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Is Your ERP Solution Helping or Hurting your Business? 5 Warning Signs That It’s Floundering

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Food and beverage manufacturers are facing tougher challenges than ever before. Massive food recalls have led to an unquenchable demand for greater inventory traceability, visibility and precision in the global food supply chain. It’s easy to become overwhelmed by customer requirements and government regulations while continuing to minimize costs and maximize profitability.

The systems that run your business, in this case an ERP solution, can either help or hurt your food processing business. They’ll bog down your processes, making visibility and traceability impossible. Or they’ll help you increase efficiency and drive optimal performance.

So, is your ERP solution helping or hurting your business? You know it’s floundering when:

1.    You cannot get one-up/one-back inventory traceability.  

Your ability to accurately track individual lots, bins, or packages as they flow through processing and distribution steps is critical when it comes to responding to recalls, or even mock recalls. Without end-to-end traceability, it can take days to pinpoint problem ingredients to their source. And that costs you time and money, not to mention the health risks to the public. If your ERP system doesn’t enable at minimum one-up/one-back traceability, you may want to look at why.

2.    You cannot manage quality effectively.

You need to minimize the cost of quality and mitigate the risk of recalls. Without an effective system to manage quality processes, you can’t move from a reactive to a proactive environment. An ERP with quality management built-in enables you to implement conformance/corrective and preventative action and statistical process controls—so quality becomes your competitive advantage instead of a compliance burden.

3.    You cannot gain inventory visibility or control.

Excess inventory is more than just wasted cost. When perishable raw materials are involved, surplus inventory and delays in processing can also lead to quality and safety issues. Your ERP solution should give you the ability to do detailed materials requirement planning (MRP) so you can minimize inventory holding costs and reduce delays caused by lack of raw materials, and view it in real time.

4.    Your food safety plans don’t include automation.

Does your ERP support hazard analysis and critical control points (HACCP) plans, process flow charting, statistical process controls, and electronic signatures? If not, you’re probably doing it all manually, and only when there is a crisis (which is when you need process automation the most). Does your ERP collect data in real time so when you need to access audit trails, everything is right there? Again, don’t do it manually.

5.    You cannot track data related to batch recipes.

Your ERP system should enable you to track all data related to batch recipes including descriptive information, technical properties, quantities, costing information, notes, and history. Your system should incorporate best practices and notify you if there are possible allergens. If your ERP doesn’t do all this, you’ll be spending tons of time trying to get the information the old-fashion way.

If you’re thinking about an ERP solution, be sure to download: 9 Critical Questions Process Manufacturers Need to Ask When Evaluating an ERP System.