Change is a constant in every industry. But few markets change as quickly as food. As people\u2019s tastes evolve, food producers must evolve too\u2014or risk getting left out of the shopping cart.\nFood producers often seek to stay at the forefront of the market by making strategic acquisitions. That was the case in 2009 when Dominion Liquid Technologies (DLT) purchased Flavor Syrups International, a specialist manufacturer of coffee syrup. The new company that resulted was better positioned to compete in a crowded market due to its size and product offerings, but faced significant obstacles in getting started. For one thing, Flavor Syrups International\u2019s aging software platform couldn\u2019t adequately support a growing business.\n\u201cI knew right away that the software we were using to manage the business was suboptimal,\u201d recalls Charlie Cain, president and CEO of DLT. \u201cIt was very clear that a new ERP solution would help us to build a more efficient business, reduce waste, and grow rapidly while delivering quality products through every production run.\u201d\nAt the time of the acquisition, nearly every business process at DLT\u2014from inventory audits to line checks\u2014happened on paper, which severely hampered productivity. But as DLT planned to transition its processes to a technology platform, the company\u2019s leadership wanted to avoid becoming so regimented that they couldn\u2019t react quickly to changes in the market. Any solution DLT implemented would need to enable greater agility across the business.\nThat\u2019s why DLT looked to the cloud. Knowing that modern cloud-based ERP software solutions are designed to break down organizational silos and put real-time business data at employees\u2019 fingertips, Cain and his team explored their options. They engaged their technology partner, Revolution Group, to help them evaluate potential ERP software solutions.\n\u201cRevolution Group put a number of ERP solutions through their paces,\u201d Cain explains. \u201cBut what I found particularly helpful was that they didn\u2019t just look at the process functionality we required. They also understood the kind of \u2018light-on-our-feet business\u2019 we wanted to be, that managing IT was not for us, and that we wanted to avoid a huge capital outlay.\u201d\nBy the end of the evaluation process, Revolution Group and DLT had agreed on a solution: The Plex Manufacturing Cloud. Deployment took just six months. And since the go-live date, DLT has been leveraging technology to solve its business needs. Here are three ways:\n#1: Data Flows Freely to Mobile Devices\nThe modern manufacturing process revolves around data. But shop floor workers don\u2019t have time to keep running back to computer terminals and punching in updates on inventory, defects, or labor issues.\nThe Plex Manufacturing Cloud gives DLT improved shop floor control and the freedom to distribute information to mobile devices right on the shop floor. Employees now carry tablets and smart phones around the assembly line so that they can record data without interrupting their workflow. They also receive text or email alerts when production is interrupted or inventory runs low.\n\u201cOne of the many benefits of working with Plex is that if something is out of specification, whether I\u2019m here or out of the plant, I get notified via text or e-mail,\u201d says Daren Brown, quality manager at DLT. \u201cThis enables us to monitor the process from front to back.\u201d\n#2: Less Focus on Software Means More Focus on Customers\nTest ingredients and recipes. Manage production schedules and third parties. Ensure that products are shipped correctly. Safeguard finely-tuned margins. And adhere to stringent quality targets. As a busy contract manufacturer, DLT must juggle customers\u2019 hugely diverse needs. All of these challenges are more difficult to meet for companies that must devote significant resources to implementing, maintaining, and upgrading traditional ERP systems.\nBy contrast, running their operations in the cloud means DLT\u2019s entire staff can focus on meeting customer needs and enhancing the excellence of their products, rather than managing on-premise ERP and the hardware that supports it. And they can scale their cloud environment as they grow, without any of the heavy lifting required to build and manage their own datacenter.\n#3: Every Business Decision Is Backed by Data\nDecision-makers want a complete view of the business to make critical, strategic decisions. Connecting an organization comprehensively in the cloud makes that visibility, and the ability to act on it, possible.\n\u201cHistorically, different teams within the manufacturing process worked in silos, making information sharing slow, clumsy, and error-prone,\u201d recalls Cain. \u201cIt was extremely difficult for us to get accurate and reliable data on things such as inventory levels and expiration dates. What we really needed was a system that could give us real-time information so that we could make better-informed decisions. We knew this was vital to our bottom-line growth.\u201d\nWith the Plex Manufacturing Cloud, not only can line workers review and update production data at their workspace in real time, but managers and executives can also get instantaneous business information in the palms of their hands. Because the system is available through any browser and through mobile applications, decision-makers can use any web-enabled device to check in on material availability, customer service levels, production schedules, or cash flow.\nThese capabilities help DLT compete in a crowded market. By staying one step ahead of their competition in speed, efficiency and quality, the team can focus on innovating and delivering popular products that can win a greater share of the shopping cart.