ERP software connects your entire organization, allowing you to cut costs and streamline processes. As a food manufacturer though, you have certain key requirements. For one, you have a perishable product, and you want to keep it as fresh as possible. Secondly, food is open to contamination, so you need to have methods to deal with possible recalls. How can a food manufacturing ERP help you accomplish these goals?
Below, we summarize the top characteristics and explain how they can help your business. Here are the top 5 ERP features for food manufacturers:
- Food Traceability
Traceability is a key feature for any food manufacturing ERP, as it allows you to both comply with regulations and properly respond to cases of food contamination. Traceability refers to the ability to track for any particular item:
- the production processes it’s been through
- where it’s been stored/transported
- where its original ingredients were supplied from, and more.
The way this can be done is by assigning a lot number to items or groups of items within your ERP system. Since items can be identified by their specific number, you can track information associated with the items, and easily refer back to them when required.
How does this help with recalls? For one, it helps you identify where the issue is located. The problem may be a specific factor or ingredient used in your process, and you may notice that all of the contaminated goods trace back to that batch of ingredients. Alternatively, if you already know where the problem is, you can look forward to see what items were produced using it. In a recall, this won’t just help with regulations; it’ll also save you money by allowing you to recall only the items that have issues.
- Quality Checks
While being able to properly respond to a recall is important, you ideally want processes to prevent issues from occurring in the first place. One way you can do this is through a quality control system. You can set up quality checks so that they must take place before an item can move forward in specific stages.
This helps prevent contamination issues, but it can also help improve product consistency and increase customer satisfaction. If anything does ever go wrong, you can find the specific food item, see whether it went through a quality check using your lot tracking system, and fix the process so the issue doesn’t occur again.
- Conversion Tracking
As a food processor, you also want to avoid spoilage and keep your goods fresh. One way you can achieve this is by tracking expiry dates (using the lot numbers mentioned above). With the expiry dates for specific inventory logged, you can set up a notification system to move these items, e.g. from refrigeration to longer-term freezing storage, once they reach a certain date. This automates this process, increasing the speed with which employees do this and also reducing mistakes. Less spoiled food = less wasted resources and higher profits.
- FEFO Inventory System
Another way of reducing waste is through a FEFO “First Expiry, First Out” inventory method. FEFO refers to a system prioritizing selling the items that are most soon to expire. Since expiry dates are logged for each item, a good food software will be able to enable this for your company.
- Promotional Offers
Finally, as a food processor, you may want to run promotional offers to specific clients. In these situations, the food manufacturing ERP needs to be able to easily manage price changes for a given customer without affecting overall prices. This facilitates your sales and accounting processes, and can be applied to inventory that is in specific conversion stages. For example, you may want to sell more fresh product because the freezer is full.
That’s it for our top 5! Though we focused on specific features for food processors, general ERP benefits shouldn’t be forgotten because they’re also significant. By connecting your entire company, you can automate many of your business processes and save on labor. Your upper management also gets a financial overview of your business and better business insights and visibility.
However, certain custom features will benefit food processors tremendously, and therefore companies ought to look and see if those are present in the solution of their choice.
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