Benelux CIO interview: Benoît Dewaele, Vandemoortele

Benelux CIO interview: Benoît Dewaele, Vandemoortele

CIO of Ghent-headquartered food community says the IT department’s essential challenges are bettering digital buyer experiences, serving to enforce automation in flowers and strengthening cyber security


  • David Benady

Printed: 14 Jun 2021 9: 32

Benoît Dewaele, chief knowledge officer at Belgian food community Vandemoortele, is having a discover to set with the cooks of Europe.  

They are key possibilities for the community’s differ of frozen bakery goods, margarines, culinary oils and fat. From La Pâtisserie Du Chef top price cakes to St-Villepré butter, these treats are broadly former in European catering.  

Operators of restaurants, bars, resorts and cafes in total elevate Vandemoortele brands thru wholesalers and retailers. However discovering ways to win shut with them straight away is key to securing repeat enterprise and wining them in the loop about unique products and provides. 

“It comes down to getting contact with influential leads,” Dewaele tells Pc Weekly. “Now we possess got to search out ways thru social media or mass marketing campaigns to rob them, then we ought to nurture them and inspire them and perform imprint awareness on our company and branded internet sites, to possess a roughly inside of most verbal exchange with them thru portals.”

Even supposing enticing possibilities just isn’t strictly a job for IT, Dewaele says his workforce work in shut collaboration with marketing to motivate promote products digitally and enhance buyer expertise – for end-customers as neatly as retailers and wholesalers. 

Dewaele oversees a centralised IT department that delivers products and companies to operations and sales locations of work at some level of 12 European international locationsWith 2020 revenues of €1.2bn, Vandemoortele has 30 manufacturing flowers at some level of Europe and is exclusive in the US. The IT workforce, primarily based mostly at the company’s head place of job in Ghent, Belgium, comprises about 40 in-residence staff and a identical selection of exterior consultants.  

The major challenges going thru the IT unit are boosting the digital buyer expertise, serving to enforce automation in flowers and, clearly, cyber security.  

“It’s not loads expertise that is slowing us down, but its adoption by other folks in the organisation”

Benoît Dewaele, Vandemoortele

Dewaele believes IT has made essential achievements in these areas, but acknowledges there could be a ought to transfer extra instant. “It’s not loads expertise that is slowing us down, but its adoption by other folks in the organisation,” he says. “Folks on the unique time are soundless working in a extra classical marketing and communications ambiance and they also ought to win a scheme to win conversant in digital marketing and digital verbal exchange, which is extra in accordance with tools and recordsdata.” 

Even so, he’s good enough with IT’s most modern successes. “We efficiently delivered a tall enterprise transformation venture the attach we launched a European present company, splitting up our commercial entity from the manufacturing entities,” he says.   

Anvaried crucial venture is unifying the corporate’s customer relationship management (CRM) techniques which possess sprouted up over time, partly thru a sequence of acquisitions.  

“In operations, now we possess a backbone for warehouse administration, now we possess a backbone for plant maintenance, now we possess all commercial exercise standardised on SAP,” says Dewaele. “However the attach we are very scattered is in CRM. Tright here now we possess four or 5 varied techniques dating from the past and now we’re cleaning it up to 1 central CRM gadget.  

“For us, that is serious for the rationale that second it’s good to win digital marketing and sort up portals, it is serious to possess one CRM gadget in the support end, in every other case you end up connecting to 5 or six varied techniques, which makes things extra sophisticated.” 

Automating labour-intensive aspects of the corporate’s operations could be a critical job at Vandemoortele. Here’s primarily in areas such as packaging, warehousing and checking products. Inspections of products are soundless largely handbook, so the corporate is investing in visible inspection automation. It would possibly perchance perchance be increasing warehouse automation with automated guided autos and inserting in increased automation for the packaging lines.  

“The automation of engineering in manufacturing is especially performed by a separate department, but these machines, these closed techniques ought to mix with the backbone SAP gadget – that is the attach IT comes into the image,” says Dewaele. “We role up the network in manufacturing and we role up the connectivity and integration with the community techniques,” he acknowledged.  

By method of demonstrating the associated price that IT delivers to the enterprise, he aspects to the gentle transition to work from home (WFH) at some level of lockdown.  

“Technically we were ready [for WFH] due to the selections we had made prior to now,” says Dewaele. “We were on [Microsoft] Divulge of enterprise 365, we had virtual desktop infrastructure in role to distribute legacy applications and we had security and multifactor authentication to securely win entry to our applications from home. It used to be conceptually already possible from the initiating in divulge to create money working from home.”  

The enviornment of the pandemic has been operational in resolution to technical, he says, for the rationale that sample of search recordsdata from modified as restaurants closed and other folks ordered products thru e-commerce.  

Every other critical IT venture for Vandemoortele has been migrating computing to Microsoft Azure cloud products and companies. The company migrated its SAP instance with satellite tv for laptop techniques (the suite of techniques at some level of the core SAP manager) into a cloud datacentre. 

Migrating to the public cloud

This has saved money on the previous datacentre contract, even supposing Dewaele concedes that migrating to the public cloud can work out extra costly in due direction. However the advantages lie in the flexibleness and innovation that public cloud brings. This also helps sort staff expertise and creates job pleasure.   

Dewaele, who has a stage in civil engineering and mechanics, held so much of senior roles sooner than turning into CIO at Vandemoortele in January 2019. He spent six years at Accenture implementing SAP for varied corporations and processes, he used to be a present chain engineer, venture manager and IT director at pharma substances company Capsugel, and he also spent 5 years as an utility manager at chocolate maker Barry Callebaut 

Open air work, he is fascinated about biking, snowboarding and padel, a tennisrecognize racquet game performed in fours which has loved gargantuan growth in Belgium at some level of the pandemic as one among the few community activities allowed at some level of lockdown. He particularly values “après-sport” – having a drink with chums after a game.  

For the future, Dewaele believes IT departments ought to level of interest on enterprise-serious projects, in resolution to dedicating time and energy to managing day-to-day operations. Systems ought to turn into simple-to-operate commodities handled by staff in the various departments, freeing IT consultants for extra crucial work. This suggests boosting automation whereas rationalising and standardising IT products and companies to search out financial savings.

“My funds stays mounted, however the extra financial savings I perform on infrastructure in operating activities, the extra I’m able to spend on projects,” he says. 

There will be many crucial projects for IT to level of interest on in coming years – but by hook or by crook, this also would possibly be the cooks of Europe who manual Vandemoortele’s fortunes.

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