Choosing an ERP for the food industry

We understand: choosing the right enterprise resource planning (ERP) solution for your business is complicated. The ERP market is saturated with solutions that promise to increase your profits or create more efficient processes without considering the complex nature of your food company. Thankfully, business solutions designed specifically for the food industry do exist and are built from the ground up with the functionality you require on a daily basis - like food safety, traceability and quality. 

Think about it like this: a generic ERP likely doesn’t have the functionality to inherently track an ingredient bi-directionally throughout the production process. Though a generic ERP provider may promise you that this can be custom-built for your specific food company, customizations often require more of your time, resources and money to get the system to work the way you need it to. A system that promotes compliance and recall readiness at its core, however, ensures you have the time to focus on making better business decisions rather than worrying about whether your ERP is doing its part in keeping your company compliant. 

Below, we outline four areas of your business that will greatly benefit from a food-specific ERP solution over a more generic one. 

Food Safety 

Food safety is one of the top pain points for food manufacturers, according to Food Processing’s 17th annual Manufacturing Outlook Survey, and for good reason. When it comes to the safety of consumers, there’s no room for taking chances. Selecting an ERP that gives you the ability to account for raw materials and finished goods throughout the production process ensures your company is doing what it can to keep our food supply safe. When choosing an ERP for the food industry, it’s important to look for a solution that includes features like bi-directional ingredient tracking, robust quality functionality, and allergen management. This food-specific functionality is often missing in more generic ERP solutions and can be the difference between being fully recall ready or not. 

Inventory Management 

Unlike other manufacturing companies, food manufacturers are forced to take extra caution when it comes to inventory management for one simple reason: raw or perishable ingredients. Clothing or electronics manufacturers, for example, don’t have the same inventory management requirements as food manufacturers and processors do, so why should they rely on the same business solution to manage their needs? Functionality like batch and expiration tracking, catch weight management and food waste reduction found in ERP solutions built for the food industry ensure that your businesses’ unique needs regarding raw and perishable ingredients are taken into account. 

Quality and Compliance 

Staying compliant with the growing number of government regulations being put in place is almost impossible to do without an ERP for the food industry. Without the proper visibility into your company’s cross-departmental data, you could be violating a number of regulatory requirements without even knowing it. To stay compliant with the European laws and regulations, for example, your company needs to ensure that it can properly analyze its data to be fully prepared and sure that you’re being compliant. Without the proper system in place, food businesses will be left to rely on independent platforms, spreadsheets and manual processes to find and produce the required data. When choosing an ERP, food companies should look for systems that have lot trace capabilities, ingredient-level tracking and product origin management to help ensure compliance.  

Production 

Managing production scheduling and planning without an ERP built for the food industry can result in data silos and shop floor inefficiencies. Features like Operations Control and Advanced Production Planning help give you the oversight you need to identify production bottlenecks or process issues so you can hit profitable production targets. Having all of your production data and operations in one single platform built for the food industry integrates all parts of your business and provides end-to-end visibility into your entire food operation. Generic ERP solutions may not allow you to keep maintenance plans and production schedules in the same system, for example, making scheduling maintenance while still maximizing equipment utilization difficult. 

Concluding.. 

Choosing an industry-specific ERP over a generic solution guarantees that your food company will have the technology it needs to improve food safety, streamline operational efficiency and manage business growth. Learn more about Foodware 365 to see if we are the right fit for your business by reaching out to us. We’d love to talk!