Four features to look for in your next food and beverage ERP

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If you’re tasked with selecting an ERP solution for your food and beverage manufacturing company, you’re likely overwhelmed by the number of vendors claiming to be a best of breed provider. In this constantly changing and tightly regulated market, it’s imperative for manufacturers to seek out an industry-specific ERP designed to deliver functionalities uniquely suited for the food and beverage marketplace. Specifically, there are four essential features to look for in your next ERP solution:

Lot tracking and traceability

As a key factor in building and maintaining consumer trust in a highly regulated industry, lot tracking and traceability is a top priority. Within an ERP solution, this functionality provides automated full supply chain visibility from farm-to-fork, or from raw ingredients to the finished goods, to maintain product safety. Recall preparedness that includes detailed record keeping of purchase orders, bills of lading, labeling and shipping documents locates potentially contaminated items quickly in the event of a product recall. An integrated ERP system coupled with systematic procedures mitigates severe public safety consequences, monetary costs, and erosion of consumer confidence caused by unsafe products entering the marketplace.

Recipe and formulation management

By maintaining your company’s time-honored recipes or developing new products, you’ll keep up with consumer demands utilizing a comprehensive ERP solution. An established recipe and formula management system easily records multiple versions of recipes and keeps track of changes – allowing the creation of new formulas, observation of recipe development, documentation of manufacturing instructions and management of quality control tests. The capability to store and scale recipes is a must and includes the ability to maintain real-time recipes with a bill of materials (BOMs) that lists physical properties, versions, revisions, and production notes. Access to the calculation of nutritional data, including ingredient and allergen information, is also a necessity to ensure accurate labeling and to meet reporting requirements. Security features available through an ERP maintain a company’s proprietary recipe information by limiting access through user-based role permissions.

Quality control

As a food and beverage manufacturer, effective quality management ensures that products consistently meet company standards as well as customers’ preferences and expectations. With full forward and backward lot traceability, you’ll have the necessary tools to track, trace, document and report to auditors, customers and regulatory bodies by monitoring materials throughout the production process. Real-time tracking with systematic quality control practices allows your company to respond to potential problems quickly by initiating quarantine procedures for items that fail inspection – making sure products are not released until corrective actions are completed. Testing of raw ingredients and batches ensure consistency in every production run. An ERP solution’s quality control features provide in-production and customer-specific testing with easy generation of customized Certificates of Analysis (CofA) to meet the needs of food and beverage manufacturers.

Inventory management

Finding a perfect inventory balance is often key to a company’s success. Too much inventory can cost money, while too little can create disappointment for customers. An ERP software solution with an integrated warehouse management system (WMS) functionality helps find the perfect inventory balance by supporting daily operations that plan, organize, staff, direct and control company resources. Easily track inventory balances, serial numbers, lots and product line information in real-time to retain and maintain inventory levels – keeping track of inventory at all times. Material Requirements Planning (MRP) factors in supply, demand and forecasted requirements of your business to make purchasing decisions to assist with efficient production planning. With a comprehensive ERP solution, your company can easily maintain suitable inventory levels, reduce waste, assess inventory flow, utilize rotation methods and avoid overproduction to make your company more efficient.

In your search for your next food and beverage ERP, ensure that the vendor that you select has a solution that includes lot tracking and traceability, recipe and formulation management, quality control, and inventory management. When these essential functionalities are provided by an ERP vendor who’s experienced in your industry, you’ll be able to meet the ever-changing business demands while growing more profitable and attracting new customers.

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