One of the most important concerns for companies in the food industry is the perishability of their product. While perishability is typically irrelevant for other manufacturers, it’s significant to food manufacturers for several reasons:
- They need to make sure food quality is good to comply with USDA and other food regulations
- They want to prevent food spoilage to avoid recalls and avoid wasting resources
- Finally, they want their food to be fresh so it tastes best.
So maintaining food quality is clearly crucial. But how can food processors keep track of this information and how can they better manage their food inventory so they’re not losing money due to spoiled goods?
One way is through lot tracking and serial number tracking capabilities found in food ERP software. Using serial numbers and lot numbers, companies can track information pertinent to particular items and groups of items. For example, when a supply of food/ingredients comes in in the first stages of production, it can be given a lot number. Companies then can attach information such as the expiry date to that lot number so that they know how long those items will last. This way, the expiry date of every item can be known and easily found.
Automate movement from fresh to frozen so food lasts longer:
In addition to that, food processors can also set up the dates they want to move items from one storage type to another. For example, with meat processors, they initially can store the meat in a refrigerator, but as it gets closer to a certain date, they need to move the items into a freezer for more long-term storage. With lot # functionality then, they could assign a date where this change in storage needed to take place (probably based on the expiry date), and automate the process. This would make the process more efficient and also ensure that no items were forgotten on the way, thus saving money by preventing spoilage.
Run quality checks to comply with regulations:
Next, food processors can also do quality checks on the food they have at any stage they desire. With a food ERP software, the quality inspector could do a check for items, identifying them by their lot/serial number. This would offer numerous benefits. For one, it would ensure all items were checked. A company could set up their system so that a quality check on every item was necessary before, e.g. a sale, or some other predetermined action. Another huge benefit is that all of this would be recorded on the company’s system. Therefore, if the company ran into any problems, they could more easily pinpoint the reason why.
One application of this would be for food recalls. Let’s say a recall for an item comes in due to some issue with the product. Because all the information is recorded on the ERP system, the company could very easily find which were the problem items and then issue a recall for those items only. This would make the recall process extremely quick and easy.
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