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High-tech potato harvesting

Potatoes on the field

What do potatoes have to do with EDI?

When is the right time to switch from Web EDI to an integrated solution? The answer to this question varies from company to company. For example, many of EDITEL’s clients combine it with the switch to a new ERP system, which allows them to do everything at once. This was also the case for Dorfinger, who is the largest producer of potato, onion, and garlic in Lower Austria.

The business has been relying on the ERP system by the Styrian software company activeIT and on solutions by EDITEL for several years. As a supplier to all major retail chains who works with around 150 farmers, “smooth business communication is the be-all and end-all,” said operations manager Karlheinz Zelinger.

Dorfinger implemented the new ERP system traceNET by activeIT and concurrently switched from the Web EDI solution to an integrated solution. For Mr. Zelinger, this is an “important step towards modernization. Everything runs much more efficiently now,” he said. Karlheinz Zelinger is pleased with the solution’s user-friendliness: “The solution is very easy to use in our day-to-day business, which is why everyone involved is very happy with it.”

Expansion prompts switch

Dorfinger faced the decision of either holding on to the long-established structures and taking the next step towards expansion and positioning itself for the future. The family business has existed since 1919 and has since specialized in the cultivation of potatoes and onions, becoming a market leader. Dorfinger now employs around 100 people at two locations, where more than 50,000 tons of fresh potatoes, onions, and garlic are processed for major retail chains every year. The structures and processes that were in place before the conversion and expansion were outdated. The company was scattered across six locations and was not operating efficiently. To address this issue, the company opened a new facility in 2020, reducing the locations to two.

Dorfinger decided to expand the existing traceNET system. The full integration of the ERP system included the conversion from Web EDI to an integrated solution. The integrated solution for Electronic Data Interchange has, among other things, completely eliminated the need for manual data entry, which in turn has freed up resources. Digitalization has significantly improved processes along the supply chain. Furthermore, the company implemented a production efficiency and control system (PECS). For this purpose, Dorfinger teamed up with Christopher Immervoll from activeIT. PECS helps the company keep track of everything. After all, there are a lot of steps and information that require attention to detail, from delivery to sorting and dispatching.

Efficiency increase

Our EDI expert, project delivery manager Stefan Bednarik, was in charge of implementing the project: “Dorfinger had previously used our Web EDI solution. It’s a cost-effective way that allows companies with low transaction volumes to exchange data electronically with their commercial clients.” As a result of the switch, the order volume has increased rapidly and the retail chain REWE approached Dorfinger with the request to also switch to electronic despatch advices and invoices. At the end of the day, a complete data integration solution was implemented, resulting in significantly more efficient processes.

For Mr. Zelinger, the switch to an EDI solution that is integrated into the ERP system was “an important step towards modernization.” Also, “the solution is very easy to use in our day-to-day business, which is why everyone involved is very happy with it,” he said.

The project nicely illustrates the connection between potatoes, systems, and data. It also highlights the relevance of good teamwork, which in this case involved first and foremost ERP and EDI operations experts.

Symbolic image copyright Dorfinger KG

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