Streamlining procurement & data mgmt

Fréderique van Alfen-Las

Project Lead Campus and Facilities

Operation Size

24,000 students - 5,000 employees - 18 catering & food locations

Business type

Institutional Food Services

Modules

Product development, Procurement, Inventory, Production

Centralised F&B management in a data-driven organisation

With over 24,000 students, 5,000 employees and 18 catering outlets, the restaurant operation of Radboud University is an immense undertaking. The F&B management is centralized in Apicbase.

Radboud is the only university in the Netherlands to have the entire catering operation in-house. The institute is known for its high level of education.

Quality is key, that also counts for everything that goes on behind the scenes. 

The ‘Food and Drink Support Department’, for example, is continuously engaged in process optimisation.

“We examine what works for us and continue to improve”, project leader Fréderique Van Alfen-Las says.

The team switched from a complex folder structure with outdated spreadsheets to Apicbase’s F&B management platform.

 

 

Fréderique van Alfen-Las

Apicbase calculates exactly what the teams have to order. I can't exactly say how many hours it saves us every week, but it's a lot.

Five challenges

Radboud realised that, if they wanted to make decisions based on actual data, they needed a solution that could process those numbers and provide insight into purchasing, inventory, food cost and sales.  

  1. Central direction: due to the lack of a central management system for the catering outlets, the university had no idea of the actual figures. Purchase mistakes remained invisible or only surfaced after a time-consuming review of the invoices.
  2. Procurement issues: the various catering outlets procured independently of one another. There was no reliable record of the actual stock. The department missed out on volume benefits and there were issues with dead stock, while for other products inventory levels were too high.
  3. Spreadsheet hell: move away from spreadsheets and adopt a specialised solution for F&B management. On one hand for the sake of time efficiency, on the other hand to be able to manage based on clear data instead of gut-feeling.
  4. Automate allergen information: allergen information should be accurate at all times. If a recipe changes, then the allergen labels must also change.
  5. Increase employee awareness: by giving operational staff an insight in what they are  purchasing and wasting, they get a better understanding of the impact they have on the profitability of the company.

The aha moment

An internal audit following a tender for F&B revealed Radboud was handling no less than 14 different suppliers, possibly even more. No one could tell for sure. Procurement actions and stock levels were unclear.

Project leader Fréderique Van Alfen-Las says: “It made us realise that if we wanted to base our decisions on actual data, we needed a system that could actually process the numbers.”

Having real-time F&B data at our fingertips had a massive impact on business and operations.

The solution

Radboud University manages F&B for 18 restaurant outlets in Apicbase—from recipe management to purchases. 

  1. Recipe database: the department added recipes and the assortment to the Apicbase back-of-house platform. Each catering outlet became a separate outlet in the system.
  2. Central management: the outlets have access to the central recipe and menu database and employ the computing power of the system to predict procurement and track the inventory.
  3. Inventory management Stock counts are no longer done in elaborate spreadsheets but are fed directly into the system by the employees via tablet.

    The theoretical and actual inventory can be compared immediately. Inconsistencies and errors are noticed immediately rather than, as before, many weeks later after manually analyzing numerous invoices.

  4. Procurement: main supplier Bidfood was integrated into the ordering module. At the touch of a button, parts lists are now converted into purchase orders that are processed directly by Bidfood. The two systems operate as one.
  5. Multi-outlet the department manager of ‘Food & Beverage’ centrally manages the catering company, and tracks the different catering locations in one dashboard containing real-time data. And no longer, as before, through a clutter of folders, outdated stocktakings and invoice analyses.

    Thanks to user permissions for use and par-levels for orders, the management eliminates an entire range of possible human errors in advance.

Radboud Apicbase

There is an instant comparison of the theoretical and actual inventory levels.

Undue stock variances and purchasing errors are noticed immediately.

Convincing IT

“We’ve considered various systems, Apicbase was the only one that met all the requirements”, Fréderique says.

“This includes the strict demands our IT department has when it comes to adding a new software to the already existing ecosystem.”

The IT team looked into how Apicbase would integrate with the existing infrastructure. After all, Radboud Uni isn’t a small snack bar. All the software solutions they deploy should be compatible.

“Apicbase is a powerful solution. It supports centralized management, provides actionable insight into the actual numbers and is easy to use. Having access to the real-time data in a no-hassle-way has had a massive impact on our business and operations.”

Great support

The Apicbase team consists of nice people who want to keep things moving forward all the time. They help find solutions and continue to optimize the system.

“We consider Apicbase more as a partner than a supplier.”

In the future, Radboud plans to implement more Apicbase modules. “We only need to add sales analytics to have the entire package.”

Modules in use

Radboud University monitors their entire catering operation using four off-the-shelve Apicbase modules.

Product Development

A central hub for recipes, menus & data. Accessible groupwide.

Inventory

Prevent waste & shortages. Monitor stock at every location.

Procurement

Order what you need, when you need it. Nothing more.

Production Planning

Plan production, generate BOMs & monitor execution.

Create a recipe,
Build an empire