Warehouse Software Helps to Save Time, Money and Resources

A Warehouse software system is pretty much what it sounds like, a Warehouse Management System or WMS for short. Essentially, it’s an application that automates the movement of your products through your warehouse.

Warehouse software can be one of the greatest investments you make for your company. It consolidates, tracks and distributes data using a wide variety of methods in order to give you full transparency into your warehouse. Warehouse management systems also have in place special features to help you plan in advance and prevent unplanned downtimes and overall system failures.

What is so great about warehouse software? What can it do for your business? How does it help you maximize profits and minimize costs?

If you’ve been looking for an upgrade for your antiquated way of tracking your inventory and shipping records, here are six reasons why a warehouse software solution could be the answer.

Enhanced Inventory Management

Inventory management is absolutely crucial for any business. It is the key to understanding the financial performance of your business.

If you don’t know how much stock you have, then how can you analyse the performance of your company? And without knowing if your inventory is profitable or unprofitable, or at what point over and under-costed inventory may potentially be, how can you properly manage your finances?

Being able to keep track of, move, and maintain inventory goes a long way towards making sure that products are available for sale and that orders can be fulfilled quickly.

An effective warehouse software solution is one of the ways to reduce the stress of running a business. It helps you gain an accurate insight into what you have at hand and delay backorders to give your customers uninterrupted service.

Bottom line: you save time and money.

Informed data-driven decision making

A warehouse management system allows the creation of records for all of the products in the warehouse, including date received, the quantity on hand and the location. And whilst this is all very useful, it doesn’t give us any indication of how things are performing.

A good warehouse management system will also allow you to monitor your key performance indicators (KPIs) for each stock keeping unit (SKU).

These will be specific to your business but could include handling times, pick rates (for example, percentage of orders fulfilled within 4 hours), inventory accuracy (number of discrepancies investigated every month) and spoilage levels (rate at which products are spoiled or damaged on arrival).

An effective warehouse software system will assist with forecasting demand as these systems link directly into the accounting, giving you a full view of your business and allowing you to make data-driven decisions.

Continuous improvement

Once a warehouse facility has a clear vision of its goals and objectives, the implementation of a warehouse management system can be built to support those. If a warehouse management system is regularly implemented in phases, it can allow the warehouse to effectively keep up with current changes and regularly introduce improvements.

In addition to providing a lean, efficient platform for managing operations, a warehouse management system often integrates or is included within enterprise resource planning software. This may provide the benefits of information sharing across different functional areas within an organization that can help to maximize success across all aspects.

Enhanced Customer Service

All customers expect their goods to be delivered on time, accurately and at the right place. A good warehousing solution track your stock, calculates the lowest-cost logistics strategy, optimizes inventory levels and predicts future demand – so you can deliver what customers want, where they want it.

An improved customer experience can be achieved with a WMS. By extending your customer service team to include the warehouse team, product availability can be more accurately determined, reducing the level of customer complaints.

With fewer deliveries being cancelled or postponed due to low stock levels, you will be improving your customers’ experience by meeting their needs on time.

Increased Productivity

A warehouse that’s slow and inefficient is likely to be caused by a number of small issues such as outdated or ineffective processes and lack of motivational conditions. A warehouse management system can help with this as it offers modern systems and techniques to ensure high efficiency.

Good warehousing practices and efficient warehouse management systems can ensure that workers no longer waste time and energy on unimportant or repetitive tasks, and it can also ensure that all managers and workers have the tools they need to work smarter and more effectively.

In Conclusion

Technology has come a long way, and it’s time to take advantage of that fact. Successful wholesale businesses don’t settle for outdated technology solutions. They consider investing in the latest warehouse management system to solve their problems, increase productivity, cut costs, and improve operations.

Upgrading to a cutting-edge warehouse management system (WMS) is one of the best ways to ensure maximum efficiency and profitability in your business. If you’re looking to streamline and further automate your operation, implementing a premium warehouse management solution (WMS) will bring your company into the 21st century and provide you with real-time visibility into key metrics that can be immediately applied to increase

Signum Solutions will work with you to ensure your warehouse operations run as efficiently as possible, ultimately lowering costs and overhead. Our decades of experience will guide you every step of the way.

Signum is committed to helping companies like yours solve warehouse management problems and improve internal processes. We offer industry solutions for each of our clients with the goal of optimizing efficiency and reducing complexity.

We will work with you to ensure your warehouse operations run as efficiently as possible, ultimately lowering costs and overhead. Our decades of experience will guide you every step of the way.

To discuss your supply chain needs, please contact us on 01244 676 900 or email us using [email protected]

Tips On Choosing The Right Food Industry Software

Choosing the right food industry software for your business is not always easy. You have to find one that can best help you run your business in an efficient manner.

Business owners have a lot on their plate – managing employees, overseeing inventory, and staying on top of customer service. It’s tough enough to run the day-to-day operations of a food manufacturing business without all the added worry of choosing the wrong software package.

All too often, businesses have implemented processes in their business that are inefficient or do not meet their specific criteria. This can be due to choosing software that was not designed specifically for food businesses.

Therefore, it is important for companies to select the best software system to meet their business needs. A software system will help you keep track of your business, increase efficiency, and create growth.

However, finding the right solution may depend on several factors. The first step is to determine your business specific requirements. Once you have done that you need to consider your options and finally look at providers you want to work with.

Let’s look at these 3 steps in more detail.

Review Requirements

To make the right decision, first take a close look at your business needs. What are your primary goals, and how will the software help?

Every business has different needs. Some businesses might need to track their inventory, others might be focusing more on sales or expenses. How your business needs to use the software will play a big role in the type of system you choose to buy, so it’s important to review your data requirements and processes before selecting software.

sap business one accounting

Research Options

What do you look for when choosing business software? Functionality, price, ease of use – the list goes on. Yet one thing that isn’t always discussed is how to research business applications or solutions in your industry. Whether you’re looking at cloud-based apps, on-premise packages, or options sourced from smaller vendors – there are important differences to understand when researching business applications.

Keep a record of your business’s most important needs, and make sure you give ample time to researching your options.

Chemical Vats

Shortlist Providers

Once you’re validating the market, you need to shortlist the providers that are offering what you need. This can be done by contacting them or making use of their websites. Choose three to five providers who offer Food industry software services and ask them to meet with you so you can understand their product, view a demo, request a price list and any other information available.

Tablet Computer in Warehouse

Food manufacturers like you are unique business owners. Food manufacturing businesses deal with the unique challenges of consumer concerns, regulations and sustainability reporting. But, by using food industry software,  you can gain visibility into your processes and product information. You can then better manage your inventory and costs, optimize your production cycle times and monitor food safety regulations to ensure compliance. As a result, you improve profitability while providing safe products for consumers.

Here at Signum Solutions, we offer the latest and most advanced food industry software to help you run your business effortlessly. We can tailor ERP solutions to your unique requirements and at affordable prices.

By choosing Signum for your food processing software needs, you’re rewarding yourself with a proven leader in the industry who has been assisting businesses just like yours for years. Call us today to learn more about how our affordable food manufacturing software can help you reach your goals.

How chemical manufacturing ERP solves industry challenges

Chemical Manufacturing ERP – the solution that combines proven technology with a flexible structure.

As an industry, chemical manufacturing faces unique challenges. You need to make important decisions fast with so much on the line. Though each chemical manufacturing business has different needs, most have similar software challenges.

Here’s how a chemical manufacturing ERP solution can meet your business challenges.

Managing the supply chain

Having a clear framework for gathering and sharing information about the entire supply chain can help you prepare for disruptions and quickly respond to changing customer needs. Using a chemical manufacturing ERP helps you prepare for any disruptions and gives full visibility across your entire supply chain.

Adhere to compliance and demand

Chemical manufacturing companies can expect to face a variety of changing regulations and customer demand. Failing to comply with global laws and regulations is a serious matter that could jeopardize the success of your supply chain, reputation, and bottom line.

By implementing a holistic view of your operation, you can be sure your supply chain is meeting all regulatory requirements in a safe, secure, and optimal manner.

Data management

As a chemical producer, you need to generate accurate reports quickly, ensuring that your business can respond to the requirements of its customers in just the right time. That is where an ERP system can help you.

Chemical Manufacturing ERP software enables companies to maintain a comprehensive, real-time view on relevant business processes and make their data more flexible and informative.

Recall and quality audits

It is really not a simple job to manufacture chemicals. Every step of that process is crucial in producing the desired product in the required quality. It deals with chemicals, which are inherently unpredictable.

Chemical companies must rely on data from operational processes accurately and capture it correctly. If they must recall products, they must be ready for it.

To be prepared for a quality audit, chemical companies must integrate traceability data across the business that should be made accessible to various stakeholders such as suppliers and customers during the

Using a chemical manufacturing ERP software solution with good controls can help lessen the burden of auditing for many organizations.

In today’s competitive business world, every business leader is aggressively searching for a way to gain an edge on the competition. One underutilized strategy is to streamline and automate your company’s information technology capabilities.

By investing in a chemical manufacturing ERP solution for your company, you can improve efficiency, reduce costs, get better data analytics, and increase overall profitability.

With access to advanced manufacturing analytics and the power of real-time data, you can stay ahead of the competition by getting closer to customer buying trends, vendor relationships, and industry regulations.

The SAP Business One solution for chemical manufacturers and distributors is an integrated industry platform. With it, you can track the entire shipment cycle—and beyond. You can also streamline many processes involved in running a business and integrating your enterprise systems. Find out more here

Benefits of ERP for the chemical industry

There has been a lot of talk about the benefits of ERP for the chemical industry as it is heavily dependent on inventory and financial management. If you are looking for more information on ERP for the Chemical industry, then keep reading this article where we discuss the key benefits of ERP for chemical companies.

Today the chemical industry is facing global demand, development of new technologies and regulations. These stringent demands for efficiency and cost control make it imperative for chemical companies to streamline their business processes, use appropriate technology assisted decision-making, and handle a greater volume of data in a quick and efficient manner.

In this scenario, they need to choose the right enterprise resource planning software for their needs.

Obviously, every industry has its own unique challenges and requirements, though the chemical industry is particularly unique. These companies face the highest degree of volatility because their end products are so dependent on demand. The dramatic swings make for a high-stress environment, in which their ability to control business operations is severely limited by flexibility challenges in legacy systems that become an impediment to being nimble and agile.

This article looks at some of the features and functionality an ERP solution for the chemical industry must have to help your enterprise stay competitive in the face of a challenging business environment. It also contains valuable insights into benefits obtained by implementing an ERP system in your chemical business.

Lot Traceability and Recall Management

Traceability and recall management are very serious concerns in the chemical industry. You could be held legally liable for any harm that your products cause to people or the environment if you do not have a solid traceability plan in place.

The process of importing and exporting chemicals can be difficult, especially if your company deals with multiple countries spreading over several continents. It is essential for organizations in the chemical industry to have software tools that can support their complex supply chains and help them meet strict regulations.

A Chemical ERP system that supports full life cycle tracking of chemicals and materials is critical for companies working with multiple suppliers, raw material consolidation and large inventories.

Having the ability to track your chemicals and materials from shipping point to end application will help you comply with these regulations.

Optimise Supply Chain and Production

Chemical manufacturing is a demanding industry. A lack of transparency and visibility from the supply chain to the production line can slow down business processes making it difficult to meet customer demand.

A lack of supply chain transparency and visibility is the cause of many production problems within the chemical industry. This can be addressed by using a robust ERP system that delivers real-time data, such as materials resource planning (MRP) and product lifecycle management (PLM).

Using an ERP system is a great way to improve the efficiency of your production processes. An ERP solution is designed specifically for the chemical industry and allows you to have a real-time view of your production performance and assets, resulting in less bottlenecks and increased visibility. This results in meeting customer demand much faster and better.

Regulatory Compliance

The chemical industry needs to comply with numerous local, national, and international regulations. Due to the high safety risks involved in chemical production and handling, technology has been a vital part of how the industry operates since its inception.

Compliance is particularly important given that industrial accidents in this sector potentially have immense consequences for public health and safety.

Chemical manufacturers need to have solutions that ensure public and worker safety. They also need regulatory compliance modules, which can test temperature, warehouse conditions and other factors of ingredients, mixes and final products. They must gain reporting capabilities to meet compliance requirements.

Today’s enterprise resource planning systems (ERP) leverage automation tools that use robotic techniques to maintain compliance with rules and regulations. Like any business involving hazardous materials, the chemical industry must be in compliance with strict rules governing the transportation, storage, handling, usage of chemicals and their proper labelling.

Formulation

The biggest challenge in the chemical industry is having accurate measurements, concentrations, potentices, qualities and reactions of raw materials.

However, with a Chemicals ERP Solution, you gain the ability to establish and maintain a formula management system. You can track both the quantity of raw materials on hand and in order to minimize material costs while meeting strict production deadlines.

When it comes to manufacturing and distribution of chemicals, you can’t afford to be off by even a fraction of a percent. That’s why the right ERP solution is so important.

To learn more about how a Chemical ERP solution can help you stay ahead of the competition, click here.

Business Continuity for Food Manufacturers

Business continuity for food manufacturers are of two types. The first one is loss prevention and the second one is after a disaster. The first deals with the reduction of potential factors which can lead to losses in food manufacturing companies. They involve internal and external measures. The plan includes decision-making procedures regarding whether to continue or cease operations, if needed.

Business continuity is a critical factor for any company. While a disaster recovery plan limits itself to the technological aspects of an organization, business continuity plans emerge as one that has everything to do with business operations. A business continuity plan should be the most ideal way of maintaining the operations in case of emergency or disaster at the company.

The Business continuity concept is based on managing the risks, which are related to business operations and technology infrastructure to protect the commercial interests of a company.

The Food and Beverage industry is unique: it depends on machinery, raw materials, and its employees to operate at optimal levels. Therefore, business continuity should be planned with your unique needs in mind – as it will not simply happen by itself.

You might have a great plan to ensure staff safety and employee protection in the event of a disaster, but what about your production equipment? What if you lose power for five days and all your frozen goods thaw out? And then what would happen if an employee didn’t show up for work even though they were supposed to? And how much inventory do you have in those warehouses—and how long can you keep that inventory without replenishing it or losing sales?

Business resilience has not gone unnoticed by the food and drink industry. Recent disasters caused by global pandemics, fires and even volcanoes have highlighted the need for manufacturers to carefully consider their business resilience plan. As a result, a number of businesses are beginning to see value in embracing ERP and using it as the backbone of their business continuity plans, enabling them to respond proactively to emergencies and reducing the damage, time and cost involved in bringing operations back online.

ERP systems have long been viewed by businesses as tools for managing profitability and optimizing data flow. However, as continuity becomes an increasing priority, enterprises now have a renewed focus on using ERP to ensure that business functions remain uninterrupted, especially during periods of emergency or disaster.

With a constantly growing need for business continuity and disaster recovery systems, ERP is now considered to be one of the essential components of the technology infrastructure.

Talk to us today about Business Continuity for Food Manufacturers using SAP Business One. Together, we can build a connected and accurate information system for your business.

Increase supply chain transparency with ERP

Supply chain transparency is a business process that involves increasing the flow of information across an organisation from any stage of the supply chain. The aim is to increase your transactional integrity with customers, suppliers, and external partners.

This can be achieved by implementing an Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system which can help you achieve organisational growth and profitability.

ERPs can have many positive effects on the transparency of a supply chain such as:

  • Inventory management
  • Complete lifecycle, field to fork traceability
  • Real-time reporting
  • Materials Requirements Planning (MRP)
  • Ensuring compliance and quality

Supply chain transparency requires visibility, which comes from managing all aspects of it in one area. With an integrated enterprise resource planning (ERP) solution in place, your business can have a single source system to manage order details, shipping and tracking information, finances, and invoicing.

This not only gives you better visibility into your orders, but it also gives you the ease of talking to your customers with greater confidence about their orders. Plus, managers and upper management executives have a greater oversight into every part of the supply chain with an integrated ERP solution so they can identify issues and find solutions much faster.

When it comes to supply chain management, your company has a lot of different variables to track. If any one piece falls out of the equation, you can easily end up losing profit. The best way to make sure that doesn’t happen is with ERP, or enterprise resource planning. By automating your supply chain and freeing up employees’ time for other tasks, you’ll be able to cut costs — and enhance profitability.

Supply chains are extremely complex, and businesses traditionally have had little access to data surrounding them. This makes it extremely possible for companies to track and trace materials, finished products and services from source all the way through to destination, wherever they are in the world.

Gaining transparency in your supply chain represents a real step forward towards enabling your business to achieve greater levels of operational efficiency.

ERP software has been the best solution for businesses looking to increase their supply chain transparency in order to make more informed decisions in real time.

Summary

Transparency is one of the most important benefits companies receive when they implement a solid ERP system. It’s easy to understand why supply chain transparency can be beneficial, but there are many unique ways in which it offers value. By automating the way an organization processes orders and manages inventory, supply chain transparency is achieved. Regardless of if a company sells through retail stores, online, or both channels, supply chain transparency allows them to comply with customer demands and industry regulations in the most efficient method possible.

Signum’s SAP Business One solution is an Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system that allows you to stop being in the dark about your supply chain. We help you connect your enterprise to suppliers and customers seamlessly, contact us for more details

Avoid Food Fraud by Keeping Track

Food fraud is the deliberate substitution, addition, or tampering of food with the intention to deceive consumers. Food fraud can be used as an umbrella term covering different types of food crime offences which covers all organisations that are part of the production process – growers, manufacturers, suppliers, and retailers. Such offences include the substitution of ingredients, lowering the quality of ingredients, additions to foods such as water or fats which have no nutritional value or passing off a product as organic but not meeting organic standards.

Food fraud occurs when discrepancies are found in food supply chains, including harvesting, processing, storage, and transport. These discrepancies often go unnoticed because most companies use outdated methods to ensure the quality of their products.

Top food and beverage companies are increasingly demanding traceability as a way of preventing food fraud. While the focus of traceability is on specific ingredients, lot identification technology can allow companies to track not only ingredients but also the final packaged product in the supply chain, from the farm through to consumption on the retail shelf.

Implementing a capable enterprise resource planning (ERP) system is the best way for food companies to identify food fraud. In an ERP system, all aspects of food production are connected together. If a discrepancy is found in one part of the system, it will be reflected in other parts of the system as well. This integration makes it easy for companies to detect fraud and prevent liability lawsuits from occurring.

By joining forces with an ERP system, food companies can better identify fraud at any point during production, processing, or delivery. If the database is integrated with a scanning system, every time a product is scanned, the details of the transaction will be cross-referenced against the wholesaler’s pricing structure for that inventory item. As a result, audits that were once painful and difficult to conduct can now be done without significantly impacting productivity.

Food fraud is a real problem and one that must be solved if food companies are to regain the public’s trust. By adopting an ERP system (enterprise resource planning system), food companies will know instantly where their products are at any point in time.

By adopting the latest ERP solution, food fraud and contamination can be eliminated through real-time data analysis and automated alerts, providing peace of mind for both manufacturers and consumers.

Designed with your industry in mind, Signum’s SAP Business One Industry Edition for Food and Beverage enables you to trace the path of ingredients, assets, and other movements from supplier to consumer. Our food and beverage solution helps you identify food fraud issues from the ground up.

SAP Business One provides food companies high quality information to help them manage and understand the risks associated with their business. With complete traceability, safeguarding the authenticity and quality of products becomes much easier as records can be tracked back to suppliers and prior lot information. SAP Business One helps you maintain optimum levels of stock to eliminate waste and ensure competitiveness in the marketplace.

Make food fraud a thing of the past. Get the most efficient software and the most experienced team in the industry. Contact us today to get started.

Are You Alerted to Food Recalls?

Food recalls are devastating. They can tarnish the reputation of your organization, expose your company financially, and even put lives at risk. The food safety industry is constantly evolving to keep up with the latest technologies that are impacting the way we grow, harvest, process, transport, and distribute food products.

It’s safe to say that many Food and beverage brands have learned the hard way: It’s easier to prevent contamination than to recall and repair contaminated products. Although recalls affect a relatively small minority of food and beverage businesses, they are more costly to business operations than you might think.

Unfortunately, Food recalls are often the cost of doing business. They hurt your brand, your customer’s health and can damage your bottom line if customers stop trusting your brand altogether. For these reasons, food recalls must always be on the top of your mind because you must always be able to: Share, Track, Automate and Respond (STAR)

S – Share information with vendors in your supply chain

T – Track your products

A – Automate and collaborate

R – Respond quickly to changes in regulatory compliance

Traceability has never been more important in the food and beverage industries. Over the past decade, high-profile recalls and foodborne outbreaks have educated consumers about the importance of knowing where our food is coming from.

So, when it comes to food, your customers expect nothing but the highest quality. Recalls are an unfortunate reality that businesses must be prepared to handle. Whether or not your company has had any recalls, ensuring you’re ready if this scenario occurs is a priority.

A product recall can have a devastating impact on a company. No one wants to have to remove a product from the shelves. By implementing stricter standards during production and utilizing ERP software, food producers and suppliers can ensure that they are producing and supplying the highest quality products for their customers.

Good companies need to be ready for anything. That’s why forward-thinking manufacturers can help prepare for and reduce recall risks by utilizing several important features in ERP software—including supplier management, inventory control, and reporting. Using the tools at their disposal, a company can mitigate liabilities and protect their brand to turn a potential crisis into a future filled with opportunities.

By implementing systems that ensure the mandatory checks and balances are met, food and beverage companies can avoid costly product recalls and with the right ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) solution in place, you’ll be able to spot contamination and handle recalls much quicker.

Most industries have specific software, and the food manufacturing industry is no different. As one of Europe’s most trusted enterprise resource planning (ERP) solutions, SAP Business One provides all the software you need to run your business, including functionalities like stock management, production management, purchasing, and accounting that are particularly useful for food manufacturing businesses.

With SAP Business One Industry Edition for food and beverage, you give yourself the tools you need to see and track products all the way from the farm, through manufacturing, and on to delivery. You will be able to respond quickly if a foodborne illness or laps in government inspections occurs, and remain confident in your ability to provide safe, quality products to your customers.

To better understand the benefits of implementing an ERP solution in your food business, contact us today!

The Importance of ERP Software for Food Safety

When it comes to food safety, no one wants to hear about another recall situation or outbreak. Even the most diligent food companies could face a disastrous situation if they don’t use a comprehensive enterprise resource planning (ERP) system to provide real-time visibility into their products’ quality control and supply chain.

Today, consumers are more interested in what goes into their food, and companies have to be able to provide clear traceability throughout the entire production process in order to meet these desires. When a recall has been necessary, the costs often equal tens of millions of pounds. Even if a recall has not been required, the damage to the company’s reputation can still be costly.

An effective ERP solution in place that can perform efficient food safety, traceability and recall procedures will help you to minimize the costs of a recall and prevent further damage.

All food and beverage companies need to be able to rely on their ERP system in order to maintain compliance with local and international food safety regulations, as well as meet continuously evolving consumer expectations with regard to product quality.

ERP systems can provide the required visibility into food safety, quality control and traceability. Food and beverage firms need to be proactive in putting processes and procedures in place to manage food safety and traceability, rather than waiting for a potentially crippling and costly food safety recall situation to happen.

Traceability has never been more important in the food and beverage industries. Over the past decade, high-profile recalls and foodborne outbreaks have educated consumers about the importance of knowing where our food is coming from.

With the right ERP software, processes can be defined and automated to increase food safety. This includes better business intelligence for real-time analysis that helps you make better business decisions, and dramatically reduces the costs of training, error, and recalls.

ERP solutions help operators in the food safety and quality control process by ensuring there is complete visibility of a product throughout the whole quality supply chain.

With an ERP system, you can quickly identify the affected product lines and places where they are distributed so that you can recall the affected product immediately. You minimize the costs associated with recalls and protect your brand image.

It’s simple. An ERP solution that performs food safety, traceability, and recall procedures keeps your brand safe, and limits damage when something goes wrong.

Take a look at how a solution like Signum’s SAP Business One Industry Edition for food and beverage makes your food production systems safe and efficient.

Contact us today to learn more about how SAP Business One can help your business reach its full potential.

3 main challenges food manufacturers face

There are 3 main challenges food manufacturers face; ensuring quality, reducing costs and meeting consumer demand. In this article we will look at each in more detail and suggest ways in which you can overcome these challenges.

As a Food manufacturer, you are constantly looking for ways to get best-in-class goods to market more quickly while driving down costs. Your business continues to grapple with increasing pressures and regulations that can make it difficult to meet your customers’ growing expectations. you must be able to assure higher quality while controlling costs, because every penny spent directly impacts the bottom line.

The challenges food manufacturers face can be described as nature’s bumps and bruises. They’re a natural part of the development cycle. You face challenges every day as you create new products, process data and continually monitor your performance. Workers face challenges every day as they assemble or process raw materials like ingredients, food products and packaging materials as well as lab test samples. All are working towards some common goals: ensuring products are safe, effective, and creating an overall quality product which meets the needs of consumers.

Ensure quality

As a food manufacturer, you are very aware of the importance of quality. In the end, it’s all about creating trust with consumers. Consumers want high quality products and a solid reputation from their supplier. That’s why as a food manufacturer, you must have consistency and accuracy in product testing. Failure to maintain proper food safety standards or high quality could quickly lead to consumer distrust and loss of business.

Reduce costs

The potential costs associated with mislabelling, inaccurate dating and incorrect weights range from fines to recalls, but the biggest financial threat can take shape in the form of lost revenue. If a product is delayed because of production changes, out-of-stock issues, or a variety of other reasons, you’re missing out on sales and profits.

Profit margins in the food and beverage manufacturing industry have been under immense pressure due to factors such as high supply chain costs, raw material prices, and competition from manufacturers in other countries. Today, food manufacturers must find ways to stay competitive by cutting costs wherever possible.

Meet consumer demand

We live in an age where customers want to know where their food products come from. They want to see the packaging they buy to ensure it meets international sustainability standards. They want to meet farmers face-to-face. But as more consumers make these demands, the challenge arises to meet them. The most sustainable solution is visibility throughout the entire supply chain – from farm to fork – enabling customers to see where their raw materials come from and providing producers with all of the tools, they need for managing their commodities from farm to consumer.

When it comes to food and beverage manufacturers, the requirements for regulatory compliance, food safety, and high quality are non-negotiable. But despite the importance of these standards, regulatory compliance costs money.

Investing in technology can provide the tools needed to overcome the challenges food manufacturers face as you need to not only ensure food safety and high quality to consumers but also cut costs.

Today’s technology allows you to track and trace each of your products as they move from raw ingredients to finished products. This reduces the risk of unexpected problems, such as quality and safety issues or expiration dates, and ensures consumables ship and arrive on time- saving you time and money!

For many businesses, overcoming the challenges food manufacturers face is now increasingly becoming easier and more cost-effective thanks to ERP (enterprise resource planning) solutions such as SAP Business One.

SAP Business One is an integrated business application that helps you get control of the operational side of your business. Designed to manage the movement and storage of material from the moment it arrives at your facility until it lands as a finished product in the hands of your distributors and customers. SAP Business One offers deep visibility into supply chain activities and provides tools specifically designed to improve product quality, reduce costs throughout the supply chain, and keep up with customer demand

SAP Business One helps you make sense of your data by providing real-time visibility which gives you the ability to understand which products are in demand and stock the ingredients you need – while cutting down on those you don’t. You can track expiration dates and ensure all ingredients are used before they’re no longer good, reducing food waste.

SAP Business One helps food manufacturers succeed. It makes your business run faster and more profitably than ever before.

To learn more, download the latest SAP Business One solution brief here 

PiP Chemicals; Funding for Growth

PiP Chemicals Logo

Signum Customer, PIP Chemicals have recently been successful in securing funding for a new WMS solution. We caught up with Adam Hunniford, Managing Director, to talk about the challenges, the process and what advice he is able to offer other companies who may be considering the funding option.

The Company

PIP Chemicals is a chemical manufacturing company based in Newtownards, supplying cleaning, care and protection products, to the auto and sanitising industries.

The Challenge

As PIP Chemical has grown, requiring the need for additional staffing and resources, it has become increasingly difficult to maintain quality standards. In earlier times, the individual doing the manufacturing would likely have been deeply involved with the product development as well as material sourcing.

As a result, operator errors could be easily minimized because the operator knew what he was expecting. As staffing levels increased, this connection is impossible to maintain. Errors in production were becoming more common and were only picked up at quality control stages. This then led to time and money wasted reprocessing and remanufacturing products. Additionally, increased physical size of the operation has meant that goods are much more widely spread.

Consequently, there is the further time wastage trying to locate materials within the warehouse and a need for operatives to keep a mental note to try to expedite their processes.

In order to move the operation forward, it was decided that these uncertainties needed removed. It was no longer acceptable that a manufacturing operative could be expected to reliably differentiate between chemicals of similar name. The chemicals would need to be able to be identified by the SAP system and be checked prior to use. It was no longer acceptable to rely that quantities used were accurately transcribed to manufacturing sheets. The quantities should be captured from weighing equipment and actual quantities recorded rather than fixed back flushing. It was no longer acceptable for operatives to have to remember where materials are stored and spend valuable time locating. The locations should be recorded and the system should be able to prompt the operative where to go to find them.

With these various elements addressed, the business will be able to move forward, operating more accurately, more efficiently and in a position where further growth requires much less reliance on operative knowledge.

Funding companies approached and reasoning why those specifically

There really only was InvestNI for a project of this kind. We have a long running partnership with them where they have assisted in several technological solutions as well as increasing employment.

Funding company involvement

As a long term partner, we were well aware of what was required. InvestNI are fantastic and worked with us right through the process, guiding not only how they would potentially help financially, but also assisting in ensuring that the solution was suitable for the task we had in mind.

The application process

As long term partners, it was very easy. All of our company records and financial reports are provided each year such that there was no requirement to duplicate. Once the general remit and costs were agreed with our client executive and IT specialist, the application process took a matter of 1-2 hours to submit in the electronic system. There was some further communication to get details sorted – something that took some weeks as it required input from ourselves and Signum – but it was straight forward and could have been done within a couple of days, had schedules allowed. There was no pressure on timescales as InvestNI are very understanding that projects like these, with multiple parties, do take time to get right. Once all was submitted, we had a positive answer within 2 week.

Future expectations

The funding allows PIP Chemicals to implement a class leading system which places us firmly at the top of our sector. Whilst the company remains moderately sized, we will have processes and capabilities exceeding many of those which are more than 10x the size. We will be in a position to scale up easily without expensive and painful exercises changing the core business systems.

Advice to companies looking to apply for/raise funding

Talk! Talk to your funding partners. They are there to help! They are not trying to block you from getting funding, they actively want to give it to you if you can prove the value of that input and that it will meet with their strategic goals. Additionally, don’t expect something for nothing – if you aren’t willing to invest your own money, why would a funder be willing to do it?

Adam Hunniford, PIP Chemicals

5 Ways to Promote Consumer Trust in the Food Industry

As a series of high-profile food scandals and scares have progressively eroded public confidence in recent years, consumer protection and the interests of the food industry should go hand-in-hand. Building and maintaining consumer trust is hard. But following a food safety incident or revelation of dubious practices, restoring consumer trust is harder still. The implications for missing the mark in terms of how the incident is handled can come at a high cost from both a revenue and brand perspective. 

While more and more manufacturers are explaining how they source and make products, a significant portion of shoppers remain wary. The human brain is wired to be sensitive to potential risks, therefore bad news spreads like wildfire, and the actions of a tiny minority of rogue suppliers can discredit the entire industry. The reality is that companies invest heavily in optimising food safety, yet very few consumers understand the challenges involved:

Accidental or deliberate contamination 

When our pantry is global, so are the chances of contamination. The majority of food recalls stem from operational deficiencies, and come at a high direct and indirect cost to firms. In undifferentiated markets, where consumers can’t distinguish between sellers of good product and contaminated product, this can result in consumer avoidance of the entire category.

Food fraud – when products are deliberately diluted, tampered with, mislabelled or otherwise misrepresented, or substituted with another product – is a highly lucrative business and often integrated with organised crime networks. But when economic times are tough, the opportunities to cut corners become harder to resist, even for otherwise legitimate businesses, as evidenced by the adulteration of food safety records by a major UK poultry supplier which made the headlines in late 2017. Food fraud also impacts on sustainability, nutrition, animal welfare and human rights, which are becoming increasingly important to consumers.

Food labelling

Food labelling is a huge area of contention: on one hand, consumers want more product information to make informed choices; on the other, they often distrust the accuracy of labels or are confused by them due to inconsistency or information overload.

Fundamentally, consumers’ needs are simple: they want to know they’re buying food that’s safe to eat, and doesn’t harm people or nature. In today’s digital world, relevant information needs to be made available to connected consumers at the time of purchase, particularly online where the shopper is at arm’s length from the physical product and packaging.

Greater supply chain complexity

No food safety system is perfect, but the greater the number of links in the supply chain, the more points available for penetration. Food supply chains are becoming longer and more complex, and therefore more prone to potential disruption. Most food retailers know all their first-tier suppliers, or have a good understanding of those suppliers with whom they have the highest spend, but a lack of insight into subsequent tiers or smaller suppliers means many can’t determine where ingredients are sourced from or how those ingredients are processed or handled.

Establishing the vulnerability of suppliers, especially those operating in higher risk jurisdictions, can be time-consuming unless companies implement ways to monitor and manage increased sourcing complexity. But without effective visibility into the supply chain, businesses can have significant blind spots in their enterprise risk management structure, leaving them exposed to potential legal, financial and reputational damage.

Shifting regulatory framework

The food industry has had to contend with a large number of new regulations and standards in recent years, such as the Food Safety Modernization Act of 2011, together with numerous national programmes and industry initiatives that attempt to address the issue of food integrity and authenticity.

It’s therefore worth looking to the pharmaceutical and life sciences sectors, which provide a leading indicator of what’s likely to come in the food industry. Several bills and directives have been introduced across the EU and US dealing with pharmacovigilance, such as the use of serial numbers and track-and-trace technologies to prevent counterfeit drugs entering the legal supply chain.

Given the impact of food on public health, it’s feasible to expect to see greater regulatory focus on implementing similar requirements in the food industry.

Amid this complex landscape, food businesses can respond to these risks and challenges effectively, and help to restore consumer confidence in the industry as a whole, by taking five fundamental steps:

Step #1: Promote a culture of safety and quality from the farm to the shop floor Forward-thinking companies develop a culture of food safety through education and communication to ensure staff are aware of the importance of good practices and the controls to be applied. They are also proactively identifying and managing potential risks by analysing data within and beyond their organisation on leading indicators such as customer complaints and media reports. There is a range of nationally and internationally recognised standards for certification relating to product quality, social and environmental sustainability and system and process certification. Voluntary participation in such schemes can enable organisations to provide various assurances as a competitive differentiator.

Step #2: Lead risk-resilient business culture and best practices from the topThe buck stops in the boardroom. Business leaders need greater over-sight of and engagement with food trust issues, and executive buy-in is essential to developing a culture that is relevant and responsive to both current and emerging concerns. Food businesses need not reinvent the wheel, but should instead look to adopt proven practices from similar, highly-regulated industries such as pharmaceuticals, to start building transparency and trace-ability into their processes now, rather than waiting to be forced by evolving regulation.

Step #3: Continuously review supply chain risks and benchmark against best practicesBusinesses are held accountable for their supply chain actors’ performance, yet for many, supplier risk management is regarded as something of a tick-box exercise. Regardless of which point in the supply chain may be responsible for a food crisis, customers tend to blame the brand from which it was purchased.

So it’s vital to have end-to-end visibility of the supply chain and carry out regular reviews of suppliers’ food safety and quality standards. Taking a pro-active approach to supplier risk management can pay dividends in terms of product integrity, reducing compliance costs, and minimising the need for product recalls.

Step #4: Make considered investments in technology-enabled solutions – The key to transparency is to capture full and accurate data about product movement. Modern manufacturing, warehousing and traceability solutions are designed to help businesses improve standards, manage risks and provide consumers with better information about food products. Industry-specific solutions are purpose-built to support full compliance with food regulations and guidelines, such as GS1. Real-time visibility enables businesses to pinpoint inventory at any stage of the production or logistics process, and automate quality controls and monitoring from end to end, so any problems can be caught before products make it into consumers’ hands.

Step #5: Focus on consumer transparency and prepare to handle crisis events – If a crisis should occur despite all reasonable endeavours, food companies should be able to support near-surgical recall – getting the minimum amount of product off the shelves at maximum speed. This capability can be developed through scenario analysis, planning and drills, underpinned by robust product recall and crisis procedures. A swift response is also reliant on the availability of data in a suitable reporting format within minutes rather than hours, which can support both the crisis event itself, and open and honest consumer-facing communications after the fact.

As bargaining power in the food industry shifts towards the consumer, we will see the lines becoming increasingly blurred between food safety, health and well-ness, and corporate social responsibility. When risks are well managed, there are opportunities to deepen relationships with today’s connected and demanding consumers, and create the conditions for sustainable, profitable growth in the process.

To understand how Signum Solutions and SAP Business One Food and Beverage edition can support such initiatives as GSI contact us on 01244 676900