BACU & HEMA: transition to seamless collaboration with EDI

About BACU

BACU is a family business with a rich history. In more than 120 years, this industrial bakery has grown into the largest pastry bakery in the Netherlands, supplying bread and pastries daily to more than 1,000 Jumbo and HEMA stores across the country.

To give you an idea of the scale: every week, 900+ BACU employees make pastries for more than 1,500,000 people and bake more than 1,400,000 rolls. During King’s Day week, BACU prepares an impressive 2,500,000 tompouces (typical Dutch pastry)! Not surprisingly, the company relies on a flawless EDI process to manage that immense production and deliveries.

The challenge

After the (partial) acquisition of HEMA by Jumbo, BACU had the opportunity to take over the former HEMA bakeries. This takeover meant almost a doubling of sales for the company: BACU saw sales rise from 80 million to 150 million euro.

Until then, the HEMA bakeries were part of HEMA and ran on the same systems as the retail organization. Since BACU is an independent company, it has had the ambition from day 1 to convert the processes and systems to the uniform standard within BACU.

With this decision, the aim was to phase out SAP, which the HEMA bakeries were working with, and switch to a combination of AFAS (financial software) and FOBIS (ERP software) which BACU had been working with satisfactorily for many years.

As agreed with HEMA, BACU could only continue working with SAP for a limited time before it had to switch to BACU’s systems. Also, BACU did not want to leave the employees of the acquired bakeries in turmoil any longer than necessary. So there was a lot of work to be done!

The solution

This challenge meant that the systems and processes of the HEMA bakeries had to be redesigned. To meet this challenge, BACU enlisted the help of two parties:

  • FTI consulting to lead the project on the IT side with Samir Belhadj in the role of project manager.
  • OMS International to set up and manage the EDI messaging between BACU and HEMA.

The choice to work with OMS was an easy one says Erik Weerts, CFO at BACU:

“We already had experience working with OMS International in our cooperation with Jumbo. We appreciated the collaboration with OMS so much that we did not consider working with another party at all.”

Erik Weerts, CFO bij BACU

It is crucial for BACU that the primary process runs continuously, so this was a requirement for the project, says Samir of FTI Consulting:

“Business continuity was not to suffer. The HEMA stores needed to be as unaware as possible that a very big change was going on in the background. Production and delivery to HEMA had to run smoothly at all times.”

OMS was actively involved in determing what a flawless process would look like. Together with Samir and BACU, OMS came up with an efficient EDI messaging process. A process that has the right checks and notifications, so that timely action can be taken when things are not going as they should.

Erik Weerts explains what he appreciates about the partnership with OMS:

“OMS is characterized by a flexible attitude and their agility. Even if we need them on Sundays or have last minute adjustments, they are there for us. The OMS consultants also think along proactively in design the process and they dare to hold up a mirror to us when necessary.

In their expert role, they use years of experience with other customers to help us along. They fulfill the role as a crucial business partner very well.”

Support & management

Precisely because continuity is so crucial for BACU, the company chooses to outsource support and management to OMS International. Erik explains how he came to that choice:

“There are a lot of steps that an order has to go through before someone on the production line starts baking an apple pie. In addition, the order flow from HEMA to BACU takes place at night, when everybody is asleep.

If there is a hitch in the exchange of messages, action must be taken immediately. That is the main reason why we chose Managed Services from OMS: so we know that our primary process always continues to run.

OMS understands that this is our core, our lifeline. When an unexpected hickup occurs in the order flow, OMS is immediately notified. This means action will be taken and someone will be called out of bed to solve the problem.”

That this was sorely needed became clear on one deliberate early morning, says Samir of FTI Consulting:

“We experienced once that at 5 a.m. we didn’t receive any orders from HEMA. At OMS, we immediately got a capable consultant on the line. This was not a 1st line employee who had to transfer the problem to another department, which you sometimes experience with other parties, but an expert and adequate person who knew how to solve the problem immediately.

That’s what OMS is all about: people with substance who are willing to shift gears when needed. They know what they are doing and are available when you need them.”

The result

The most important result for BACU is achieved: the final farewell to HEMA’s processes and systems and a thorough new process according to the BACU standard that ensures continuity of production and delivery.

HEMA sends its orders to BACU on a daily basis. This triggers the production and delivery process at BACU, where the HEMA bakeries are individually informed of exactly what will be delivered that day. The invoicing process is also fully automated.

“Especially because we deal with large quantities of fresh food every day, it is critical that our products are delivered to our customers on time and in full. EDI is the perfect communication solution to support this process. Without EDI, we are nowhere,” says Erik Weerts.