Butterball LLC: driving improvements and growth

Butterball LLC is producer of the renowned Butterball turkey, one of America's leading poultry brands. See how the company is using SAP software to reduce costs, enable rapid acquisitions, realize return on IT investment, and drive business improvements.

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    • Butterball, LLC, is partially owned by Smithfield Foods and Goldsboro Milling. Came to be as part of an acquisition of refrigerated meats from ConAgra. Formerly, we were Carolina Turkeys, a turkey company located in North Carolina. Been in business for about 20 years, $500 million company, and we acquired Butterball from ConAgra in October 2006. In 2005 Carolina Turkeys embarked on a project to implement SAP. We had legacy systems that were running well, but we wanted to be better positioned for growth. And the prophetic words of our CFO were that we wanted to grow through acquisition. On the one-year anniversary of our SAP go-live, we acquired Butterball. We did the initial project in six to seven months, which included HR, payroll, financials, procurement, and order to cash. So it was quite a project to do in that amount of time. So for a smaller company, again we were about a $500 million company then, to do an SAP implementation, and it was successful, it was on time and it was on budget, making use of the preconfigured food and beverage solution. We were just thrilled with it. Just as our team was catching their breath from all of this work, intense focus on the project, the acquisition was announced. And we brought the same team together that had delivered the first SAP project successfully, and we brought them on to do the acquisition project. We acquired them in October, we had to bring up HR payroll by the end of the year, and yes, that's right in the middle of Thanksgiving, a very, extremely busy shipping season. We were able to do that, again, building on the preconfigured food and beverage solution from SAP. We were able to bring in the new business, make whatever small modifications needed to be made. We had a tremendous go-live. We have definitely realized benefits and better visibility to our data, especially inventory. We're tracking a lot more transactions through the plant with our MRP implementation. The implementation of SAP more than paid for itself three times over with the acquisition project. If we had not even achieved any of the ROI – which I'm confident we did, but even if we hadn't – we more than three times paid for the cost of that project with the money we saved by being able to assimilate all of the new Butterball business into our instance of SAP. We are stabilized, we're real pleased with how the business is running. But now we're looking to drive some real improvements with some of the additional SAP modules. We're looking at PLM. We're looking at trade promotion management. There's a number of them that we're looking at and we're looking forward to implementing. We feel like that we have that good, strong foundation. We believe in the philosophy of crawl, walk, and run. So we're crawling pretty good, we're ready to walk and then run with SAP.
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