Integrated IT solution and process digitalisation

‘We need digital power to make rapid progress.’

Kilian Zemp, Managing Director and owner of petZEBA Ltd

The story in brief:

Pet food specialist and family business petZEBA has undergone a remarkable digital transformation to date. And given the promise of further success, it is not done yet.

Index cards with customer data, orders received by fax and picking lists on Excel spreadsheets were considered state-of-the-art practices when Kilian Zemp joined his parents’ business as a salesperson in 2009. Even during his initial training to become a multi-skilled mechanic, the current owner and managing director was fascinated by machine programming. It’s no surprise then that he saw a lot of potential for optimisation at petZEBA: he wanted to use digital tools to radically simplify the company’s processes.

About petZEBA Ltd

  • Trade in animal feed for dogs, cats and horses
  • Family-run company in the canton of Lucerne
  • Currently 33 employees and growing

The Swisscom project

  • High-speed optical fibre internet connection
  • Installation and operation of data cloud, WLAN access points, etc.
  • Switch to Microsoft Teams telephony


The product in use

Integrated IT solution

Full infrastructure, telephony, cloud, support and maintenance solution at a fixed monthly price.

Visibility of operations at last

‘Previously, we were unable to access customer data while on the go,’ recalls Kilian Zemp. ‘We were essentially flying blind in sales and relying on index cards.’ The first step he took was to equip field staff with laptops – and replace the index cards with a CRM system. Shortly afterwards, all employees were given company e-mail addresses. The next phase saw the introduction of an ERP system and a VPN for secure internet access. So was it now just a matter of sitting back and letting the business flourish? Far from it, according to Kilian Zemp: ‘Our range had increased over time to include more than 800 items. In 2017, the ERP system had reached the limit of its abilities. For example, it did not automatically calculate discounts. Orders therefore had to be checked biomechanically, so to speak.’

Greater impetus through automated processes

Kilian Zemp was convinced that it should be possible to automate orders, approvals, picking and shipping in such a way that only spot checks would be needed. While evaluating solutions for this, he discovered the potential of SAP. ‘However, an IT specialist advised me against this,’ he says. ‘He warned that it would lead us into certain bankruptcy. I thought, is that really the case? I sought sound advice and decided on SAP Business ByDesign. It was important to me to use a cloud-based ERP.’ The transition pushed the company to its extremes, says Kilian Zemp. ‘But what a cool experience! In just four months, we introduced SAP, redefined our processes and migrated the data.’

The effort has paid off: orders now flow directly to the handheld scanners of logistics employees. ‘We have reduced our throughput times from four hours to four minutes. And our customers are getting a better service. For example, they automatically receive a tracking number and we can guarantee 99.9% product availability. In addition, our error rate across all of our sales and logistics processes, including the integrated services of freight forwarders and parcel service providers, has fallen to under 0.4%.’ Some employees were less than enthusiastic about the system changeover, adds Kilian Zemp. ‘It was important to explain to them why this was being done: it’s more satisfying to spend time supporting our customers and having interesting discussions, than typing out orders for hours.’

Kilian Zemp, Geschäftsführer und Inhaber petZEBA AG

‘For strong growth we need a high degree of digitalisation.’

Kilian Zemp, Managing Director and owner of petZEBA Ltd

ICT outsourcing and implementation

Speaking of efficiency gains, Kilian Zemp has also freed up a lot of his time by outsourcing ICT operations to Swisscom. Raphael Heiz, who jointly oversees the IT setup with him, initiated and led the successful outsourcing project. ‘Thanks to the integrated ICT solution, I am now completely relaxed and no longer have to worry about printer connections or the like,’ says Kilian Zemp with satisfaction. ‘Swisscom provides new WLAN access points in the warehouse on demand, as well as digital workstations ready for new employees. It’s also reassuring to know that we have real professionals taking care of our cybersecurity. Today we have an ICT infrastructure at the level of a large company. We need digital power to make rapid progress.’