All Posts By

Chris Williamson

Food ERP

How your ERP helps your preparedness in the event of a product recall

By | ERP, Food and Beverage | No Comments
Woman pouring a glass of wine from a barrel.

Food ERP software gives you more accuracy in and access to quality control information.

No food manufacturer wants to face the harsh reality of a product recall. However, your company can minimize the sting and uncertainty of a recall event by having the tools and plans in place.

One of the most effective tools is enterprise resource planning software (ERP), which can provide you with the processes, tracking and reporting mechanisms and information you need in a moment of crisis. See how your ERP helps your preparedness in the event of a product recall.

Heightened awareness and regulations

Food manufacturers no longer need to simply wait to respond to a recall. With an ERP in place that supports traceability and recall, you are better equipped to prepare, prevent and minimize recalls.

Customers today are more aware of the sourcing of, ingredients in and processes used to make their food. Couple that awareness with increased regulatory mandates, including the Food Safety Modernization Act, and you have more reasons than ever to focus on preparedness.

Person cutting up a yellow bell pepper and placing in a glass dish.

A food ERP helps to trace ingredients and byproducts throughout the supply chain.

What an ERP offers

With an ERP at the core of your recall management strategy, you’ll already be prepared, during and after a recall event. Here’s how.

Risk mitigation. The FSMA mandates that manufacturers identify risks, implement solutions and document the entire process. These controls are required from farm to fork, necessitating an ERP that can track details throughout the supply chain.

Process controls. With documented processes and tracking, you can identify critical control points where problems can surface.

Quality control. Automated tools help you conduct inspections and record the results, alerting you to non-compliant products and ingredients, preventing them from entering the food chain.

Inventory management. A single source of truth for warehouse operations helps to manage ingredients and sources.

Emergency readiness. With a food ERP like Sage X3 in place, you can be ready for any recall issue, with the following features available:

  • Recipe management that records attributes for every ingredient, the lot numbers, batches, dates and amounts used for every product
  • Byproduct tracking to provide more traceability
  • Capacity scheduling that manages equipment and machines to prevent cross-contamination
  • Notification management that issues recall letters, creates call lists for sales reps and customer relations staff

In the event of a recall, time is of the essence. With the right food ERP, you can gain access to the data you need, the scope of the recall and the details that customers, officials and regulators will expect.

Preparing with mock recalls

An actual recall is not the first time your business should be putting in place your recall management plan. A mock recall program helps your business in myriad ways:

  • Test traceability details by evaluating the product journey through your supply chain
  • Confirm that communications plans give you accurate contact information for suppliers, customers and partners
  • Refine your plans based on the mock recall results

By identifying a product to be traced and retrieved, assembling a recall team, creating a recall plan, and conducting and evaluating the mock recall, your business will be better prepared.

At NexTec, we help businesses identify, install and optimize business management software. We offer a solution that enhances your ERP product recall functions with advanced features that enhance your solution.

Learn more about NexTec’s Product Recall module for Sage X3.

Farming inspecting his crops.

NexTec 2019 food & beverage manufacturing industry study overview

By | ERP, Food and Beverage | No Comments
Farmer inspecting his crops.

Locally sourced products are a popular consumer trend driving increasing use of technology in the food and beverage industry.

In its recently released study of technology trends in the food and beverage industry, NexTec reveals what tools are being used, what technology improvements are needed, and the influence of regulations, social media and dietary demands.

In this NexTec 2019 Food & Beverage Manufacturing Industry Study overview, we take a closer look at what industry leaders are saying about their technical uses and needs.

Finding 1: Advanced technologies in widespread use

Manufacturers have moved beyond simple solutions, though those basic tools are still in use. As they are selecting and installing more advanced business software solutions, nearly 4 in 10 are relying on outside expertise such as a consulting firm or co-manufacturing partner.

Here are the most prevalent advanced technologies in use to manage their business:

  • Warehouse Management System (WMS) (77 percent)
  • Enterprise Resource Planning software (ERP) (77 percent)
  • Material Requirements Planning software (MRP) (73 percent)

Despite more businesses using advanced tools, there are still a large number of companies using spreadsheets (77 percent), QuickBooks (47 percent) or other operational, financial and accounting software (44 percent).

Finding 2: Food safety, compliance, quality management still lacking

Respondents identified several areas where they believe additional functionality and improvement are needed. The area with the largest percentage of respondents indicating “significant improvements” was food safety, compliance and quality management, with 25 percent (up 25 percent from the 2018 survey). Overall, the areas where moderate or significant improvements are most needed are:

  • Food safety, compliance and quality management (60 percent)
  • Tracking, traceability and recall planning (60 percent)
  • Supplier and purchasing management (54 percent)
  • Inventory and warehouse management (54 percent)
Tabletop with plate containing vegetables.

Food and beverage companies are seeing a positive impact on compliance mandates via installed or planned new technologies.

Finding 3: Changes (actual and planned) having an impact

Companies that have deployed new technology or are planning to believe that the changes will have a positive effect on the following areas:

  • Compliance (87 percent)
  • Quality assurance (80 percent)
  • Sustainability and the environment (80 percent)
  • Internet of Things (79 percent)
  • Big data and business intelligence (76 percent)
  • Traceability (74 percent)
  • Cloud computing and software as a service (74 percent)
  • Artificial intelligence (71 percent)
  • Online selling and shopping (66 percent)
  • Recyclable packaging (64 percent)

Reduction of plastic is a top priority, with 54 percent having reduced usage of plastic packaging or planning to do so.

Finding 4: Dietary trends reshaping business needs

Several dietary trends have had a positive impact on respondents’ companies, likely due to the use of new technology that can act on changing demands quickly. The trends having the greatest positive impacts are:

  • Fresh foods (74 percent)
  • Non-GMO products (74 percent)
  • Snacking and eating on the go (71 percent)
  • Artisanal, craft and locally sources products (65 percent)
  • Clean label products – fewer processed ingredients (64 percent)
  • Allergens (64 percent)
  • Vegetarian, vegan and organic products (63 percent)
  • Sugar reduction (61 percent)
  • Gluten-free products (61 percent)
  • Ethnic foods (53 percent)

Of note is that allergens was the only trends where companies reported a significant negative impact on operations (12 percent).

In general, the most common changes companies are implementing are employee education (72 percent) and installing new or upgraded food ERP (66 percent), MRP (54 percent) or WMS (48 percent) software.

Technology is playing an ever-increasing role in how food and beverage companies do business. At NexTec, we help companies identify, implement and optimize business software solutions. To learn how NexTec can assist with your technology needs, read our recent study on the food industry.

We also invite you to learn More about ERP

Craft brewer viewing a sample of beer.

Why the right ERP is essential for craft breweries

By | ERP, Food and Beverage, Sage X3 | No Comments
Craft brewer looking at a sample of beer.

Craft brewers want to deliver fresh products that thirsty customers are looking for.

Craft brewers are known for their personal, responsive and fresh approach to beer making. That commitment brings with it certain challenges that require operational precision, flexibility and efficiency.

For many brewers, that means using the right enterprise resource planning (ERP) solution that creates opportunity and responds to evolving tastes and needs.

There are many ERP solutions available for craft breweries. You want to be sure the solution provider you choose has experience in the beverage industry and understands your needs and challenges. It’s why the right ERP is essential for craft breweries.

Unique challenges in craft brewing

Brewers are a special breed, priding themselves on quality products, natural ingredients and time-honored processes for creating tasty bottles and cans of beer.

The commitment to quality is the key to success, which is why brewers need solutions that address the following:

  • Small batches and freshness. Craft brewers are likely to work with small batches that are best consumed close to production. That means having transparency in supply chains that can source, create and distribute products efficiently. Their ERP solution needs to anticipate consumption and plan distribution strategically.
  • Unexpected growth. Many brewers are subject to unanticipated expansion, especially if new beer lines or flavors spike in popularity. Many craft brewers grow via acquisition, meaning they need solutions that can scale quickly and integrate disparate systems.
  • Emerging tastes. Consider how many options you have when looking at beers today. That’s because consumer tastes are constantly evolving, with demands for seasonal products and those that infuse different ingredients and flavor profiles. Your ERP needs to manage recipes, ingredients, measurement conversions, inventory levels and pricing in a single solution where data is shared among users across the company.
  • New frontiers and regulations. As tastes evolve, opportunities emerge. Some craft brewers are launching cannabis-infused beers. Doing so requires new processes and recipes. It also means obtaining the licenses and abide by state and local regulations. Your ERP needs to create reports and provide documentation that food safety and other regulatory requirements are being met.
  • Batch and process manufacturing. Small batches create exclusivity … and operational complexity. Process manufacturers need integrated ERP solutions that connect sales and marketing with finance, inventory management, procurement and production scheduling.
Man reaching for a mug of beer.

An industry-specific ERP lets your craft brewery source ingredients faster, produce better beers and distribute products quickly.

Finding the Right ERP Partner

Sage X3 is a cloud-based ERP with features designed with beverage companies in mind. The Sage X3 ERP integrates functional areas, including:

  • Operations (including food safety, traceability and recall management)
  • Supply chain management and compliance
  • Warehouse and inventory management with tracking tools to reduce waste and spoilage, optimize product profitability and manage expiration dates and reorder levels
  • Finance and accounting to manage cash flow, fixed assets and general ledger
  • Sales and marketing with a combined ERP/CRM solution to track customers, prospects and interactions
  • Production management
  • Quality control with use-by information, batch and serial number management and quality control functionality
  • Mobile capabilities to allow you access to data no matter where you are

At NexTec, we help beverage companies identify, implement and optimize industry-specific ERP solutions. To learn more about how we help craft breweries create and distribute better products faster, give Sage X3 a try.

Fresh baked bread.

Add Sage to your food and beverage ERP recipe

By | ERP, Food and Beverage | No Comments
Fresh baked bread.

The Sage X3 solution improves efficiency throughout your production processes.

Food and beverage makers face unique manufacturing challenges. That’s why when it comes to choosing the right business software, companies need solutions built with their industry’s needs in mind.

With Sage X3, companies can have the enterprise resource planning software (ERP) tool that addresses requirements that food and beverage companies demand.

Here’s a closer look at why it’s smart to add Sage to your food and beverage ERP recipe.

Unique needs for food and beverage companies

The food and beverage industry has certain complexities that make an ERP indispensable. The common issues these companies face include:

  • Cost and margin pressures. With competition so steep and profit margins razor-thin, companies need ERP solutions that help to improve efficiency in manufacturing and throughout the supply chain. Without synchronized operations that connect and share data across inventory, sales, procurement and production, companies are bound to be inefficient where they cannot be.
  • Process manufacturing capabilities. A food ERP needs to have functions that improve the manufacturing process. The right ERP offers functions to collect, manage, use and report on data related to production cost analysis, forecasting, resource planning, job costing and quality analytics.
  • Inventory management. Shelf life management is important for reducing waste and spoilage. That’s why food and beverage companies need a solution that reduces wastage, inventory write-offs and lower inventory costs. Too many companies still manage inventory based on spreadsheets and estimates. Eliminate back-of-the-envelope inventory calculations with an ERP designed to manage inventory.
  • Recipe control. Your customers expect consistency in the products you create. That’s why recipe control is an essential component of the idea food ERP. Your ERP should include functions that allow for different formulations, ingredient and recipe tracking, recipe formulation and duplication, allergen management, labeling, ingredient traceability, rework management, and track and trace functionality from supplier to customer to consumer.
  • Food safety. Product safety is high on the priority list of every food and beverage company. Their software solutions need to include tools that allow for the tracking and reporting of quality control processes, traceability and compliance with various regulatory requirements issued by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, industry councils and local and state mandates.
  • Changing consumer tastes. Change is the one constant in the food and beverage industry. Consumers today expect access to ingredients, flavor profiles and products from around the world. They want variety in the products they purchase and choice. Tastes – whether fads or the result of changing demographics – can shift quickly. That means companies need supply chain transparency to source and deliver ingredients quickly on a global scale.
  • Automation. New technologies are changing the way foods and beverages are made. Automation, for example, offers great opportunities for companies that can tap into technology that makes operations more efficient. To do so, however, requires an ERP solution that can scale to meet company growth, record and report on regulatory manages such as the Food Safety Modernization Act and other compliance needs, and provide reliable and repeatable service.
  • Marketing management. Sales and promotions are a regular part of the industry. That requires an ERP solution that can track multiple prices, changing demand, forecasting and sound order-to-dispatch processes.

The complexities on food and beverage manufacturing demand a solution that anticipates needs and solves common problems.

Case study 1: Solving an inventory challenge

Savoury Systems International, Inc. is a flavor company that had a bad taste in its mouth when it came to inventory management. The company has been growing at a 20 percent year-over-year rate and named one of Inc. magazine’s fastest-growing private companies.

It provides enhancers and ingredient blends to some of the world’s top food companies. However, the rapid growth had left the company with inadequate inventory management and forecasting solutions. That meant challenges with cash flow, stock outs and inefficient inventory levels.

After choosing Sage’s enterprise resource planning solutions, Savoury Systems has had remarkable improvements. Among the accomplishments:

  • A $2 million reduction in working capital dedicated to inventory
  • $3 million in annual revenue growth
  • Improved fill rates
  • All-time lows for stock-outs
  • Reduced inventory holdings despite the business growth

The company how has key performance indicators that measure performance for each department. And the company achieved a full return on investment in one year.

Woman working in a factory inspecting product.

ERP solutions for the food and beverage industry address important issues, including traceability, compliance and tight margins.

The Sage X3 solution

Sage X3 is more than ERP. It connects functions across your business, from the supply chain to sales, to give you flexibility, efficiency and insights. It delivers what your food or beverage manufacturing company needs at a fraction of the cost of other ERP systems.

Sage X3 delivers results that affect your bottom line by making work:

  • Faster. Sage lets your business gain insights faster from collected data, resulting in better decisions about costs and performance. Get work done faster in every facet of your business, including procurement, warehousing, production, sales, customer service and financial management.
  • Flexible. Choose the system configurations that work best for your company, either in the cloud or via your on-premises data center.
  • Simpler. Let users customize the platform for their role, preferences, workflows with secure mobile and cloud access. Simplify the work with a reduction in the number of applications in use, consolidating them under the Sage solution.

It’s a solution that has worked repeatedly for food and beverage customers.

Case study 2: Integrating and simplifying application mix

Northwest Naturals, LLC is a wholly owned subsidiary of Tree Top, Inc. It supplies fruit juice concentrates and essences to domestic and international manufacturers that expect consistent and high-quality flavors.

However, its software suite was too big and too complex. The apps were not integrated, resulting in manual and duplicative data entry that wasted time and resources while increasing the risk of data errors. The lack of integration was a sore spot that hampered productivity throughout the company.

The company chose SageX3 as its integrated business management software solution because of Sage’s expertise in comprehensive process manufacturing management tools, the ease of use for workers and the competitive price point

Northwest Naturals was able to make dramatic changes quickly with the integrated product. Among the accomplishments:

  • Elimination of duplicate data entry
  • Improved inventory management and accuracy
  • More accurate and efficient production planning
  • The ability to track and enforce quality standards
  • Complete forward and backward lot traceability

The addition of the ERP software solution also allowed the company to pursue certification with a rigorous international food safety program.

For Northwest Naturals, the Sage solution made sense not just for its exceptional standard ERP features and the industry-specific functionality the software offers.

Sage X3 features

The Sage ERP solution delivers functionality designed to meet the most pressing needs for food and beverage makers. Its core components include:

  • Financial management for real-time visibility into budgets and accounting (general ledger, accounts payable, accounts receivable), fixed assets and financial reporting, including user-defined dashboards, real-time analytics, alerts and a library with more than 400 standard reports
  • Supply chain management, including purchasing (pricing, discounts, suppliers, product categories, RFPs, open orders), inventory management (product data, units of measure, inventory balances, stock movement, import tracking, quality control and sampling), sales management and customer service to collaborate, manage and remain compliant with global suppliers
  • Production management to get to market faster with project management (project cost breakdown structures, employee assignments, multi-level budget description, financial follow-up, time entry) and shop floor controls, including labor time collection and time and attendance clocking
  • Quality control, including use-by date management, serial number management, batch and sub-batch number management, stock status management (accepted, rejected, inspected), quality control record management, expiration date management
  • Upstream and downstream traceability management to provide critical information quickly to decision-makers, regulators, government officials, customers, consumers and the public 
  • Mobile capabilities via Android and iOS smartphones and tablets, access to enterprise data anywhere on any device, HTML5 interface for a browser experience that can be personalized
  • Collaboration tools, including document and revision management, tag management, sharing capabilities by user, role or team, synchronization of data in Microsoft Excel exports, chart and data insertion into Microsoft Word and PowerPoint applications
  • User control of the workspace, including personalized home pages, access to relevant data, table and graph displays, use and display of dynamic internal data, shortcuts to external URLs, documents and notes
  • Complementary Sage applications including business intelligence analytics and reporting, sales and customer management for collaboration between sales reps and office staff, data analytics to provide a hub for data from all sources and in all formats with built-in models for reporting, and e-commerce to create or customize websites with catalogs, pricing, inventory and transactions

Managing food ERP selection and optimization

When you need an industry-specific software solution, turn to NexTec Group. Our teams of consultants have extensive food and beverage industry expertise and knowledge of the X3 product and functionality.

NexTec helps food and beverage companies identify, implement and optimize their ERP software solution. As a Sage authorized partner, NexTec is poised to help with your ERP conversion or implementation project to deliver operational excellence, cost reduction and a hefty return on investment.

See how NexTec can tailor your Sage X3 to your needs.

ERP

7 Considerations for businesses implementing an ERP solution

By | ERP | No Comments
ERP

ERP solutions can boost collaboration, teamwork and efficiency when used to the fullest.

Enterprise resource planning software solutions are powerful options for companies looking to integrate data, applications and users. Using an ERP solution helps companies collaborate better, drive efficiency throughout the organization and fuel growth.

What makes an ERP solution such an asset does not come without its own complexities that need to be addressed to optimize the return on investment. Here are some considerations for businesses when implementing an ERP solution.

Consideration 1. Ensuring buy-in from senior leadership

Senior leadership is essential for a successful ERP implementation. As with any new software platform, switching to ERP software will mean changes in how people do their work and how business is done via processes and workflows.

Change can be difficult, but an ERP implementation can be transformative for an organization. That’s why having senior managers and leaders bought in and committed is so important. Managers need to play an active role in communicating about the changes, helping employees understand how their work may change and involving those employees in decision-making.

Consideration 2: Vetting your vendors thoroughly

Choosing an ERP solution is a considerable investment. It requires thorough due diligence to identify, evaluate and compare solutions from multiple vendors. Many companies choose to use a third-party software consultant like NexTec to provide guidance and insights into potential partners.

Consideration 3: Be adaptable to change

Your business has made it work. You’ve developed processes, invested in add-ons and customizations, created work-arounds and found a way to get the work done. But implementing an ERP is an opportunity for change. It’s time to rethink those workflows and be open to new ways of working. Keeping an open mind makes it easier to implement change in a way that maximizes the capabilities of the new ERP.

Classroom setting filled with students and instructor at front.

Employee training and keeping an open mind to change can  ERP implementation.

Consideration 4: Routinely testing your system

You’ve picked the right ERP platform that meets all the business requirements and leadership expectations. You’ve mapped data and developed a timeline for sunsetting legacy systems. It’s important to commit the resources for thorough testing and retesting, so your ERP transition stays on track.

Consideration 5: Be aware of costs

Budgeting for an ERP solution requires careful consideration of costs, including licensing fees, user fees and ongoing maintenance requirements. Other costs that should be factored in include training and staffing needs, both for the implementation project and ongoing.

Consideration 6: Training members of your organization

A successful ERP implementation begins and ends with the people. The organization needs to commit to training its people on the software – before and after implementation — so that they have confidence in their ability to use the features.

Consideration 7: Using your system to its full extent

An ERP solution will provide your business with new ways of thinking about business models and the products and services you offer. Data, for example, is more valuable today than ever before. Let your ERP work for you for business intelligence, insights and new offerings.

Finding the right partner to help with your ERP selection, implementation and optimization is critical. NexTec has helped hundreds of customers identify, adopt and use business software solutions that transform companies. Learn more about ERP.

Person wearing protective equipment while operating a machine.

Why Sage X3 is ideal as a pharmaceutical ERP

By | ERP, Pharmaceutical / Nutraceutical | No Comments
Worker with protective equipment fixing machinery.

Increasing regulatory complexity means your pharma company needs tools to ensure mandates are met.

Your pharmaceutical company needs the right enterprise resource planning (ERP) solution to meet changing regulatory expectations and to achieve the efficiencies in supply chain management that drive productivity.

Having the right pharmaceutical ERP in place lets your company optimize operations, ensure accuracy and compliance and create efficiencies that boost the bottom line.

Improving supply chain traceability, quality control and regulatory compliance is why Sage X3 is ideal for pharmaceutical ERP.

Optimizing supply chain traceability

Customers and regulators alike expect pharma companies to offer complete traceability from sourcing to manufacturing to labeling to distribution. That means having an ERP that can adapt to the complexities of pharma.

Sage X3 offers pharmaceutical companies a suite of supply chain management tools that includes:

  • Purchasing management, including supplier details, audit trails, import cost management, expenditure authorization, a buyer’s workbench and stock valuation
  • Inventory management, including stock data, inquiries, count management, consumption analysis and automated data collection
  • Integrated sales management, including automated transactions, sales workflows, logistics and invoicing.

Collectively, these tools provide your pharma company with the necessary details to optimize supply chain operations and traceability.

Two workers with white protective gear cleaning a machine.

The FDA has proposed more stringent mandates that will mean more data collection and reporting.

Impact on regulations

Supply chain traceability is an important component to regulatory compliance, especially with an endless number of new and updated guidelines.

For example, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 2018 proposed new guidelines for pharma manufacturing to provide new standards for generics, sterility mandates and data controls. Specifically, the suggested guidelines include:

  • Contract manufacturing guidelines that update rules on the identity, strength, purity and quality of products meant for humans; better controls regarding using best practices; improved material handling; enhanced sterility guidelines throughout the supply chain; and closer scrutiny of foreign manufacturing.
  • Consistent data integrity improvements, including increased requirements for control data accuracy; workflows that can be tracked and validated; and audit trails at outsourced facilities.
  • Universal generic drug standards among international regulatory entities.

Need for better quality assurance

One of the most important elements of supply chain transparency and compliance is ensuring that there are sound quality assurance processes in place.

Sage X3 ERP for pharma provides the core functions necessary for accurate quality assurance, including serial number, batch and sub-batch numbers management, stock status (accepted, rejected, inspected) management; re-inspection and expiration data management; and upstream and downstream traceability.

Sage X3 in action

Sage recently implemented an X3 solution at Shire Pharmaceuticals, one of the world’s fastest-growing pharma companies that specializes in solutions for behavioral health, gastrointestinal illnesses, regenerative medicine and rare diseases.

The company had experienced rapid growth, largely through acquisitions, and needed an ERP solution that  could scale to accommodate future growth.

The initial rollout was for financial services management among its European subsidiaries with plans to roll out the solution more broadly. With the new system in place, the European entities are now experiencing:

  • Consistent charts of accounts
  • Streamlined daily tasks
  • Personnel sharing
  • Consistent reports generated from a central location
  • Lower software maintenance costs

Sage X3 is a powerful solution for pharma companies looking to be compliant, accurate and efficient. At NexTec, we help pharma companies identify ERP needs, select the right solution and optimize the product. Learn More about ERP for the pharma industry today.

 

ERP

CRM can help your chemical industry ERP deliver better results

By | Chemicals, CRM, ERP | No Comments
ERP

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 X3 for the cannabis industry

By | Cannabis, Sage X3 | 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 X3 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 X3 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 X3 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 X3 solution

NexTec has developed powerful tools that work in tandem, with the Sage X3 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.