Another Product Recall. Could Your Business Cope?

This week Sainsbury’s have issued a product recall of one of their chicken products, due to a packaging error. Over the past year there have been numerous recalls by all the major supermarkets. Despite regulations and precautionary measures put in place, recalls continue on a regular basis.

Managing a product recall is an extremely difficult and challenging process.  However, having the right Business Systems in place will help you minimise the risk and allow you respond quickly and effectively should your business be faced with this situation.

At Signum, we work closely with food companies looking to maintain a robust reliable solution to compliance and traceability. Our SAP Business One Industry Edition for Food and Beverage Manufacturing  is a powerful solution, simple to use and affordable. Moreover, over half of Signum Solutions’ customers operate within the food manufacturing industry, which means that we have a great deal of knowledge and expertise not only in food manufacturing system (MRP and ERP) implementation, but also in relation to the latest requirements of food manufacturing businesses.

Full Story: Food recall

To find out more about how we could help your business call 01244 676900, or click the button below or visit our resources page to discover the benefits of SAP Business One 

Food manufacturers: Tracing the Genealogy of a Product

With traceability of the full life-cycle being vital to anything that is being manufactured in the food industry being of the utmost importance when supplying to wholesalers, supermarkets and smaller retail outlets alike, here’s a handy guide to ensure that you don’t miss anything out!

  1. Start with the batch and serial number, checking that all number formats and counters are defined
  2. Check that the shelf life of a product is clearly defined – in both days and hours
  3. Define the batch management policy for expiry or consumption
  4. Calculate the expiry and consume by dates, based on the shelf life of the product
  5. Record the vendor/supplier batch number for each product
  6. Define the period between inspections and plan in future inspection dates
  7. Define the warning period for batch review and expiry date inspections
  8. Record all properties inherited from the product master data, including batch properties and values
  9. Record quality control results using actual test result values, which should be stored against batch properties
  10. Ensure that all of these stages are ticked off and that everyone is aware of this at each stage!

 

That’s a lot of information to trace.  How best to keep track of all of this?

That’s the easy part.  There’s no need for numerous spreadsheets and reports to provide all of these processes and controls, which are ultimately completely necessary when tracing the genealogy of a product.

The system that more and more food manufacturing companies are choosing is part of an SAP certified industry solution called ProcessForce, which is a core part of the Signum Solutions Industry Edition for SAP Business One. It handles all of the above, easily.  As well as doing all of this:

  • Creation of batch genealogy trees, providing a forward and backward historical view of all processes
  • Creation of recall and audit reports, including lists of customers and batch recall reconciliations
  • Drill downs of transactions and document traceability navigation functionality
  • Creation of inventory and batch reports

Want to find out more? 

Call us on 01244 676900 or email enquiries@signum-solutions.co.uk

 

Planning for Your Food Business ERP Project

Firstly – ask yourself: Do I really need an ERP system?

The idea to purchase an ERP system to dramatically improve the way your business works is not one that is usually thought up overnight.  Ideas of ways to improve processes or remove time consuming, erroneous tasks are what usually leads to the hope that there is an ERP system out there that can make things easier, less risky and in the long-term a great deal more cost and time effective.

Ideally, this ERP system needs to have the obvious features: not be too expensive to buy, host or implement; not be too difficult to learn and use; not be restrictive in terms of functionality needed for your business, or in terms of being able to deal with future company growth.

These features perhaps are not the best place to start for a food business though.  As part of an industry that relies on compliance and traceability to survive, the first thing that you need to do is to look at what should be easier and faster to accomplish in your business.  Then, list the specific features of an ERP that you need to achieve your ideals (such as integrated stock control, inventory management and sales so that you can track ingredients from origin to final customer) and from these, the benefits that you would hope to achieve.

Take a look at the current ERP system in your business, if you have one, and identify any opportunities for operational improvement.  This will form a basis for identifying areas for future growth, which in an ever-changing and evolving industry, is something you’ll need to make sure you have ticked off of your list when looking at ERP system features.

Once you have decided on your core requirements, make sure that the ERP systems you look at have solutions for these and can provide immediate business benefit.

How?  On top of checking ERP system features against your list of core requirements, there are some factors that should also be important in your food ERP decision making process:

1.       Modern

Firstly, ensure that the solutions you’re looking at are up-to-date.  It’s a competitive marketplace so most solutions are likely to feature the latest technology – it is these that you need to look at so that you can avoid future costs when something like going mobile with sales orders, becomes a necessity.

 2.       Food industry specific

Make sure that the solution is one that has been created with the food industry in mind.  This way, you’re far more likely to find that your food business requirements are met without the need to make enhancements to the base product, which can be expensive to create and to maintain – especially if a bespoke version becomes out of date and needs to be re-written if the software is upgraded.

 3.       Choose an experienced partner

Does the software vendor have experience in the food industry and really understand the ins and outs of food businesses?  They should be able to tell you what will and won’t work for a food business and know about the changing challenges that the food industry is facing.  In addition to this, check for plenty of examples of how their solution is already benefiting other food businesses like yours.

4.       Easy to use

Is the solution user-friendly?  One of the best things about an ERP system is that it should cater for all of your business processes and the best ones will do that altogether, in one centralised system.  This however also means that all of your business area employees may need to know how to use it – which creates the necessity for the software to be universally accessible, intuitive and easy to understand.

 5.       Scalability

Is the solute suitable for a global business?  Even if that’s not you at the minute, it might be one day and the last thing you’ll need at that point of your business growth is to have to go through another ERP implementation overhaul when you could be making waves overseas.  It is essential for growing businesses to have an ERP system that will grow with them.

 6.       Calculate the value

No ERP system is likely to be 100% perfect but if you can get 80% of what you identified in your requirements as standard, then you’ve cracked it.  Make sure you’ve considered value aspects such as problem solving, faster processing, how it will aid new business whilst keeping track of purchasing and inventory before weighing up the project costs, based on return on investment.

 7.       Making friends

When you choose an ERP vendor to partner with, you’ll hope that they can support you with the ERP system for many years to come (especially if you’ve made sure to pick a solution that is scalable).  You are going to have to work closely together for at least several weeks, if not months to begin with, to ensure that you get exactly what you want and need out of your ERP project.  Consider it in relation to hiring a member of staff – can you really see yourself working with them long-term?  Do they have a positive track record in your industry and have they got good references?  As with any product or service, success is measured by what the customers think and so, so if food businesses similar to yours have succeeded with a partner that you like, the chances are you will too!

To evaluate SAP Business One and Signum Solutions, give us a call on 01244 676 900