We hear it all the time from prospective software buyers: how do you measure the ROI of a full-blown ERP project? The answer can be complicated.

Fortunately, our JustFood customers have great insight on this topic. They’ve all been through successful ERP implementations and are now using their systems to successfully run their businesses. Here’s how a few of our JustFood customers measure the benefits of their ERP:

 

Improved access to metrics and operational data is one way food manufacturers calculate the ROI of their ERP projects.

 

1. Improved access to data

One of the biggest issues prospective buyers come to us with is the lack of end-to-end visibility they have into their food businesses. These buyers are often utilizing multiple, independent platforms to run their operations or are using a basic accounting software or legacy system to manage their processes. These outdated or disparate systems can lead to data integrity issues, forecasting errors and inventory shortages or overages.

“We were using an inferior and outdated accounting system before switching to an ERP,” says Rodney Smith, Senior Director of Supply Chain at Creative Food Ingredients. “There was limited bill of material functionality and not a lot of structure there. We were putting data into the system 24 hours later, so we had an issue with real-time inventory. Our procurement team was waiting almost a full day before even knowing what was used.”

For the team at Creative Food Ingredients, the main goal of switching to an ERP was the increased visibility and transparency into their operations and data.

Lot tracing functionality was also a huge factor for Smith and his team, who often undergo traceability exercises on the shop floor. “What used to take us four hours to do, now takes us about 30 minutes,” he says.

 

2. Ability to become quality certified

As food professionals, we all know how important food quality and safety is. Customers, stakeholders, suppliers, associations and regulatory bodies constantly demand that products be quality-tested and certified, which can be complicated, time-consuming and costly for food manufacturers. But the results are often immeasurable in terms of consumer and buyer loyalty.

“The biggest issue we were having prior to implementing our ERP was our SQF (Safe Quality Food) certification,” says Bob Andorfer, Director of Sales at Excalibur Seasonings. “We had done our initial Level I and wanted to go to Level II, and every time we wanted to go up a level, there was more and more paperwork involved. It was getting overwhelming.”

The system Excalibur was using prior to JustFood was heavily customized and not working the way the company needed it to. “We still ended up with spreadsheets everywhere to run our plant,” says Andorfer. “Every department had its spreadsheets – it was a disaster.”

In order to become SQF Level II certified, Andorfer and his team needed the process control an ERP system is built for. Instead of pulling data from a number of different spreadsheets, they could now rely on one integrated system to document, automate and report on the data necessary to run the business according to the highest quality standards. “All of our quality goals were met,” says Andorfer. “We have no regrets.”

 

Implementing ERP can help improve the efficiency of warehouse processes

 

3. Increased insight and reporting capabilities

The secret behind the success of most growing food companies? Complete access and insight into business metrics and operational and financial data.

For a company like Roger Wood Foods, a meat processor based out of Savannah, GA, the importance of establishing a data-driven culture became increasingly clear as its system became bogged down with heavy customization and unnecessary serialization processes.

“We were on an older version of Navision and we knew we needed to do something,” Angela Travis, Controller at Roger Wood Foods explains. “We could not upgrade because our system was so heavily customized, and we couldn’t run inventory valuations or physical inventory journals. We met with multiple ERP vendors and ultimately chose JustFood because it didn’t customize the core functionality we were after to run our business, meaning much of it was already built in.”

Upon implementing JustFood, however, Travis and her team decided to serialize all of Roger Woods individual catch weight cases. “This created such a large amount of ledger entries that it completely bogged down our system.  That is when we chose to do a re-implementation to JustFood 2017 and remove the serialization from catch weight items.”

The results? Being able to actually use the system and standard out-of-the-box reports like never before. “Before, we had to do everything outside of the system,” explains Travis. “Now, posting a shipment takes a minute instead of five hours. It’s amazing. The speed, ease and ability to run inventory valuations in real time have all definitely made an impact on our bottom line.”

For Travis, the insight and visibility the new, fully updated ERP system offered was lifechanging. “It’s unbelievable really. We can use the system to its full capacity now and pull the reports we need whenever we choose.”

 

Measuring the ROI of an ERP project can mean something different to every buyer. Make sure to outline your company’s pain points and track associated metrics prior to beginning a project, so that post-implementation improvements are clear and easily quantifiable.

 

Ready to learn more? Check out our Customer Testimonials to learn how other food manufacturers and processors improved safety, streamlined  efficiency and managed growth with the help of ERP.