The BPC Group (Business Penetration & Consulting and Synergy Poland) continuously monitors the food industry, SME and corporate sectors, when selecting integrated ERP class solutions. These are manufacturers and distributors, who represent different branches, i.a., meat, dairy, fruit and vegetables processing. Each of them faces different problems related to computerization and expects assistance in different in different areas connected with selecting IT solutions.
For several years the food industry has been called the queen of Polish export. Every second raspberry, every third apple and every fifth potato sold abroad was grown in Poland, which is the eighth biggest exporter among the EU Member States. Presently, the majority of Polish export are meat and meat products (nearly 3% of Polish export) dairy products (1.1%), milk and cereal products (0.7%), fruit and vegetable products (0.7%). Poland is constantly strengthening its commercial relations with the Arab world, China, Singapore and Vietnam. The most recent data of the Central Statistical Office (GUS) for 2012 show the following:
- The food sector constitutes 18% of industrial production sold in Poland and 8% of the Gross Domestic Product;
- The value of sold produce is 204.6 billion;
- Agricultural and food products export constitutes 12.5% of total Polish export of goods.
Currently, there are nearly 2560 companies operating in the food industry, with employment of over 9 people. Only 5% of those are companies producing beverages, the rest manufactures food products. Nearly half employs up to 49 people, about 40% have between 50 and 249 employees, a little over 11% of companies employ a minimum of 250 people. The latter group generates as much as 63% of sales revenues of the entire industry. The share of large companies (250 or more employees) is higher among the beverage producers (14.1% of companies, generating 81% of sales revenues of the whole branch) than among the manufacturers of food products (10.9% of companies, 60% of sales revenues).
Chart: Food industry structure by number of employees.
The food industry is comprised of companies involved in processing of animal and plant products, secondary processing and production of stimulants. These products can be low-processed, or the effect of advanced technological and production processes. The food sector is governed by numerous legal regulations, determining quality standards. The food industry companies are obliged to comply with restrictive sanitary regulations, i.a., HACCP, GMP and GHP. Therefore, it is of paramount importance that the documentation generated by control points (CCP) indicate the manner of treatment of products supplied to the customer and the entire production process. Each CCP is governed by rigorous requirements, and has tolerance boundaries defined. Also, the frequency of measurement performance in control points is determined. The need of meeting specified sanitary standards in the EU involves high investment outlays for, first and foremost, machines and IT systems.