Food manufacturing is complicated. From quality control processes and raw material handling to packaging and warehouse management, there’s a lot to maintain. No matter the purpose of your search, finding an ERP solution that works with your business and its specific industry requirements is an important task.

For a food manufacturing company, selecting a food-specific ERP solution that caters to the individual requirements of your organization is essential to successfully running your business. In this article, we’ll walk you through the top four considerations when determining what’s right for your food manufacturing business.

The Importance of Selecting the Right ERP

Because of the many generic ERP systems in existence today, it’s all the more important for food organizations to select an ERP built with the food industry at the forefront. Although generic ERP systems are robust, they require a great deal of customization to fit the food industry model; these solutions are primarily geared toward the manufacturing of products that are shipped directly to customers or other businesses rather than process manufacturing. This customization is often expensive and timely.

A food-specific ERP is built to understand the nuances of the industry, which requires less customization as a result.

65% of ERP implementations go over budget due to customizations. A food-specific ERP calls for fewer customizations because it’s already built to support food processes and operations. Because food-specific ERPs are developed based on best practices of leading food organizations, investing in a solution built for the industry will improve your operations significantly and save you money. Plus, with the FSMA laws and training required of food manufacturers, it’s all the more important to implement a system that can help you stay compliant.

A great food-specific ERP solution will have the following:

  • Features necessary to successfully run your business per industry standards and best practices
  • Scalability for long-term growth
  • Financed for your budget

Let’s take a look at the top four functionality considerations when selecting a food-specific ERP application.

#1. Powerful, Real-Time Analytics

There’s no denying the importance of data in just about every aspect of a business, especially in an industry that relies so heavily on numbers to keep operations efficient and safe. However, to assess how your company is doing, it’s not enough to simply collect this data. You must be able to interpret it in a way that makes sense to you and your team so you can make better, more informed business decisions.

An ERP that makes it easy to view analytics in real-time can make a huge difference when gauging the success of a new product or monitoring quarterly sales numbers. A food-specific ERP system will have the customization you need for pulling reports, filtering data, and translating that data into actionable insights.

The ERP you select should make it easy for you to identify trends, forecast, and gain a better understanding of how your business is performing.

#2. Integrated Quality Monitoring

Switching between screens or programs while on the floor can waste time and cause confusion for workers. When you’re monitoring data that impacts your quality practices, it’s essential to have information that is organized and accurate.

Selecting an ERP that allows users to view quality data and insights all within one platform makes for a streamlined shop floor. Workers can view compliance data all within one screen, making it easier to monitor.

Also, if workers have this data readily available in one concise view, they can predict problems before they arise based on real-time data and historical information. Then, they can react quickly and fix any issues before they spiral out of control.

For example, let’s say your company produces string cheese. The ERP application will detect any variables in the production line that could cause issues with compliance and give you actionable insights on how to resolve the issue before it escalates.

An ERP application that simplifies sharing, interpreting, and updating all-encompassing data is a valuable asset to any food manufacturing company.

#3. Warehouse Management System (WMS)

Keeping day-to-day operations in check is the key to a successful plant. From tracking significant numbers like serial and lot numbers to bin management and reorder processes, having a top-to-bottom view of operations is essential. If this data isn’t connecting or communicating correctly, it can be detrimental to floor operations and the company as a whole.

Select an ERP with WMS functionality right within the system. Being able to view this essential data at a glance as well as in detail helps improve operations. Many companies use both an ERP system and a WMS system in tandem to streamline operations. If your ERP has WMS functionality, issues with passing data between systems are minimized and much more efficient.

With a fully integrated system, workers can spot potential issues on the spot and take steps to fix it before it gets out of control. This real-time data is a valuable asset to have while performing day-to-day tasks. Accurately tracking this information tightens up operations and will make the entire company leaner.

#4. Scalable Features to Grow with You

There’s no question that implementing an ERP solution is a time-consuming investment, and time is precious in the food manufacturing industry. Around 30% of companies who roll out a new system report that it takes longer than estimated. Therefore, the ERP you select should be customizable and scalable to keep up with your everchanging business.

As your business thrives per the improvements brought on by implementing the ERP system, it should be able to accommodate that growth. Indicators of growth typically include adding new customers and users, expanding across multiple locations, managing various companies, and granting remote access to employees on various devices. Using an ERP application that can handle those needs is vital to maintaining productivity and profit margins.

Opt for an ERP with the Food and Beverage Industry at the Forefront

If you’re looking for a new ERP application or are auditing your current application, focus on solutions that are built specifically for the food manufacturing industry. An ERP solution designed for your industry can have a considerable impact on the bottom line and on your company as a whole.

With the right functionality and features, a food-specific ERP can support your business’s core needs with little to no customization or advising services. A solution built for the industry will work for your business instead of requiring you to change how you operate to fit its parameters.

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