ERP Software for SME’s

Choosing the right software for your business can be a daunting decision for you as a business owner, choosing a software that is easily customisable and tailormade to meet your exact business requirements is key.

So what is ERP software ?

Enterprise Resource Planning software otherwise known as ERP software is a software which collaborates all aspects of a business into one place.  The information which the ERP software collates is made easily available for you to see.

Using ERP software will connect different departments within a business in real-time which in turn increases efficiency within different departments and helps to make key decisions within the business.

ERP software is ideal for small to medium sized enterprises here are a few of the benefits below:

 

Customisable – ERP software is can be fully tailored to suit your business, and can be used for the following:

Pre sales CRM / Marketing

Post sales CRM

Inventory (SCM)

Financial accounting

Production, planning & Control

Project management

Technical expertise

Task management

Human resources & Payroll

Continuous Improvement

Growth Your ERP software will grow as your business does, it is easy to add new functions into your software which will save you and your staff time making everyday operations more streamlined and in turn this will increase your ongoing profits.

ERP For Food

ERP For Food Software

Fruit juice in glasses with Kiwi fruit

ERP for food by Signum Solutions, Our food recipe software is designed to meet the requirements of any business however SME’s in particular find our cloud based software very useful streamlining their business therefore increasing profits.

ERP software is designed for food manufacturers and distributors in particular, our ERP software will improve food safety, improve traceability, reduce waste and overall streamline productivity whilst managing business growth.

Signum solutions ERP for food software will connect all departments within your business into an easy to manage cloud ERP. From the minute that ingredients & materials enter your business premises to the moment the complete products leave them.

Our software will move all of your data and workflows from multiple, independent platforms into a single cloud ERP, you ensure superior data integrity, production management and manufacturing processes, quality control, safety, sales, delivery, finance and forecasting.

Reliable access 24 hours a day all year round

Get access to all aspects of your business 24 ours a day all year round with Signum Solutions ERP for food software.

For more information on our ERP software for food contact one of the team today on 01244 676 900.

 

 

 

How to nip the growing problem of organic food fraud in the bud

Business management software for food

When consumers pay a premium for certified organic produce and packaged foods, they should feel confident that they’re getting what they pay for: a product free from synthetic fertilisers, pesticides, antibiotics, growth regulators and genetically-modified organisms. There is also an underlying ethical assumption that those revenues are going to farmers engaged in sustainable agricultural practices that promote ecological balance and conserve biodiversity.

Products sold as organic must, by law, follow certain standards – both European and national – and have to be regularly inspected and certified by approved bodies. At a global level, many countries have regulatory requirements similar to those in the EU and there are formal agreements covering trade in organic products between these countries

However, because organic and eco-labelled food products command a higher price, instances of food fraud, such as adulteration and mislabelling, are becoming more commonplace, resulting in consumers being misled and overcharged. What’s more, failure to enforce standards can cast a shadow over the term ‘organic’ itself, which should be synonymous with authenticity.

Staying competitive and relevant
The problem is amplified with imported products that involve intermediaries, some of whom are looking to make economic gains by deliberately mislabelling foods as organic and selling them at a premium. One example is the 2016/2017 shipment of over 16 metric tonnes of soybeans that found their way to California from Ukraine via Turkey.

What started out as conventionally-farmed, pesticide-treated soybeans under-went a remarkable transformation to ‘organic’, which saw the consignment’s value increase by US$4 million. This wasn’t a one off: two further shipments of corn and soybeans revealed similar findings. And because these imports were largely destined for animal feed, they would be likely to infiltrate the supply chain through a variety of foods including ‘organic’ eggs, dairy, meat and poultry.

Meanwhile, brands are finding themselves at risk. While consumers increasingly scrutinise labels for farm-to-fork provenance, not all retailers can verify organic products back to the point of origin due to a lack of upstream supply chain visibility.
While tier 1 and some of tier 2 suppliers may be known, the view of tier 3 and beyond is often obscured. Tackling the root of the problem

In April 2017, imports of organic products into the EU became subject to a new EU electronic certification system, to reduce potential fraud and provide more comprehensive statistical data on organic imports. As well as the goal of reducing organic food fraud, the addition of import certificates to the existing Trade Control & Expert System facilitates trade by enabling partners and competent authorities to easily obtain information on the movement of their consignments.

Forward-thinking companies, however, look beyond the ‘stick’ of regulation to the ‘carrot’ of consumer trust, and are actively seeking ways to reduce their susceptibility to organic food fraud and protect their brand. They need to account for every part of the production process, which means farming practices, distribution paths, storage procedures and product delivery must all be made visible to business managers.

External traceability is vital to validating the presence of attributes such as organic certification for the entire agro-food sector, which includes animal feeds. This requires all parties in the supply chain to systematically link the physical flow of materials and products with the flow of information about them.

However, many traceability systems today were only designed for internal purposes, providing an one-up, one-down view for the company using that system. Many companies, particularly those that do business with large retailers that impose strict standards, will quickly find themselves outgrowing manual methods or standalone software for batch/lot tracking. At this tipping point, an ERP solution that supports strong batch/lot traceability features becomes a must-have.

A fresh focus on traceability
With traceability-focused software, the product’s batch/lot number follows it from seed to table. By capturing the organic certification data as part of lot tracking, organic status can be tracked through the supply chain. For example, a bottle of certified organic wine should be traceable back to the exact vineyard from which its grapes were harvested.

An organic apple should be able to be traced back to the farm where it was grown, and it should even be possible to pinpoint the exact orchard from which it was picked.

This traceable chain of custody is what empowers consumers to trust certified organic brands. Shoppers are becoming increasingly savvy about what they eat and how it’s raised; wherever there is opportunity for differentiation by helping the consumer understand where their food is coming from, it should bear fruit in the form of customer loyalty based on confidence, not blind faith.

To find out more about how Signum Solutions and SAP Business One can help you achieve end-to-end trace ability to maintain the safety and integrity of your products, speak to one of our industry experts on 01244 676 900

How Blockchain is set to transform food safety and integrity

As consumers, our communication patterns, searches and online habits create a digital trail that means algorithms are getting to know many of us better than we know ourselves. Yet the trust and transparency challenges that confront the globalised food system – such as substitution, tampering, misrepresentation, illegal production and contamination – are still compounded by a lack of supply chain traceability.

The problem is, every company has its own way of working: inaccuracies are caused by traditional paper tracking and manual inspection systems; transactions are handled in siloed databases, resulting in opaque supply chains. When it comes to a recall, this can make the difference between identifying a few contaminated bags of spinach, and pulling the entire stock of spinach from hundreds of stores.

As one of 2017’s most talked-about technologies, Blockchain is being positioned as the way to “provide trust in an untrusted world” by transforming systems of record, with use cases ranging from carbon credits to diamonds. But what is it, how does it work, and how can it be applied to solve food supply chain management challenges?

What is Blockchain and how does it work

Blockchain was developed in the aftermath of the financial crisis of 2007/8 to deliver transparency, security and efficiency in managing transactions between multiple parties without involving banks. This gave rise to crypto-currencies such as Bitcoin, which can be transmitted worldwide without friction: no intermediaries, regulation or the need to know or trust the parties involved – the so-called “trustless” system.

In the simplest terms, Blockchain is a way to structure data. It uses distributed ledger technology: a database that, rather than being stored in one place, is continuously synchronised and shared among all members of a peer-to-peer network for real-time data transparency.

When a digital transaction is carried out, it is grouped together in a cryptographically-protected block with other transactions that have occurred in the last ten minutes and sent out to the entire network.

Once validated by consensus, the block of transactions is timestamped and permanently added to a chain in chronological order. New blocks are linked to older blocks and contain a reference to the previous block (called a “hash, which is somewhat like a digital fingerprint).

A distributed database cannot be hacked, manipulated or disrupted in the same way as a traditional, centralised database with a user-controlled access system. The data is immutable: once it has been written to a Blockchain, nobody – not even a system administrator – can modify or tamper with it. The technology can work for almost any type of transaction involving value, such as money, goods, land ownership, work, medical information or even votes.

How can Blockchain be applied to the food industry?

Today’s supply chains have an inherent weakness: individual parties are using disparate digital systems, different technologies, and paper-based processes to bridge the gaps. This makes it inefficient to share the critical data that drives supply chain interactions, or to guarantee a high degree of rigour and accuracy.

Blockchain-infused traceability systems could deliver the transparency and trust that has eluded the food industry until now. With immutable data, it has the potential to give growers, suppliers, processors, distributors, retailers, regulators and consumers access to reliable information on the origin and state of food.

Blockchain for agriculture – It will become feasible for farms to create digital records for individual animals to track the lifecycle from farm to fork, using technology such as RFID tags. This enables consumers to read the “digital history” of meat down to the individual animal, including who raised it, how it was raised, what it was fed and who processed it, simply by scanning a QR code on the packaging. As the lynchpin of our food supply, farmers typically have little visibility to the end consumer, and could stand to gain a new voice and new distribution opportunities through participation on Blockchain. There are also exciting possibilities for creating business value with new, previously unattainable data that could be made available through Blockchain, such as how much fertiliser or water was used, as evidence of sustainability assertions.

Blockchain for distributors – Distributors could provide more transparency to processors and buyers in terms of product type, farming practices, harvest data and Fair Trade or similar certifications. With the addition of appropriate sensor technology, valuable information could be provided to actors up the chain, such as the duration of the journey while a product is in transit, or the temperature and humidity of the truck it travels in, to demonstrate that the product is fir for use or sale on arrival.

Blockchain for food processors and producers – As food processors often struggle to validate the origin of their ingredients, Blockchain would enable the validation of information about input products without violating trust be-tween individual entities. For food producers, the nature of Blockchain would mean that any attempt to tamper with a product as it moves through the sup-ply chain could be immediately identified and prevented before it ever reaches a retailer.

Blockchain for retailers – As bricks and mortar stones are faced with in-creasing competition from online food providers such as Amazon, supermarkets often want to provide local produce as a differentiator. With Blockchain providing a web of trust, the information value provided by local farms could be bound to the claims made by grocers. This could effectively create a new model for providing local produce through a national chain, with the evidence of quality, transport and freshness that consumers insist on. Not only can this rich seam of information be used to create a point of sale educational opportunity, but it also bolsters the capacity for a digital recall in the event of a safety issue, such as food-borne illness. In the event that a potentially contaminated product somehow made it onto the shelves, stores could rapidly identify, isolate and remove only the affected items without the need for a costly whole-batch recall.

Blockchain for foodservice – Restaurants have a direct relationship with the ultimate consumer and a growing number are keen to emphasise the quality and sustainability of their food. It could prove a considerable competitive ad-vantage be able to authenticate their menus and justify a premium for local, organic or free range produce.

Blockchain offers many practical solutions to today’s impractical system, and should promote better communication between all parts of the food chain and, just as importantly, between producers and consumers.

Blockchain offers many practical solutions to today’s impractical system and should promote better communication between all parts of the food chain and just importantly, between producers and consumers.

The future is already here

The promise of Blockchain isn’t far-off utopian vision. US agricultural conglomerate, Cargill, has made an early foray into Blockchain, with a pilot through its Honeysuckle White brand. The initiative, launched ahead of 2017’s Thanksgiving celebrations, allowed consumers to trace their individual Thanksgiving turkey from the store where they bought it to the farm that raised it.

Walmart is currently piloting Blockchain technology to trace mangos, in their US stores, and has cut the time it took to provide gate-to-plate traceability to two seconds – a process which used to take weeks. Walmart is also among several companies embracing a new initiative in China focused on food safety and traceability with Blockchain as its technical foundation, following numerous high-profile fake food scandals in the world’s most populous country.

A consortium including Dole, Nestlé and Unilever is working to identify opportunities for the use of Blockchain to improve data integrity and trust between parties in “Big Food”. Meanwhile, technology vendors including IBM and Microsoft are collaborating with GS1, the global business communications standards organisation, to determine how the structure data stored or referenced by Blockchains for shared communications and interoperability through the use of standards.

So while Blockchain may seem like the buzzword of 2017 and will no doubt be the subject of much discussion, it has real potential to be a game-changer for food supply chains, helping the industry to achieve the holy trinity of trust, transparency and traceability.

To understand how Signum Solutions can help in your Blockchain journey, contact info@signum-solutions.co.uk

10 Reasons your business needs SAP Business One

Signum Solutions understands as a growing business you are one step closer to selecting a business management software for your company’s changing needs. We know this is an important step in your company’s path and one not to be taken lightly.

To aid you in your journey we have listed the top 10 reasons why your business needs to move to SAP Business One. So you can see first-hand how you can significantly improve the way you manage your business.

  1. SAP Business One is affordable
  2. Specifically developed for small to medium enterprises (SME’s)
  3. SAP Business One is designed to grow with your business and can easily adapt to your changing needs
  4. Provides real time analytics ensuring you have full visibility of the data you need to make better business decisions.
  5. SAP Business One offers a wide range of industry specific solutions
  6. ERP solution that is fast to implement, easy to use and needs minimal IT support
  7. Gain fully integrated functionality across your entire business with SAP Business One
  8. SAP Business One gives you a fast return on your investment
  9. SAP Business one is from the word leaderin business applications – SAP
  10. It’s supported by Signum Solutions, Gold partner with SAP Business One Recognised Expertise and industry expert for Food and Drink, Food Service, Chemicals, Wholesale and Distribution and Manufacturing.

 

Your business has a lot of distinctive features. It’s time to make the move and find the perfect software fit for your business, contact your SAP Business One Industry experts, Signum Solutions on 01244 676900 for more information.

What is SAP HANA? Is it Right For Me?

We hear a lot about SAP HANA, but what is it all about? SAP HANA is an in-memory data platform that is deployable as an on-premise appliance, or in the cloud. It is a revolutionary platform that’s best suited for performing real-time analytics, and developing and deploying real-time applications.

By adopting SAP HANA you gain a single secure environment for all your mission-critical data assets, so you can manage large volumes of structured and unstructured data efficiently to improve total cost of ownership. And, at the same time, you can simplify your IT landscape and reduce administrative effort by consolidating multiple workloads onto SAP HANA.

Being able to Run Simple helps you deliver insight into ongoing transactions, so your organisation can respond in real time to market change, seizing new opportunities more quickly than your competitors.

Benefits of HANA

Accelerate Database Processing
Process transactions and analytics against a single copy of data in-memory for real-time insight

Deliver More Intelligence
Use advanced analytical processing for deeper insight into the past, present, and future

Create Next-Generation Applications
Design and deploy intuitive applications to deliver the right information at the right time to business users

Integrate All Types of Data
Access large volumes of data from a variety of sources to unlock insights never seen before

Simplify Your IT Environment
Reduce complexity with an unified, yet open, platform on premise or in the cloud

To find out more about making your business run more efficiently with SAP HANA call us on 01244 676900 or fill in the form below.

Run your business any time, any place – with the SAP Business One mobile app for iOS and Android

Give your entire team the power to accomplish business tasks from their iOS or Android devices with mobile access to SAP Business One.

The SAP Business One mobile app is designed to help your business stay connected, allowing you to gain access to all the relevant business information you require to be more productive whilst out of the office.

Whether your company already uses SAP Business One or would like to learn more, you can try the free mobile app to enjoy on-the-go productivity today.

  • Manage customer and partner contacts as well as scheduled sales activities
  • Get alerts about deviations from approved prices and other significant events
  • Visualise key business information with real-time reports
  • Create or view sales opportunities and orders, and handle service call activities
  • Monitor inventory levels and get detailed product information

Download the free App from iTunes

Download the free App from Google Play

To find out more about making your business run more efficiently call us on 01244 676900 or fill in the form below.

Batch Traceability – Looking for a needle in a haystack

If your business produces products within a regulated industry, batch traceability is of the utmost importance. The reality of “Batch Traceability” is that it is a highly complex multi-dimension issue that touches all parts of the enterprise.

The problem arises, when you have to find the cause to understand the effect, regardless if you’re undertaking a real life or simulated product analysis and recall. Searching through your batch record Big Data, is like “looking for a needle in a haystack”. Visualisation is the optimum way to sift through the data haystack to find the information needle point to increase visibility, reduce the time and cost of analysis to make timely and informed decisions.

Using our SAP Business One – Industry Edition with ProcessForce, provides such a solution for regulated industries, allowing users to quickly understand the batch path (both forwards and backwards) and batch status through the inventory and production flow process and to then drill down to understand the transactional effects and implications across the enterprise.

If you want to know more about how can help, call 01244 676900 or fill in the form below.

 

The food & drink supply chain: quality and contamination risks

Guest Blog by Food Journalist Paul Gander

In my last entry, I looked at the risks to the food ingredient supply chain from criminal adulteration of (usually relatively high-value) raw materials. In fact, the role of food fraud in downstream threats to quality and safety is minor in comparison with other challenges – despite the high-profile exceptions to this rule.

Those challenges from the upper reaches of the supply chain tend to have more to do with negligence than malice, potentially involving inadvertent contamination with allergens, pathogens or simply poor-quality ingredients.

Naturally, even those manufacturers which take the greatest care in screening and updating their supplier lists can fall prey to these issues. So is there anything else that can be done to reduce risk?

Increasing amounts of information directly relevant to quality monitoring are becoming available from external sources. Some of this comes from third-party quality/safety certification providers such as the British Retail Consortium (BRC). Just one small (but important) example is the BRC’s advice to manufacturers and other supply chain partners that they should check the certification status of supplier sites on its online directory. Talking to BRC packaging expert Joanna Griffiths ahead of the launch of the new issue of the Global Standard for Packaging, she told me that forged certificates of compliance were still a problem among some suppliers.

Third-party certification will provide reassurance with regard to the overall probity of your supplier, but what about specific contamination risks?

There may be nothing new about the EU’s Rapid Alert System for Food & Feed (RASFF) when it comes to potential risks from allergens and pathogens, but the number of additional tools for monitoring the global marketplace is increasing and will grow still further.

Take, for example, the widening use of whole genome sequencing (WGS) of pathogens. While some still consider this an unnecessarily elaborate (and costly) route to relatively straightforward data, the US Food & Drug Administration (FDA) is using the technique extensively, and in the UK, the Food Standards Agency (FSA) is assessing its wider value.

Head of science delivery at the FSA Alisdair Wotherspoon tells me that WGS and other relevant data is finding its way into the Global Microbial Identifier (GMI) project. This aims to create a shared platform and database ‘fingerprinting’ a broad range of micro-organisms and showing how they are linked.

On the level of chemical contamination, the UK’s Food and Environment Research Agency (FERA) has been developing the idea of ‘smart surveillance’. If you have a ‘snapshot’ of what is ‘normal’, chemically-speaking, (the theory goes) then you can pick up any divergence from that benchmark. This could in turn automatically trigger a system of ‘traffic light’ warnings.

Wotherspoon makes the point that the key developments with the GMI project, for example, will come in the field of bio-informatics. That is certainly true of the way data is collected, but equally important will be the IT routes by which businesses can access that – and other – data.

No one can eliminate risk from the supply chain altogether, but by accessing and integrating external data, future food manufacturing may be able to travel a long way in that direction.

To find out how Signum and SAP Business One can aid your business call 01244 676 900, or click the button below.

Another Product Recall. Could Your Business Cope?

This week Sainsbury’s have issued a 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.