and Simpler Future

It’s a delight for Dario to see how well the business adapted to Recipes & Specifications: “products are working well in the new system and users are learning the new system quickly” comments Dario. He’s also impressed with the way it empowered the Strauss team to lead the project, in no small part a result of FoodChain ID’s in-depth understanding of the food & beverage market. “The assistance and industry knowledge of FoodChain ID has been a huge benefit. Their proactivity and insight meant
they understood our complex requirements 100%. The training was so thorough we now only call for their help if we get stuck – it’s been a huge shift in the way we operate”.

Learn more about Recipes & Specifications by Hamilton Grant