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Chris Williamson


CRM can help your chemical industry ERP deliver better results

By | Chemicals, CRM, ERP | No Comments

Combining ERP and CRM solutions gives chemicals companies the advantage they need to remain competitive.

Customer relationship management (CRM) solutions have been around a long time, but many companies in the chemical sector don’t realize the value of CRMs to building customer loyalty and growth.

Imagine the possibilities when chemical companies integrate their CRM and enterprise resource planning (ERP) solutions. The potential for better customer interactions, enhanced communications and better sales is off the charts.

Here’s how a CRM can help your chemical industry ERP deliver better results.

The chemical industry in 2019

Chemical companies today face a changing competitive landscape that requires innovative thinking to stay ahead. Among the core challenges are margin pressure and customer expectations.

Competitive pricing pressure means companies need to do whatever they can to improve operational efficiency. That’s a core function of ERP solutions, which are designed to provide transparency and insights into operations that result in better processes.

Customers want timely communication, instant responses and real-time access to information on orders, deliveries and availability. Excellent customer service today means having a holistic understanding of all interactions, from payment histories, meeting outcomes, responses to marketing pitches and order histories. ERP and CRM solutions together offer companies the fullest picture of their customers.

Trucks driving on a highway.

Customer expectations today mean companies need to provide real-time information on orders and deliveries.

Benefits of integration

ERP solutions are designed to manage core business functions, including finance, operations, warehouse, inventory and human resources. CRM products are focused on customer data, including contacts, interactions, meetings and help requests.

Today, using these two systems in vacuum is a lost opportunity for the chemical industry.

Data is an increasingly commodified asset. As chemical companies collect and store more information about products and customers, they can use that information to improve efficiency, attract and retain customers and achieve better business outcomes. Here’s a closer look at some of the advantages to CRM and ERP integration:

  • Better business development. Bringing together data from both solutions provides businesses with stronger insights. Focus on existing customers by analyzing their sales and customer service histories, comparing them to similar customers and providing customized and personalized solutions. Understanding their needs and pain points helps you retain customers through better collaboration.
  • Improved processes. With a single source of data for sales, promotions, production, finances, inventory and distribution, chemical companies can be more responsive and efficient on tasks ranging from product ordering to compliance tracking to production scheduling.
  • Robust customer valuation. Understand the lifetime value of each customer via consolidated dashboards and metrics pulling information from CRM and ERP solutions. Use this information to create real-time profitability analyses and ROI metrics. These tools let you identify your most valuable customers, develop retention strategies for those customers and target future customers with the same attributes.
  • Enhanced automation. Both CRM and ERP tout the power of automation. Integrating the solutions allows for improved automation, especially when it comes to customer interactions. Provide enhanced responsiveness, more detailed information in real time, and accurate interactions with customers.

How to integrate

Partner with the right company to leverage the capabilities of these powerful solutions. At NexTec, we help chemical companies select and implement ERP and CRM solutions. We develop seamless integration solutions that let companies maximize their investments and remain competitive. Contact us to learn more about how to get the most out of your ERP and CRM.

Cannabis cookies and cannabis leaves.

Edibles at the intersection of cannabis and food ERP solutions

By | Cannabis, Food and Beverage | No Comments
Cannabis Cookies with cannabis leaves.

Cannabis-infused cookies are a popular choice among consumers. Keeping them safe requires the right ERP solution.

As the cannabis industry grows, one of the most popular product categories is edibles. Such products are cannabis-infused foods and beverages that are consumed either for recreational purposes or to treat a health issue. They include candies, cookies, energy drinks, gummies and teas.

The issue of food safety is a complicated one for cannabis companies. In states where these products are approved for sale, there may be some local regulations and guidelines. However, with the absence of federal regulations, many businesses struggle to determine how to address food safety.

That’s where enterprise resource planning software (ERP) can play a pivotal role. With an ERP designed for the cannabis industry, you can address key food safety issues and be prepared for future regulations at all levels.

Here is a look at edibles at the intersection of cannabis and food ERP solutions.

Approaches to food safety compliance

Food safety for cannabis companies can touch on multiple issues, including some common to food and beverage businesses, such as:

  • Inaccurate labeling
  • Food-borne pathogens
  • Disease outbreaks

In addition, there are issues unique to the cannabis business sector, including:

  • Extraction methods
  • Bacteria and mold growth
  • Pest and pesticide contamination
  • Chemical exposure
  • Employee handling
  • Unintentional consumption or overconsumption of edibles

The consequences of a food safety event are potentially substantial, including liability and damage to reputation and public perception.

Some cannabis companies take a conservative approach and follow guidelines established by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. The Food Safety Modernization Act establishes guidelines for manufacturers to use for identifying and addressing risks, sanitary transportation and certifying foreign suppliers.

For cannabis companies it’s complicated. Without federal regulation for such businesses, the FSMA does not apply. Yet states and municipalities have their own unique regulations and restrictions, meaning companies need to be mindful of many different guidelines to remain compliant.

Cannabis candies and buds in a glass jar.

Companies need to ensure that gummies, teas and chocolates containing cannabis are safe to consume.

Food ERP solutions and cannabis companies

Cannabis-specific ERPs help by providing the structure, integration and processes necessary to follow best practices for food safety. Here are some of the critical ways a cannabis food ERP can help:

  • Seed-to-sale management. Tools that track plants forward and backwards at every stage of growth and processing allow for specificity and detailed reporting.
  • Inventory management. Automation tools help improve the tracking and recording of important inventory data, including expiration dates, product quantities, RFID plant tags and serial and lot numbers. These data points help manage inventory levels, recipes, labeling, quality control, supply chain management and traceability. The tools also can automate accurate product label creation, expiration dates and testing for contaminants.
  • Recipe management. One challenge for the cannabis industry is the inconsistency of taste, texture and smell from batch to batch. Your food ERP should include recipe and formula management functions that track raw materials, revision history and production notes.
  • HACCP planning. The Hazard Analysis Critical Control Points planning details procedures to protect consumers from chemical, physical and biological dangers. Incorporating control points into your ERP lets you prevent and control hazards before they affect food safety.

Choosing the right cannabis ERP

NexTec provides cannabis companies with insights and industry knowledge to identify the right food ERP solution. Learn more about technology that runs your CannaBusiness.

Tabletop with various vegetable dishes and grains.

How the right ERP solution reduces food waste

By | ERP, Food and Beverage | No Comments
Tabletop with various dishes of vegetables and grains.

Food waste is an expensive issue for manufacturing companies wanting to reduce operational costs.

Reducing food waste is an important issue for food and beverage companies that can best be resolved by improving communication and collaboration across the supply chain.

Enterprise resource planning (ERP) software that connects users and provides transparency is one of the best ways to curb the food waste issue and improve efficiency. Knowing how the right ERP solution reduces food waste is the first step.

The food waste issue

A recent study about the Belgian food processing industry found that the most common factors contributing to food waste were:

  • Product changes (13 percent)
  • Human error (10.9 percent)
  • Product defects (8.7 percent)
  • Buyer contracts (6.4 percent)

Clearly, all four of those causes are related to poor production and operational processes. As lead researcher Dr. Manoj Dora of Brunei Business School noted, “At most of the companies we went to, there was no standardisation of work or visual management in place. It’s a management issue.”

Dora noted that there are pre-production issues that contribute to food waste, notably incorrect orders, substandard storage and poor inventory management. Within the production environment, interruptions in production and inefficiencies in planning, ordering, processing, packaging and transportation compound the issues.

The scale of food waste is extraordinary. A Boston Consulting Group study estimates that globally 1.6 billion tons of food valued at $1.2 trillion are lost are wasted annually.

Chef preparing a meal.

A food ERP solution helps companies use real-time insights throughout the supply chain to reduce waste.

How food ERP software reduces waste

Your ERP solution offers multiple functions that help lower the amount of food waste. Here are a few of the main benefits:

  • Real-time data. With access to information from the shop floor, mobile devices, suppliers and products in the moment of need, employees can make better-informed decisions and collaborate better, especially for inventory and order forecasting.
  • Mistake reduction. With accurate data from your ERP solution inventory management application and accurate recipe management, there are fewer mistakes that result in scrapping batches or not having the right ingredients available when needed.
  • Improved efficiency. ERPs connect finance, inventory, production scheduling, sales and transportation across the company. Working from a single source of information and processes that are informed by multiple areas, your company will have better operational outcomes, less downtime and better ordering and reordering, and more accurate production.
  • Catch weight management. More accurate catch weights, and tools to track changes over time, allow for accurate recipes, less spoilage and more precise measurements at the time of production. The right ERP tracks multiple measurement units, converts measures, lot tracking and flexible pricing.
  • Food monitoring. Embedded sensors connected to products, lots and batches collect and relay vital information such as temperature and humidity levels that can be used to assess viability or change conditions, save more perishable ingredients and reduce food waste.
  • Traceability. In the event of a recall, an ERP helps you quickly track and trace ingredients and finished products quickly, ensuring better food safety and less waste.

NexTec group helps food and beverage manufacturers identify and implement the right ERP solution to reduce food waste. Download our guide to reducing food waste to learn more about how NexTec improves your investment in ERP technology.

Cannabis plant.

Sage Business Cloud Enterprise Management for the cannabis industry

By | Cannabis, Sage Enterprise Management | No Comments
Cannabis plant.

An enterprise resource planning solution helps cannabis companies meet demands for traceability and compliance.

The cannabis industry is experiencing extraordinary growth as more jurisdictions allow for personal and medical use of products.

In this time of growth, many cannabis companies are grappling with complexity, unique operational needs, regulatory mandates and efficiency concerns. Businesses realize they need the right suite of enterprise resource planning (ERP) tools to address those challenges.

A closer look at those needs reveals that Sage Business Cloud Enterprise Management for the cannabis industry is the right ERP solution.

New Challenges for a New Industry

If you’re the owner of a cannabis company, you’re likely facing an array of challenges while seeing extraordinary opportunity in the growing industry. Having an ERP solution that is designed for the cannabis industry helps address many of those issues, including:

  • Customer Analytics. Understanding your customer base is essential for any business. As cannabis companies grow and expand their market share, they need tools that provide them insights about product popularity, demand iand profit margins. Leveraging the data from yields, materials, sales, marketing and spending habits helps shape product selection, pricing and customer service.
  • Traceability. Cannabis companies have an obligation to track information about strains, growing conditions, product ingredients and customers. This responsibility requires transparency throughout the supply chain to meet customer expectations and the scrutiny of regulators and law enforcement. Distribution management software and analytical tools that are designed for the cannabis industry allows for seed-to-sale efficiencies, data collection and reporting.
  • Compliance. Most cannabis businesses are under the watchful eye of state and local regulations. There are also restrictions on banking, THC levels and pesticide use on plants. Complex tax guidelines also need to be followed. IN short, cannabis companies need systems that collect and report on data with precision, available in the moment of need and accurate. The right ERP solution gives your company the tools to meet myriad regulatory mandates and remain compliant.
  • Competition and Big Cannabis. As your business grows and demonstrates profitability, it becomes a target for other competitors eager to get a piece of the action. Large cannabis enterprises are purchasing and managing smaller operations. To be attractive to potential buyers and stave off the competition, your cannabis business needs a solution like Sage Business Cloud Enterprise Management that integrates financial, customer and product information to allow for better insights and decisions.
Cannabis oil.

The right cannabis ERP helps your company optimize growing conditions for better yields and to meet customer demand.

What to Look for in a Cannabis ERP

Sage Business Cloud Enterprise Management is a web-based ERP that offers the features necessary to run a successful cannabis business. The Sage solution includes modules that focus on financial management, supply chain management, production management and reporting and business analytics.

This powerful suite of applications delivers needed solutions for your business, including:

  • Crop management
  • Corrective Action / Preventable Action (CAPA) management
  • Seed-to-sale traceability
  • Inventory tracking
  • Integration with government regulatory systems

NexTec Group partners with Sage to offer customers the tools and functionality they need to succeed. NexTec has developed a powerful set of add-ons, called CannaBusiness ERP, that enhances you Sage Business Cloud solution

NexTec has developed powerful tools that work in tandem, with the Sage Business Cloud solution. Called CannaBusiness ERP, it’s a powerful set of add-ons that allow for more enhancements to the Sage Business Cloud product, including grow operations and optimization management, production scheduling, product forecasting and quality control.

Learn more about technology that runs your CannaBusiness.

Factory worker using a tablet.

Optimize food and beverage ops: Integrate ERP, CRM, and supply chain

By | ERP, Food and Beverage | No Comments
Factory worker using a tablet.

Integrating ERP, CRM and supply chain functions gives your food and beverage company a competitive advantage.

Streamlining operations is a top priority for today’s food and beverage companies. With tight margins, fast-changing customer expectations and new ingredients and flavors emerging constantly, businesses need to be responsive and effective in the wake of constant change.

Managing this extraordinary wave of disruption presents opportunity for those companies that leverage their existing technologies to deliver better insights and efficiencies. One way to optimize operations is to integrate customer relationship management (CRM), enterprise resource planning (ERP) and supply chain systems.

Here’s a closer look at what happens when you optimize food and beverage ops and integrate CRM, ERP, and supply chain.

Addressing Food and Beverage Challenges Head On

Food and beverage companies are facing complex challenges that demand solutions that simplify the way work is done. Among the most common challenges are:

  • Cost Pressures. Facing tight margins forces companies to look closely at costs and pricing. Companies need a rigorous and transparent understanding of procurement, inventory, sales and marketing conditions to make the best decisions.
  • Food Safety. The advent of the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) has put a bright spotlight around safety procedures companies and their partners use.
  • Changing Tastes. Consumers today expect products that are healthy, optimally sourced and addressing dietary and nutritional expectations.

Facing these challenges means leveraging the capabilities of your CRM and ERP platforms, working in tandem with your supply chain management to deliver quality, variety and innovation.

Factory worker using a pad a paper.

Sage Business Cloud Enterprise Management gives your food and beverage company better insights into costs, operations and customers.

Finding a Solution

Companies need a faster, simpler and more flexible way to manage finances, production and supply chain. With Sage Business Cloud Enterprise Management, companies can leverage the capabilities of ERP and CRM at a fraction of the cost and complexity of typical solutions. Sage Business Cloud Enterprise Management provides real-time insights for all phases of your business – procurement, warehousing, sales, customer service and financial management – with faster insights into cost and performance.

Sage also makes it easier for employees to use the powerful tools and data stored within. Using a single cohesive suite of applications, Sage Business Cloud Enterprise Management adapts to unique user roles, preferences and workflows. Users can access information securely via the cloud on mobile or desktop devices.

Sage Business Cloud Enterprise Management gives your business flexible configuration options and can be housed in the cloud or on premises. It works closely with your supply chain by offering real-time insights on purchasing, inventory management, sales management and customer service, allowing your employees to collaborate and communicate more effectively. Your business will remain compliant and responsive to customer demands.

Sage improves warehouse and inventory operations, too. The solution allows for better inventory tracking and product profitability while reducing waste. Operationally, Sage Business Cloud Enterprise Management includes tools to document food safety and provide traceability and recall management.

Integrating your CRM tools with access to customer data helps lift your sales and marketing efforts and better manage customer and prospect requests.

At NexTec, we work closely with food and beverage companies to implement solutions like Sage Business Cloud Enterprise Management that transform the way work is done. Take a free tour of Sage Enterprise Management and learn how NexTec can give your business the competitive advantage it needs to thrive in today’s marketplace.

Data-focused organization

ERP solutions, BI, and the data-driven culture

By | BI, ERP | No Comments
Data-focused organization.

A data-driven business culture reduces costs, fosters collaboration and innovation, and demonstrates return on investment in new technologies.

While businesses today are gathering and storing more data than ever before, many still struggle with how to use the collected information. Building a data-driven culture that can leverage the massive amounts of data helps organizations become more nimble, innovative and responsive to shifting markets and customer expectations.

Building a data-driven culture also means having the tools available to sift through the data to find actionable insights. Fortunately, today companies can use enterprise resource planning (ERP) and business intelligence (BI) solutions as the foundation. Here’s a closer look at ERP solutions, BI, and the data-driven culture.

Why a data-driven culture is critical

In a 2018 survey of business intelligence users and consultants, the research firm BARC said building a data-driven culture was the top trend driving the BI market among North American respondents. It was the number two trend among South American respondents and fifth worldwide.

“This represents a major shift in today’s business world,” said BARC founder and CEO Carsten Bange. “Creating a data-driven culture is about replacing gut feelings with decisions based on data-derived facts.”

A data-driven culture is essential in today’s competitive environment because it offers a fact-based approach to solving business problems. What can a data-driven approach offer? Here are a few advantages:

  • Cost reduction. A Harvard Business Review article noted that nearly 50 percent of Fortune 1000 executives had started to see a decrease in expenses by using Big Data.
  • Better collaboration. With a data-driven approach and using an ERP solution, employees can see and use the same data in real time, leading to new insights, perspectives and partnerships.
  • More accountability. With a data-driven culture, there can be more accountability for decisions made, using data gathered and analyzed before and after a new solution is used.
  • More ROI on investments. Companies today are investing more in tools to collect, transmit and store data. By leveraging and even commoditizing that information, companies are better able to demonstrate a return on those investments.
  • Specific targeting. A data-driven culture allows your organization to develop more personalized and customized solutions for your best customers and prospects using predictive modeling, artificial intelligence, automation and data mining.
  • Informed decision-making. While it may appear obvious, having the right information available when decisions are needed is important. You need the ERP and BI tools available in the moment, with real-time information, to make better decisions faster and with confidence.
Group of people working around a table with laptops.

Give your employees access to the tools and insights in order to build a more data-driven culture.

Building a data-driven culture

Creating a data-driven culture does not happen overnight. However, there are steps leaders can take now to build an organization that embraces and uses data, including:

  • Focus on democratizing data by giving employees the power to collect, analyze and use it.
  • Stress data quality to ensure that information is collected properly and accurately.
  • Establish data governance policies that spell out how data is collected, stored, accessed and used.
  • Promote data literacy.
  • Connect data to core business objectives to show why data matters.
  • Use the right tools.

At NexTec, we help companies choose the right ERP and BI solutions that collect and use data to meet pressing business needs. Having the right ERP/BI partner helps accelerate the process of becoming a data-driven business and reaping the rewards.

Get our short guide to BI and what it can do for your business.

Inventory control

Food and beverage inventory management: How to take control

By | Food and Beverage, Inventory control | No Comments
Inventory control

Take control of your inventory management by using the right enterprise resource planning solution.

Inventory management can be a challenge for food and beverage companies. With effective inventory control, companies can realize significant improvements in wastage, traceability and compliance.

Having the right enterprise resource planning (ERP) solution helps companies discover how to take control of food and beverage inventory management.

Why focus on inventory control?

Inventory is at the heart of food and beverage operations. Without sound inventory management, companies are likely to have costlier manufacturing processes, poorer outcomes, strained supply chain relationships and shakier regulatory compliance.

Often the issue is a lack of good data. More precisely, it’s about being able to collect, manage and use that data to make better decisions in the moment.

The right food ERP solution helps companies resolve some of their greatest inventory management issues, including:

  • Poor stock rotation leading to spoilage
  • Too much capital tied up in stock
  • Inadequate stock levels
  • Inaccurate sales projections
  • Slow turnaround time on customer orders

Solving those issues requires a food ERP that can collect and display data in the moment of critical need, drive better decisions and improve output.

Inventory control.

ERP solutions provide the data, insights and tools to reduce spoilage and ensure regulatory compliance.

Solving the big three challenges of poor inventory management

Food and beverage companies grapple with inventory issues daily. Here’s a look at three of the most critical issues and how the right ERP platform solves them.

1. Reducing food waste

Food waste costs companies millions each year in disposal costs and reordering. The issue is compounded today by customer expectations for rapid introduction of new products, ingredients and recipes.

Reducing food waste means a focus on three core areas:

  • Overstocking. Without clear predictive models on demand, food companies can understock (and risk losing revenue) or overstock and suffer from reduced cash flow and increased spoilage.
  • Spoilage. Companies need data generated by their ERP tool to track products by lot and vendor to prevent spoilage. An ERP tool can also optimize and accelerate production scheduling to factor in expiring ingredients.
  • Cross-Contamination. Tracking products to avoid contamination is a regulatory and safety issue. With the growing number of food allergies, inventory needs to be stored, handled and packaged properly to track products and manage workflow. Your ERP solution can help map where products are stored and trace usage at every stage.

2. Traceability

Farm-to-fork traceability is the expectation today among customers and consumers. Providing this information means having ERP capabilities to track sources, locations, handing, processing, delivery dates, quantities and quality.

Traceability is a critical part of recall management planning and execution. With track-and-trace functions in place, your company can respond faster in the event of a recall, providing the public, customers, stakeholders and regulators accurate information faster.

3. Compliance

The Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) has changed the regulatory landscape for many food and beverage companies. You need an ERP tool that can properly track, record and report on various compliance mandates from different regulating agencies. Automation, quality control and IoT objects connected to your ERP solution are critical to remaining in good standing.

Finding a solution

Sage Enterprise Management (formerly Sage X3) gives your food and beverage company the ERP solution designed to meet your inventory management challenges. Sage Enterprise Management offers shelf-life management, production planning, stock management, lot management, formula and recipe management, quality control and allergen tracking tools designed specifically for the food and beverage industry.

NexTec works extensively with food and beverage companies to find, implement and optimize their ERP solutions. Our consultants have years of experience with Sage Enterprise Management. Take a free tour of Sage Enterprise Management to learn how to transform inventory management and reduce costs for your company.

ERP solutions

Data as a value creation tool in chemicals: How your ERP can help

By | Chemicals, ERP | No Comments
ERP solution

Your ERP solution is the key hub to use to leverage new possibilities from your data.

Chemical companies are discovering the value of the data they have and generate. While there is tremendous opportunity to leverage this data for deeper insights and new revenue streams, companies need the right enterprise resource planning (ERP) tools to fully leverage the opportunities.

Knowing how your ERP can help maximize data as a value creation tool in chemicals is a key strategic focus for many companies.

Using business analytics to leverage data is relatively new for the chemicals industry. That’s one of the main reasons that several private organizations and government agencies hosted a workshop in Washington, D.C., in 2018 to incorporate deeper analytics (data science) into the chemicals workplace.

Building Reserves

The power of new technologies. Many chemical companies are thinking of data like countries think about oil. They’re building tremendous reserves of data, stockpiling it in the case of an emergency.

However, many chemical companies are building up this reserve without a clear path to using it effectively and to use it for competitive advantage.

With all that data comes the need to have systems that can use the information in key ways. Chemical companies have unique needs in how data are operationalized, including:

  • Data needs to be highly searchable and usable in different contexts depending on the audience
  • Data have different characteristics that need to be factored into their use
  • Chemical data needs context to understand why they behave in a certain way
  • Forces act on chemical systems and need to be factored into creating systems and models

These complex attributes mean that leveraging chemical companies’ data is much more than what to with it. It’s also about observing the data and how it behaves in different scenarios.

For example, a company may collect data on the frequency of reactions for chemicals at different temperatures and use that information to create better internal processes that improve safety and quality.

Two construction workers sitting in a heavy machine with hard hats.

ERP solutions can help employees gain deeper insights to improve processes an gain revenue.

Leveraging Data Power

What chemical companies do to use their manufacturing ERP software to seize the data opportunity? Here are a few steps:

  • Practical solutions. Your data and analytics platform needs to be focused on delivering value to the organization. Your platform should focus first on augmenting what’s being done now. Then you can incorporate your newly created tools into other functions and processes.
  • Small bites. Organizations can be paralyzed by the sheer scope of data analytics. Instead of trying to pull in all the variables at once, companies should take an iterative approach.
  • Multiple investments. As much as you will invest in your ERP solution and the tools to use data effectively, you also need to invest in talent and training. Making sure your organization is resilient, comfortable with innovation and change, and has the necessary skills is just as critical as collecting the data.
  • Democratic approach. You need to share your data widely across the enterprise and tap into the knowledge and insights that others can bring to solving problems. That’s one of the strengths of using ERP for your data transformation. ERPs foster and encourage transparent, collaborative approaches to data usage.

NexTec is a leader in helping companies maximize their ERP solutions. With NexTec, chemical companies can get more out of their ERP investment and take their data to the next level. Contact us to learn more about how NexTec can drive transformation in your organization.

ERP solutions

How the IoT and ERPs are changing the food and beverage industry

By | ERP, Food and Beverage | No Comments
Food ERP

Food and beverage makers are finding the use of connected devices and integrated data analytics programs are driving better operations and revenue.

In mid-November 2018, food manufacturer Cargill announced a new approach to Thanksgiving turkey.

The manufacturer partnered with several family turkey farms to use the Internet of Things and blockchain to track 200,000 hens slated for holiday tables. Each turkey will have an identification code that can be entered into a website that can trace the bird to the farm where it was raised and learn more about the operation and the farmers.

It’s just one example of technologies like IoT and enterprise resource planning (ERP) solutions are revolutionizing the food is made.

Here’s a closer look at how the IoT and ERPs are changing the food and beverage industry.

IoT and ERP explained

The Internet of Things is the collection of billions of objects, from smartphones to sensors, equipped with tools that measure, collect and transmit information. ERPs are software platforms that allow companies to streamline operations and share data across all areas of the company, from finance to inventory management to manufacturing.

Here are just a few of the ways the IoT is transforming the industry throughout the supply chain:

  • Food monitoring. Sensors connected to products and places can measure environmental factors like temperature and humidity and send alerts when issues arise, allowing for perishable food to saved and reducing waste.
  • Farming. Farmers are using sensors to monitor soil moisture levels and making adjustments as necessary. GPS tools on tractors help to plant straight rows to optimize the placement of irrigation equipment.
  • Food safety. Tracking tools on lots and batches allows companies to respond to food recalls quickly, tracking ingredient sources and tracing customer purchases to issue prompt alerts and assess the impact.
  • Inventory management. Sensors can track in real time inventory levels and alert staff about the need to reorder (or reorder automatically).
  • Consumer demands. Consumers today want more transparency in where their food, turkeys and otherwise, is coming from. IoT tools allow brands to interact with consumers and share information in both directions.
Food ERP

The right enterprise resource planning platform can store and analyze massive amounts of information about foods, inventories and purchases to drive better insights.

The relationship between ERPs and the IoT

IoT devices collect and generate massive amounts of data. For food and beverage manufacturers, the key is how to collect, report on and use that information effectively.

That’s where ERP solutions come into play. ERPs, many of which are cloud-based, allow companies to collect information easily. Dashboards, reports and charts can help distill that information into actionable insights, both in real time and from a broader strategic perspective.

ERPs are powerful solutions for companies because of the interconnectivity of data. With information readily available in one system, there’s no need for complicated conversions or work-arounds to access data in different technologies. Employees can use the same data simultaneously and to foster better collaboration and transparency.

The ERP solution’s robust analytics allow companies to:

  • Gain deeper insights into customer and consumer behaviors
  • Forecast future demand and suppliers
  • Assess the impact of new SKUs quickly to make decisions for expansion, retraction of discontinuation

Together, the rich data sets and powerful analytics make the use of IoT and ERP solutions a smart choice.

At NexTec, we help companies identify and deploy the right food ERP solutions that drive better operations and new revenue opportunities. Our expert consultants work with food and beverage companies to articulate solution needs and compare vendors and products.

Learn more about ERP and how it can make a difference for your company.

Man in a yellow hardhat holding a tablet.

NexTec ERP and HB Chemical: Partnership enables impressive growth

By | Case Studies, Chemicals, ERP | No Comments
Man with a hardhat holding a tablet.

HB Chemical partnered with NexTec to develop tools to improve warehouse efficiency and operations.

During its 30-plus years in business, HB Chemical has trusted one technology partner to create actionable solutions that address critical strategic needs: NexTec Group. The partnership has driven substantial growth that has helped the Twinsburg, Ohio chemical distribution company grow from $6 million in annual revenue to $135 million.

Over the years, NexTec has built solutions to automate document creation, achieve greater operational efficiency in its warehouse operations and support the company’s international expansion. The NexTec ERP and HB Chemical partnership enables impressive growth, from the selection of the right enterprise resource planning (ERP) software to the development of customized tools.

It’s an example of the long-term relationships NexTec builds with its clients, guided by a deep understanding of their markets, industries and available solutions.

About HB Chemical

Founded in 1985, HB Chemical provides chemicals and compounds used in the production of coatings, plastics and rubber. It has an inventory of more than 600 products distributed through strategically located warehouses in the United States, Canada and Mexico. Its strength is its ability to deliver products quickly and efficiently to its customers.

That’s why the company turns to NexTec when it needs to improve its technological infrastructure in response to shifting market demands. As the company has grown, so has the demand for sophisticated software tools that can adapt to rapid changes in the chemical industry.

Quality assurance.

NexTec created a customized process to help HB Chemical automate its quality assurance program.

Delivering quality and accuracy

As HB Chemical grew, it needed to automate how it generated Certificates of Analysis, issued by quality assurance teams to verify that products meet specific production specifications and standards. To ensure proper documentation, quality and consistency, the company needed to create a process that at the time was not even computerized. Any new application NexTec created also had to integrate with the company’s ERP solution, Microsoft Dynamics GP.

NexTec built a solution to house all the necessary technical data and automatically generate certificates and safety data sheets required for shipping.

HB Chemical relies on efficient warehouse operations to deliver needed products to its customers. NexTec created a customized dashboard that has reduced the time and labor necessary to pick, pack and ship orders.

Remote warehouse employees can access the dashboard, see which orders are ready to ship and print bills of lading and shipping labels. Central employees can access any warehouse’s dashboard to check order status and ensure products are shipped in a timely manner.

Scaling operations with NexTec

As HB Chemical has grown, it has sought out NexTec to build new tools and find solutions necessary for expansion. For example, when the company needed an enterprise-wide complete warehouse management system. NexTec helped source a solution that integrated with Microsoft Dynamics GP.

When the company wanted to expand into Mexico, NexTec worked to leverage Microsoft Dynamics GP’s highly scalable features and multilanguage capabilities.

Annette Doria, vice president of operations for HB Chemical, said the company needs a technology partner that can adapt to unique business processes and apply industry expertise to new challenges.

“They listen to us, they ask the right questions and they get results,” Doria said. “They’ve taken my ideas, combined them with their own, and created for us a business management solution that works extremely well.”

NexTec understands the complex needs of today’s chemical companies. Learn how HB Chemical grew from $6 million to $135 million in annual revenue. And if it’s time to make sure your ERP solution fully meets your company’s needs, we invite you to get our guide – 10 tips to smart ERP selection.