Running a successful food business is complicated. Things like quality audits, food safety protocols, ingredient management and lot tracking are all crucial to the success of any food manufacturing or processing company. But without the proper technology in place, your company could be falling behind.

Think about it like this: You’ve just signed an agreement with a big box store to start carrying your product, but the agreement is contingent on you obtaining certifications to certain food safety and quality standards. With your current legacy system, it may be almost impossible to perform quality checks from pre-receipt of materials all the way to output and shipment. A modern, integrated software solution can perform these audits and checks quickly, allowing you to store and access the data on a mobile device, provide you with real-time visibility into your audit results and ultimately help you work towards becoming certified.

Not convinced yet? Below we highlight four reasons why you need to modernize your food business.

1. The Cloud

Your legacy system is most likely installed locally on your company’s computers and servers. But cloud-based ERP systems have become much more popular in recent years, and for good reason. Cloud ERP is often cheaper up front, provides you with additional data security, a more streamlined implementation and faster technical support.

  • Cost: Choosing a cloud ERP over an on-premise solution allows for more predictable costs and no additional hardware investments (like server infrastructure and IT labor costs, for example). Microsoft’s Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) Calculator is a great tool to use to better understand how the cost of both cloud and on-premise solutions should be calculated and how you could be saving money by utilizing the cloud.

  • Data security: It’s no secret that the number one concern of a cloud ERP is data security. A qualified ERP vendor will comply with industry-specific safety standards, participate in rigorous third-party audits that verify safety controls, have a network security system in place to block intrusions and attacks, and be able to protect user credentials and access. If the ERP vendor you’re working with can’t answer your specific data security questions, it may be time to look elsewhere.

  • Streamlined implementation: Cloud ERP implementations typically come with less customization; it is often these tedious customizations that hold up a project and create long, drawn out implementations. Because cloud-based solutions are built on a basic configuration with limited customizable options that are designed to meet the needs of most businesses, deployment is quicker while still meeting the critical needs of an organization.

  • Faster technical support: Because vendors and not the organization are responsible for maintaining the hardware and software in a cloud ERP solution, patches, upgrades, refreshes and support will all belong to the vendor. Vendors have immediate access to the organization’s software environment so that it can be constantly maintained and monitored by vendor experts.

2. One fully integrated system

Running your financials and forecasting on one system, your production on another and your warehouse management system on yet another program still, creates data silos and a lack of visibility across your business. Maintaining multiple products requires data entry duplication, more difficulty assessing and reporting on this data, and doesn’t allow for accuracy and timeliness. This makes it incredibly hard to understand how your business is really performing.

By moving all of your data and workflows from multiple independent platforms into a single system, you ensure superior data integrity, production management and manufacturing processes, quality control, safety, sales, delivery, finance and forecasting. By tying together all parts of a company, a modern, integrated system can expose opportunities for improvements that multiple systems would likely miss. An ERP system has the power to reveal actionable insight.

3. Scalability

As your food company grows, so too do the complexities of running a successful business. More facilities, business entities, employees and product volume mean greater difficulties when using multiple software programs or a legacy system. Having all of your data in one centralized system that can grow alongside you ensures that you will only have to go through the implementation process once.

4. Real-time visibility

Having visibility into all elements of your business and the ability to pull customizable reports on things like finance, production, scheduling and sales gives you the power to make well-informed decisions quickly and efficiently. For example, having the ability to manage production scheduling and planning through to batch processing and consolidation, breaks down barriers between departments and helps guide future business decisions like when production cycles should be scheduled and the size of team required.

Utilizing a cloud-based ERP also means that your data and reports can be accessed using a desktop or mobile browser at any time through a standard internet connection. Whether employees are in the front office, on the shop floor or on the road, they are able to access and interact with the data that drives your business.

Ready to learn more? Get Started now to learn how ERP can work for you.