Key benefits of ERP for Food and Beverage

There are a number of benefits as to why the food and beverage industry should be using an ERP system for their business.  These are a few reasons as to why every Food and Beverage company should have an effective ERP:

Regulatory Compliance and Reporting

There are numerous food safety risks that regulatory regulations are trying to control. Capturing and maintaining data involves different sets of people in your organization, especially from the production side. It’s important that you have a system that tells you how, when and where of safety-related information.

With the right software, managing food safety compliance is a breeze. ERP systems for Food and Beverage must have the capability to record real-time data in various aspects of supply and manufacturing during production and be able to store data for future retrieval.

Remaining compliant is vital to protecting your reputation, your customers, and your team members. Using an ERP solutions that’s integrated throughout your business helps to ensure communication and compliance.

Quality Management

Quality management is a crucial element of compliance. ERP systems for Food and Beverage must be able to record real-time data in various aspects of supply and manufacturing during production and be able to store data for future retrieval.

Food and beverage manufacturers must follow strict safety protocols when preparing their products for consumption. Only an ERP solution that provides real-time quality, regulatory compliance, traceability, and collaboration can ensure that these issues are properly handled.

Process Manufacturing

A food and beverage process manufacturing ERP system will help you track every step from the preparation of raw ingredients to the finished stage of production. The menu management, product tracking, portion control and factory line automation capabilities of a quality ERP system for food and beverage will increase efficiency and maximise profit. In addition, you can increase responsiveness to customer orders by improving flexibility with accurate inventory controls.

With ERP integration to the back-end operation, food and beverage manufacturers can streamline workflows, increase data transparency, and make more-informed decision at every step of the value chain.

Sales And Inventory Management

Food and beverage businesses typically also need to manage inventory in a highly complex way. Whether processing a single transaction or millions, the ERP must support the nuances of regulations concerning food safety, drink quality and control. The software must also provide advanced capabilities for managing both raw materials and finished goods across a network of suppliers and distributors.

Supply chain visibility and the proper goods-to-person distribution system are two must-have features for a food and beverage ERP solution. These functions meet both food safety standards and efficiency goals, not only in terms of time but by eliminating waste

Integrated Financials

Integrated financials are the key to successful business management. Besides providing for better informed decision-making across your business, they safeguard against unscheduled exposures and contribute to an increase in profitability.

An ERP system for food manufacturers can also include capabilities for collaborate planning, inventory management, supply chain management, and business intelligence. The food manufacturer solution in an ERP platform will typically reveal high-level data about the company’s sales figures, materials management, production levels and inventory levels to enable better decision making — for the benefit of the entire business.

Food manufacturing companies don’t have to guess when it comes to big-picture management. Proper food manufacturing ERP can provide all of the information you need to make the right decisions — now and in the future.

The ability to integrate your financial information across different divisions of your business is key to success.

In Summary

Acquiring and keeping a lead in the highly competitive food industry is beyond difficult. ERP is a tool to view and manage multiple aspects of your operations from multiple perspectives, time periods, and locations.

The right food manufacturing software can make all the difference between a successful and failed enterprise. Without the right tools, you won’t be able to compete, grow, or respond effectively to changing conditions. Without the right ERP for food and beverage production, you’re taking on a nearly impossible challenge.

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

Food Manufacturers: 5 Ingredients For A Post Pandemic Business

Post-pandemic, food manufacturers will have to turn their attention to providing a safe supply of food, improving the health of their employees and meeting customers’ demands for more sustainable products.

While many companies have suffered immense financial and reputational loss during the COVID-19 pandemic, those that have had reliable safety standards in place have been able to sustain normal operations through timely implementation of technological advances.

But with the global pandemic of COVID-19, it’s fair to say that every food manufacturer in every country has had a bit of a rethink about their priorities.

There are five key ingredients that can help food manufacturers in the post-pandemic market: Demand Planning, Food Safety, Employee Health, Digital Technology, and a Resilient Supply Chain.

Demand planning

Today’s food manufacturing companies need to know how to harness the power of data and technology. How can you keep up with changing consumer purchases so that your company thrives? One solution is to utilize new technology and tools for analysing data and finding trends. Today, there are many companies specializing in supply chain and enterprise resource planning (ERP) software solutions. These systems offer businesses a great opportunity to monitor market conditions, make critical decisions, and stay ahead of the curve on production.

Food Safety

Food safety is a clearly vital component of all food manufacturing businesses, and it’s also something that plays a huge role in the minds of potential customers. And that emphasis is only going to continue: Businesses will have to be able to source their ingredients, and then track the movement of these ingredients as they move along the supply chain, before being cooked up and delivered to an end customer.

When utilizing an ERP system, food manufacturers can improve performance and operate more effectively. An ERP system can help to ensure product quality through the proper storage and preparation of ingredients. Food borne illnesses are also reduced, which helps to ensure the safety of the consumer.

Employee health

Early in the pandemic, with a little common sense, the workplace could be kept safe and employees healthy. However, during the height of the pandemic, when widespread school and business closures were being considered, everyone—public, organizations, or private parties—looking to minimize employee contact and exposure will have to rethink how they deliver employee health services and seek solutions that rely on training and education rather than tools to protect you from transmissible diseases.

With an ERP solution, when a worker falls sick, you have complete visibility into the products, equipment, and other employees he/ she came into contact with, allowing you to understand the risk involved and take preventive steps.

Digital technology

Working from home is now necessary for many employees, and that places a greater need on the ability to manage your systems remotely via cloud-based solutions. Whether your business had already begun the process of embracing these new tools, a ramp up is likely still in order.

The potential of a workforce working from home is both exciting and, in some cases, concerning. While the benefits of a distributed workforce are significant, there needs to be a comprehensive strategy to ensure everyone has access to the systems they need from any location. The availability of cloud-based ERP solutions makes it possible to manage resources and track productivity from anywhere

Resilient supply chain

The world is going through a period of unprecedented food crisis; one which has gripped us with fear as to how this will affect household economies, and in particular, the ability to provide daily bread to our families. The recent restrictions during the coronavirus epidemic have greatly affected the flow of food from the farm to the fork.

As a way to better provide for their customers, food manufacturers are work with ERP solutions to determine the best way to proactively meet customer demands. By streamlining order-to-cash processes companies can stay flexible and keep their customers happy.

Now more than ever, food and beverage corporations are accountable for satisfying their customers. At Signum Solutions, we understand your challenges and can help you build a solid information technology foundation so your organization can deliver the best products and services to meet consumer demands.

Signum’s SAP Business One Industry Edition for Food and Beverage manufacturing provides everything you need for inventory management, production scheduling, decision, result tracking, reporting, and more – visit our Food and Beverage Industry page to learn more.

 

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 

Food Waste and ERP

Food waste and ERP are two aspects of a business that seem worlds apart. However, the two processes are linked in ways many don’t know. Here we look at food waste and how it can be minimised by implementing an ERP solution.

Food manufacturers in the United Kingdom (UK) are facing complex operations that can lead to product waste and errors. In recent years, the country has seen a relentless rise in food wastage. This can be attributed to several factors including ingredient seasonality, operational mistakes, and personal behaviour. Regulators have included food manufacturing in their plans to tackle food waste, but this does not guarantee its minimisation.

Food processing companies have a special responsibility to reduce food waste. Every year, one third of all food produced for human consumption around the world is lost or wasted. And it’s not just about throwing away spoiled products – it is about the losses and waste that occur at every stage throughout the food production cycle. It’s not good enough to promote to consumers how good your products are while your distribution centres and supermarkets throw away half of the food they receive.

Throughout the food production cycle, losses and waste that occur are preventable. Food processing companies must strive toward reducing food waste right from the processing plants to distribution centres and supermarkets.

To aid in this, food manufacturing businesses are increasingly adopting Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software in an effort to cope with the growing waste management problem. It has become increasingly difficult for businesses to keep up with the demands of consumers in this country, which leads to a high percentage of food going straight to landfill.

There are tremendous benefits to implementing an ERP solution in your food industry business. ERP systems enable companies to increase their productivity and efficiency as well as reducing wastage and losses. They optimize manpower resource, reduce manual work, minimize time delays, improve accuracy of data, and keep information secured from threats of corruptions.

ERP software is playing a large role in helping these food manufacturing businesses accurately track where their products are in the supply chain.

With an ERP system in place, food processing businesses can now manage all operations including production, inventory, sales, and marketing, planning, and controlling with real-time data keeping the business on a single platform for better management control.

SAP Business One is one example of an ERP that helps reduce food waste in the food production process, through its forecasting and planning qualities. It’s important to have a clear insight into the amount of food you have in stock and the expected demand or orders you can expect to receive.

Adopting SAP Business One software in your food production business eliminates issues to do with the overproduction of food products beyond your storage capacity. SAP Business One provides you with tools that provide accurate forecasting and planning and reporting. This helps you to avoid stock losses because of wastage – too much wastage incurs costs which result in loss of revenue. The list of advantages here is long but SAP Business One can be seen as a single solution that can help your food business to grow and achieve success by increasing its profit margins.

Food manufacturers depend on SAP Business One for insight into the entire supply chain. As a result they provide better products, increase consumer confidence, and reduce food waste.

To discover the benefits of SAP Business One for your food business, download the solutions brief here 

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

Planning for Your Food Business ERP Project

Food business ERP system, do you need one? 

The idea to purchase an Food business 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 food business 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 a food business 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  for your food business, give us a call on 01244 676 900