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spices on a table

Hela Gewürzwerk Herman Laue GmbH produces and sells ketchup, spice sauces, spice mixtures and raw spices as well as special articles for the meat, sausage, fish, dairy and gourmet food industries and for the gastronomy as well as bulk consumers worldwide. Hela has been represented in the ketchup market segment in Germany since 1963 with the well-known curry spice ketchup and today occupies a market-leading position in this segment in food retailing.

Hela was founded in 1905 by Hermann Laue in Hamburg's Schanzenviertel as a gut and spice retailer. In 1989, due to the need for expansion, the company moved its headquarters to Ahrensburg, where production takes place on the 86,000 square metre site with modern production facilities and a high-tech laboratory. Certification according to IFS Food (International Featured Standards Food) is Hela's commitment to state-of-the-art technology and top-quality products.

At the Ahrensburg location, the company employs almost 400 people, worldwide 660 people work for Hela. The company has 11 branches in Austria, Switzerland, the Netherlands, China, Singapore and Canada as well as joint ventures in Chile and Australia.

"We are always delighted with the fast, qualified and friendly support provided by the bitfarm support team. The range of services is considerable. Individual special requests can also be fulfilled on request".

Team leader IT system support, Hela Gewürzwerk Hermann Laue GmbH

bitfarm-Archiv DMS at Hela

In 2014, the Document Management System installed at Hela up to that point was to be replaced. The declared goal was to save costs and make the changeover as easy as possible for the employees. Therefore, the new DMS should be easy to use for users and administrators, ideally function similarly to the system to be replaced, and with the same range of functions, cause less expenditure.

With bitfarm-Archiv, the project managers opted for a system based on open source for which no license fees are incurred. The clearly structured and intuitive user interface made an uncomplicated introduction without much training possible. Thanks to the open architecture and numerous plug-ins, the DMS could also be easily adapted to the specific requirements of Hela.

Today, 80 employees from Hela's accounting, sales and IT departments work with the DMS, and the digital archive already contains around 2 million documents.

filling plant for Curry Spice Ketchup at Hela

Central Archive with high-performance Full-Text Search

Initially, the Document Management System was mainly used as a central archive for invoices, delivery notes, specifications and other documents. The direct transfer of invoices and deliveries from SAP ERP and access to the archived documents via SAPwere also quickly provided thanks to the existing archive link and RFC interfaces of the DMS.

Users particularly appreciate the fast full-text search of bitfarm-Archiv, which enables intuitive access and saves a lot of time. The graphical user interface of the administrator program also makes it very easy to create entry masks and adapt other structures. Programming knowledge is not required and changes can be made during operation.

In addition, the differentiated assignment of rights, which regulates both the access and the use of documents, as well as the continuous logging of all actions in the DMS, convinced Hela right from the start.

Efficient Contract Management

Meanwhile Hela also manages contracts with bitfarm-Archiv. The responsible employees or their representatives are automatically notified when contracts expire, taking into account the respective notice periods. This leaves enough time to check the conditions and necessity of a contract and to take appropriate steps. The automatic renewal of contracts that are no longer required and those with unfavorable conditions is thus a thing of the past.

In addition, the significantly accelerated access to documents is also noticeable when it comes to contracts. Instead of time-consuming searching in folders, all information on existing contracts can be conveniently retrieved with just a few mouse clicks.

bitfarm-Archiv not only ensures optimized processes in contract management at Hela. The extensive automation options free employees from standard tasks, such as manual input during document capture, so that administrative costs are also reduced.

Luftbild des Hela-Werks


The introduction of bitfarm-Archiv not only streamlined the cost structure compared to the previous system, but also created opportunities for digitizing other application areas.

As a next step, Hela plans to advance the use of the bitfarm app for tablets and smartphones to enable mobile access to the document archive for employees in production. Furthermore, bitfarm-Archiv is to be increasingly used as a workflow management system in the future. No new components have to be installed, because the software contains these functions from the beginning. How and when they are used is always left to the customer.

"The fact that our DMS 'takes on a life of its own' is not an unknown phenomenon," says Heino Schneider, Managing Director of bitfarm GmbH. "The full potential of the DMS is often only revealed when it is used in practice".