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Product development in the process industry – Project report from Bell Food Group AG

SAP Recipe Development: The heart of the product life cycle

Product life cycles keep getting shorter. This poses major challenges to the process and food industries. In addition to the recipes themselves, legal requirements such as GMP, food legislation, and labeling requirements have to be taken into account, along with restrictions on approval aimed at protecting consumers, and checked meticulously in product development projects that can be highly complex.

However, speed is a particularly important success factor in the initial phase – from the idea through to recipe development and the compliance check – to achieve an early smooth launch. The necessary process requires that diverse specialist departments, such as R&D, procurement, production, and marketing are closely integrated, and that they can carry out their activities in a coordinated manner.

That’s why product development requires digital support for the development process that is integrated throughout the company. Proprietary solutions support individual aspects in the areas of development, specification management, approval, product design, and the like.

As one of the major ERP vendors, SAP offers an end-to-end application called SAP Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) . SAP Recipe Development (RD) is an important component of this application,

which is used to define and manage a variety of master data in the product development framework. Recipes are the central element here and contain information about the composition of the product and the production method. RD recipes can be transferred to production master data in the framework of handovers to manufacturing.

What are the arguments in favor of including RD as the solution of choice in considerations regarding the SAP S/4HANA transformation?

1. Complete integration with SAP PLM

Recipe development activities immediately follow project initiation by the project manager and accompany the recipe developer from the definition of the product specifications and the actual recipe creation through to the compliance check and handover to production.

2. Consideration of production prerequisites

The processing levels and corresponding process steps are taken into account during creation of the recipes. In addition, product streams and by-products can be mapped between the individual production steps. The requirements for equipment and the corresponding production parameters can also be defined.

3. End-to-end digitalization of product development

The recipe formulas can be structured with regard to a variety of calculation parameters, such as mass or volume, and they cover all inputs, intermediate products, and end products.

4. Central management of all product details

Management of the product specifications makes it possible to maintain raw materials, semi-finished and finished products, along with substance compounds, nutrients, and ingredients. Physical and chemical information, as well as packaging information related to mandatory declaration or compliance, is also taken into account.

5. Real-time compliance checks

Real-time compliance checks can be conducted based on official regulations and in-house rules, to ensure that products are legally compliant.

6. Integrated collaboration and analytics

Both the company-internal team and suppliers and customers can collaborate throughout the process, and can exchange information on changed requirements, product data, and documents in real time. The flow of documents and information with the involved partners can also be controlled through process routes.

And that’s not all!

This breakdown of facts and features demonstrates the focus with which RD is implemented and continues to be developed.

In the future, recipe developers will have access to new functions for requirements management, the compliance check, and subsequent labeling, among others.

New technologies are also to be integrated, with possibilities for digital support for creation of recipe formulas, integration of process automation through machine learning, and integration of the PLM processes with change management.

Product lifecycle management, and recipe development in particular, are areas that will continue to increase in importance. That’s why we continue to develop the respective solutions in close coordination with our customers, to provide comprehensive, optimum support in the SAP S/4HANA environment.
– Jürgen Scholl, Product Manager PLM for Process Industries & Chief Product Owner PLM Recipe Development

As part of its changeover to SAP S/4HANA, Bell Food Group AG has already successfully commenced the switch from the previous version of SAP RD to the current version. After a concept phase in which all the requirements, specifications, and modifications, including priorities, were identified – Bell is now in the implementation phase.

Scheer GmbH is handling all implementations involving materials, labels, and recipes, as well as configuring roles, performing integration tests, and finalizing the customizing. Finally, Bell and Scheer will wrap up the project with the go-live.

With the decision by Bell Food Group AG to consolidate all of its SAP ECC 6.0 systems in a single SAP S/4HANA instance, the necessary transformation from SAP RM to SAP RD was a key milestone in the project.

Major Bell-specific modifications in SAP RM have already been successfully implemented in collaboration with Scheer. With their specific knowledge in recipe management, Scheer was able to provide us with outstanding expertise.

Competence, fulfillment, and on-time performance are key success factors in our collaboration with Scheer, and they help us to successfully meet our objectives in this environment.

– Rolf Anti, Head of Business Architecture, Bell Food Group AG

Author: Eike Sander, Process Expert Consumer Goods & Retail