SAP, Deloitte focus jointly on food industry

In a move aimed largely at helping companies meet new regulatory requirements for food traceability, German business software vendor SAP AG and certain members of the Deloitte Touche Thomatsu consulting group have agreed to collaborate in the development of new preconfigured software and service packages targeting midsize food and beverage producers, SAP said Wednesday in a statement.

While the new range of packaged software and services will help food and beverage makers increase their operational efficiency in areas such as waste reduction and batch control, a key focus will be to enable them to meet new levels of product traceability required by the Global Food Safety Initiative and, in particular, new food safety regulations implemented in the U.S. and European Union, SAP said.

"The U.S. and Europe are requiring much higher levels of traceability," said Wolfgang Peter, director of SAP's consumer product software unit. "To achieve this, food producers will need new procedures and, in particular, new tools. RFID (radio frequency identification) technology will play a major role on the distribution side."

A new version of mySAP SCM (supply change management) software, slated for release next month, will extend support for warehouse and logistics processes by incorporating information from RFID tags. The changes build on the earlier release of SAP's Auto-ID Infrastructure, a component of its Netweaver integration platform.

Many of the other functions required by food producers already exist in the company's mySAP ERP (enterprise resource planning) product and new ones will be added moving ahead, Peter said.

"With our new alliance, we aim to help midsize companies in the food and beverage industry -- quickly and cost-efficiently -- implement software systems designed to streamline their operations and meet new regulatory requirements," Peter said. "We are very aware of their ROI (return on investment) concerns."

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