ERP Helping Food Manufacturers Meet Safety, Traceability, and More



For food manufacturers, food safety is among the most important issues they face; additionally, the demands for documentation relating to food sourcing, material flow, traceability, and regulatory compliance present an increasing and ongoing challenge to their operations. Particularly as retailers and regulatory agencies make greater demands on manufacturers for detailed documentation, it can represent a significant cost to manufacturers, one that directly impacts their bottom lines. Among the requirements food manufacturers face:

  • Forward and backward traceability of processed goods, batches, and lots—requiring detailed tracking from the source to the shelf
  • Strict ingredient and environmental control throughout the manufacturing process
  • The need for fast response to recall events or customer questions—in minutes, not days or weeks

Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems provide food manufacturers a means to meet these challenges while improving their internal business processes. Here’s what they do:

  • Provide a framework to meet regulatory compliance demands, ensure product safety, and control costs.
  • Automate traceability of ingredients from field to final customer.
  • Speed and simplify the audit process.
  • Enable a closed-loop approach to quality management by integrating quality workflows from an initial sales order all the way through shipment, which maintains quality specifications, sampling and testing procedures, and reporting of test results.
  • Can dynamically link to material lot and product release controls to both support quality and ensure complete traceability.

An article in Food Manufacturing notes a number of key elements food manufacturers should keep in mind when considering implementation of ERP, including:

  • Design fit for their unique business requirements and a history of success in the segment
  • Process manufacturing functionality, including a built-in process model and recipe and materials management support to drive efficiencies and improve margins
  • The ability to monitor and manage the variability of yields, product quality, and shelf life
  • The ability to accurately forecast, to optimize schedules, and to manage all elements necessary to fulfill order to promise quickly
  • Industry-specific functionality that minimizes the need for customization and supports date code management, rebates and commissions, consignment costing, day one for day one order and delivery, multiple product attributes and grades, and retailer-specific packaging

Posted By Stewart Baillie, Vice President, Products, Manufacturing


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