“I believe that the sky’s the limit with this system as long as we have a great company like Softengine supporting it.”
Rosangela Borruso, Vice President
- Name: Castle Importing, Inc.
- Location: Fontana, CA
- Industry: Food & Beverage
- Products: Cheeses, Oils, Peppers
- Website: www.castleimporting.com
- System: SAP Business One ERP – Food One by Softengine
Castle Importing, Inc. is an Italian family business with roots in the cheese industry dating back more than half a century. The company’s name is derived from the family’s hometown of Castellammare del Golfo in northwest Sicily. Originally, their business focused on the processing of the standard sizes of hard Italian cheeses and then expanded to include custom cheese blends, private label programs and a line of high-quality Mediterranean olive oil products. Currently, with its state-of-the-art processing facility (over 70,000 square feet), Castle has expanded its product line with cheeses that can be processed into an infinite variety of packaging options for both retail and wholesale markets.
As a large-scale producer of grated and shredded cheeses, as well as custom blends, Castle Importing, Inc. employs a highly complex procurement, production, packaging and shipping cycle that culminates in the delivery of finished products to its retail and wholesale customers. Freshness and food safety are of paramount importance to Castle and to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which mandates that all food processing companies have the capability to “trace” every “ingredient” in their “recipes” – commencing with the initial purchase of raw materials from their vendors through sales, production, packaging and shipping.
In the food industry, despite all possible precautions, the potential for a product recall is always present, and if a recall is warranted, it behooves a food-based company to have fully integrated systems in place in order to “trace” the exact cause of the problem and to take immediate corrective action. Until recently, Castle Importing utilized a manual “pen-and-paper” approach to conduct the tracing procedure required in the event of a product recall, which proved increasingly time-consuming, labor-intensive and risky as the company grew.
“Whenever we conducted a “mock” product recall, we had to assemble a team of at least five co-workers to painstakingly examine scores of logs that contained records of receipts of raw materials, production data (including labeling and packaging), sales and customer data (including any special instructions) and shipping information. Since our systems were manual, it took too long to pinpoint the cause of the recall and the exact quantities involved in our simulation.” Rosangela Borruso, Vice President
In early 2011, Borruso and her colleagues began to evaluate software options that could streamline their business processes, especially MRP, warehouse management, lot tracing for recalls and FDA food audits, as well as commissions and rebates for their sales force and customers.
Softengine not only had an impressive track record of successful, high-ROI implementations of SAP Business One, they also had developed a complementary SAP software extension program that was designed expressly for food-based businesses – Food One©. Together, this powerful combination could deliver superior financial management and inventory control functionality, plus complete traceability of every step and ingredient in their complex production process. Armed with this solution, Castle Importing could conduct quick and precise recall practice runs and maintain total compliance with all FDA requirements.
Central to the new solution was the optimization of its tracing capabilities, including a new feature called “Multi-Level Trace,” which automatically traces every step and ingredient of the entire cycle backward from the shipping documents received by the customer to the initial purchase order sent to the vendor.
With its network of sales reps and brokers, and unique terms established for each customer, Castle Importing needed its new system to handle multiple commissions and rebate types.
Softengine augmented the core functionality in SAP Business One to create Sales Order and Purchase Order Guides, basically catalogs of items designed to streamline the ordering process between Castle Importing and its business partners (customers and vendors).
Leaving behind the manual systems they had relied upon for so many years wasn’t easy, but Rosangela Borruso has seen the light. “I don’t like change or surprises and I had a lot of resistance at first to totally revamping our business systems,” said Borruso. “But now that we have been live with SAP Business One – Food One for some time, our ability to track everything in our complex production processes down to the smallest detail has saved us so much time and money! From the initial purchase order to production to invoicing and shipping, this solution pulls everything together. Plus, our financial information is always up to date and accessible in real time, so we never have to wait for nightly or weekly postings. In fact, this solution is so powerful; we have barely scratched the surface on all of its capabilities.”
“I believe that the sky’s the limit with this system as long as we have a great company like Softengine supporting it,” added Borruso. “Any time we need a new customized report or we have an issue that requires immediate resolution, Softengine responds quickly and I come out smelling like a rose! Where would we be without SAP and Softengine?”