Something new to blame on enterprise software projects

This might be a first: An IT project is facing blame for a botulism contamination.
Keith ButtonAugust 20, 2013

The world’s largest dairy exporter, Fonterra of New Zealand, is looking into its IT systems in the wake of a botulism scare that led to a partial ban of Fonterra products in China and a total ban in Russia this month, according to a ZDNet article.

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Then again, the connection between botulism and the company’s SAP enterprise software project could be just a coincidence, the article notes. The original contamination was traced to a dirty pipe at a plant in New Zealand, but it spread to a plant in Darnum, Australia, that blended ingredients for infant formula. The enterprise software project may have affected the company’s ability to identify or track batches, ZDNet reported.

According to the article:

“While Fonterra isn’t commenting on its IT systems, the company has over a long period been standardising onto SAP enterprise software in a project that has cost hundreds of millions of dollars.
Fonterra spent around NZ$230 million in a project dubbed ‘Jedi’ and completed in 2006. After a pause, it announced in 2010 it would invest NZ$110 million more to spread SAP into its consumer brands business and manufacturing plants on both sides of the Tasman.

Documents posted (PDF) by the company for its suppliers indicate its Australian operations were being shifted to SAP in March and June 2013, the same time as the first detection of the contamination at Darnum.

That could be a coincidence.”

Here is the full article.

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