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Chris Williamson

Farmer holding fresh tomatoes.

How Sage X3 benefits agricultural produce growers

By | Agriculture, ERP, Sage X3 | No Comments
Farmer holding fresh tomatoes in his hands.

Agribusinesses need effective business management software to deliver real-time insights.

Produce growers have complex challenges to ensure that products are fresh, safe to consume and flavorful. But with increasing operational costs and lower prices, agricultural producers need to do more to reduce waste and improve profitability.

An enterprise resource planning (ERP) software solution like Sage X3 gives your agricultural business the ability to automate, trace and report on production at every stage. Here’s a look at how Sage X3 benefits agricultural produce growers.

Challenges for agribusiness

Fresh produce companies are facing complicated times, with price constraints, increasing costs, more legislative control, political uncertainty with international markets and scarce resources. Here are some of the major issues facing agribusiness:

  • Compliance. New regulations, such as the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s Food Safety Modernization Act, have placed additional regulatory burdens on manufacturers and producers. New obligations require more tracking of pesticides and fertilizers used, storage processes, security and customers. A quality control program integrated into your work processes is critical.
  • Cost Pressure. Agribusinesses today face narrow margins that can be thrown haywire with the slightest disruption. The right ERP can give you real-time insights to make smarter, more profitable decisions.
  • Political Uncertainty. Ongoing trade disputes with key global customers have meant agribusinesses are often stuck in the middle.
  • Customer Expectations. Customers expect products today that are local, organic and grown using sustainable practices. They increasingly want flavors and products from around the globe.

The complexities and challenge make it clear that the right ERP can make a major difference.

Farmer using a tablet in a field.

Your business deserves an ERP solution that automates, manages and optimizes your operation.

What an industry-specific ERP provides

An agricultural ERP can deliver the tools and collaboration that will improve your business at every level. With an industry-specific ERP solution, your business benefits from having:

  • A centralized system that can automate processes and manage information and reporting across sales, supply chain, inventory and accounting using a single database
  • Comprehensive management of your growing operations, including harvest details and attributes
  • Optimized planning for the season with specificity options down to the day and/or the crop, including seed and fertilizer inputs, employee and machinery scheduling and harvest analytics
  • Effective inventory management tools such as expiration data tracking and first-in-first-out processes to reduce spoilage and waste
  • Data security
  • Forecasting, management and analytics on crop estimates, maturity dates, pricing using current and historical data
  • Scalability to expand as demand and needs evolve
  • Compliance management that ensures adherence to multiple regulatory mandates, including the elimination of manual processes with automated data capturing, monitoring and reporting while reducing the risk of errors

Sage X3 is the right ERP for agribusinesses looking to improve efficiency, reduce costs, provide transparency and act quickly. With a deep understanding of agribusiness’ needs, Sage delivers an ERP that features:

  • Integrated processes including planting, harvesting, accounting, supply chain, retail operations, farm management, imports and exports, human resources, contracts and sales management
  • Cost calculation functions for accurate costing, forecasting, pricing and analytics about farms, contractors and machines
  • End-to-end traceability
  • Management of formulas, recipes, byproducts, potency, shelf life and packaging

NexTec helps agribusinesses select, deploy and optimize business software and is a Sage Platinum Reseller. Learn more about how NexTec and Sage can transform your agribusiness.

Take a free tour of Sage X3.

Cannabis.

Competition is increasing in the cannabis industry: How your ERP helps

By | Cannabis, ERP, Sage X3 | No Comments
Cannabis.

Increasing competition makes it critical that cannabis businesses use ERP tools to thrive.

In 2019, Illinois became the 11th state to legalize recreational marijuana sales, with more states placing the issue on ballots or in front of legislators.

As the cannabis industry evolves, it is becoming increasingly similar to other product areas. Brands are beginning to matter, especially as larger cannabis entities purchase dispensaries and growing areas.

Cannabis companies of all sizes need sophisticated software solutions that provide the functionality that lets them be competitive and build a unique brand. Enterprise resource planning (ERP) solutions are an important way to integrate operations, inventory management, strain management, sales and compliance into one cohesive structure.

Competition is increasing in the cannabis industry. How your ERP helps can make all the difference.

State of the cannabis industry

Illinois’ action means the state joins 10 others, plus the District of Columbia, in legalizing recreational cannabis sales to those over 21. Thirty-three states have legalized medical marijuana. In October 2018, Canada became the first G7 country to legalize marijuana federally while Mexico’s Supreme Court ruled recently that prohibiting marijuana is unconstitutional.

According to Marijuana Business Daily, the retail cannabis industry is on pace to increase by as much 35 percent in 2019 compared to a year earlier, eclipsing the $12 billion mark by the end of the year. The website projects that sales of medical and recreational marijuana could reach more than $30 billion as soon as 2023.

The industry’s financing structure is also shifting rapidly, with more private equity being injected into cannabis businesses. That’s because cannabis investors are looking to get higher investment returns, a shift in just two years to a loan-based investment strategy.

According to the 2019 Marijuana Business Factbook, cannabis investors are making the following investments in 2019 compared to 2017:

  • Equity investments (78% versus 61%)
  • Public stock purchases (48% versus 52%)
  • Private equity or managed funds (26% versus 18%)
  • Interest-bearing loans (22% versus 37%)
  • Company purchase (15% versus 12%)

The optimistic financial outlook means not only more forays into the cannabis industry, but more hiring too. Marijuana Business Daily projects a 34 percent increase in full-time employees in 2019 over 2018 levels, potentially exceeding 200,000 workers nationwide. For some context, the website notes, “that’s more than the number of flight attendants in the U.S. and more than double the number of veterinarians.”

The employment gains are driven largely by the expansion of California’s marijuana market and the increasing number of new states approving recreational or medicinal use or both. Employment is projected to reach 385,000 to 475,000 by 2023.

What’s driving competition in cannabis?

Competition is fierce in the cannabis industry. Here are a few of the core drivers:

  • Customer Expectations. With more locations from which to purchase products, more information available and the opportunity to price shop, customers can afford to be picky despite the high demand.
  • New Product Mix. Flower is no longer the primary product sold in most cannabis businesses. In 2018, vaping overtook flower as the most popular mode of consumption. Other popular methods of using cannabis include:
    • Edibles. Gummy sales grew by 925 percent in 2018. Chocolate edible sales increased 166 percent and CBD chocolate sales jumped 530 percent. BDS Analytics’ tracking of retail sales in 2018 in Arizona, California, Colorado and Oregon revealed the following breakdown of edible sales:
      • Candy (44%)
      • Tinctures (17%)
      • Chocolates (15%)
      • Infused foods (11%)
      • Pills (7%)
      • Beverages (5%)
  • Beverages. While technically an edible, beverages are poised for a breakout year. Anheuser Busch and Coca-Cola are just two of the well-known international brands that are considering CBD-infused beverages. Some companies are pitching hangover-proof beer that includes THC. Lattes and smoothies are on the market, too.
  • Medicinal Products. Balms, salves and lotions that contain cannabis oil continue to be popular.
  • Social Acceptance and Consumption. BDS Analytics research notes that 71 percent of consumers use cannabis for social or recreational purposes, with 32 percent consuming products before getting together with others, 28 percent attend a public event after consuming and 18 percent consume in public. Users noted the following as popular consumption reasons:
    • A date night (or day) activity (41%)
    • Daytime fun (41%)
    • Celebrating special events (38%)
    • Going out or letting loose (37%)
  • Changing Demographics. The aging Baby Boomer population is an important demographic. They are more likely (67 percent) to consume cannabis to replace prescription or over-the-counter medications to ease aches and pain than to use for recreational purposes (59 percent).
Cannabis oil.

Oils, food products and soft drinks are emerging product lines for cannabis companies and large corporations.

Why branding matters for cannabis companies

Branding is becoming an increasingly essential factor for cannabis success. With medical or recreational marijuana use available to more than half of the U.S. population, competition is ramping up.

There are also more cannabis derivatives being used for products. While Cannabidiol (CBD) is the most common, others are making a mark, including:

  • Cannabigerol (CBG), which is non-psychotropic and can be used in pharmacological and industrial hemp applications
  • Cannabinol (CBN) is mildly psychoactive
  • Cannabichromene (CBC) has pharmacological potential for its anti-microbial, anti-inflammatory and anti-depressant properties.

As more research is done, it’s likely that farmers and companies will begin to develop cannabis versions rich in one of these components, causing prices to drop and competition to soar.

Other factors influencing the importance of branding include:

  • Industry disruption. Cannabis companies are poised to be a disruptive force in the coming years, becoming a player in industries and markets such as pharma, spirits and consumer goods.
  • Big Pharma. With so many potential healing properties, large pharmaceutical companies are already making investments in cannabis.
  • Regulatory pressure. As more states legalize cannabis, there will be increasing calls to remove cannabis from the list of Schedule 1 drugs. In late 2018, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration removed some cannabidiol drugs with THC below 0.1 percent from Schedule 1 to the less restrictive Schedule 5.
  • Volume. As the number of dispensaries and clinics increases, the ability to differentiate will become more essential. To separate a cannabis business from the many nearby competitors will mean a strategic, integrated branding effort.
  • Normalization. Cannabis companies are increasingly mainstream, appearing in heavily trafficked retail locations. For example, in February 2019, Simon Property Group, the nation’s largest shopping mall operator, inked a deal with Green Growth Brands to open 108 retail stores.

“For cannabis companies, opening over 100 dispensaries across the country would be a dream come true. Instead, most have had to adopt a slower approach of either building or buying out multiple dispensaries in each state,” noted a recent article. “Many of these stores also aren’t built on prime real estate. The competition is fierce, and companies with brands that are most influential with buyers are the ones that win these locations.”

Technology makes an impact on cannabis companies

For cannabis companies looking to compete in the increasingly competitive, regulated and crowded industry, differentiation is essential. Having the right ERP solution in place is an important step to providing you with the insights and synergies to stand out.

Here are some of the major benefits of having an ERP designed for your cannabis business:

  • Integrated Functions. With a cannabis ERP, your financial, manufacturing, compliance and inventory functions will be fully integrated, giving you more details and transparency for every component of your business.
  • Real-Time Data. A cannabis ERP lets you enter, extract and report on data in the moment of need, giving you and your employees accurate and up-to-date information.
  • Regulatory Obligations. While cannabis is still illegal at the federal level, states and local jurisdictions are adding, evaluating and modifying regulations frequently, often around inventory control and tracking documentation. Your cannabis ERP can provide you with the functions to ensure audit trails, reporting and tracking of plants, lots and sales are comprehensive and available when needed.
  • Cultivation Management. Cannabis businesses have unique needs for their operations. You need an ERP that will track, record and report on growing conditions, moisture, light, pesticides, nutrients at each stage, from germination to harvesting.
  • Traceability. From seed to sale, you need to have information on the sources, products and uses of each plant. This documentation may be necessary for compliance and it helps provide valuable insights that can be used to improve growing, optimize products and understand your customers.

Sage X3 is the right solution for your cannabis business’ needs. The cloud-based ERP is built to provide the features necessary to differentiate your company in the highly competitive and growing industry, including:

  • Corrective Action/Preventable Action (CAPA) management
  • Seed-to-sale traceability
  • Warehouse, supply chain and logistics management
  • Crop management
  • Inventory management
  • Integration with government regulatory systems
  • Staff management, task assignments and labor cost analysis
  • Distribution management
  • Cost accounting
  • Tax regulation management
  • Fast recall management
  • Production scheduling
  • Integration with point-of-sale (POS) solutions
  • Analytics that compare actual production to projections to improve strain efficiency
  • Quality control functionality
  • Product demand forecasting
  • Customer management

NexTec is the leading business software consultancy, helping companies select the right ERP solution to meet their unique business needs. With NexTec and Sage X3, you have proven expertise in the development, implementation, integration and optimization of a cannabis ERP that will transform your business.

Learn more about technology that runs your CannaBusiness.

Food shop with sign labeled food allergies and intolerances.

How food ERPs assist with traceability of potential food allergens

By | ERP, Food and Beverage | No Comments
Food shop with a sign labeled Food allergies and intolerances.

The alarming increase in food allergies means manufacturers need to be ever-vigilant in maintaining food safety.

With the prevalence of food allergies growing, it’s more important than ever for food and beverage companies to have systems that protect their customers from cross-contamination.

That means having tracking capabilities throughout the production process, along with robust traceability and transparency features. Having the right enterprise resource planning (ERP) software in place lets your business prevent errors and be prepared in the event of a product recall.

Let’s take a closer look at how food ERPs assist with traceability of potential food allergens.

Food allergies on the rise

A recent study of more than 40,000 U.S. adults found that 10.8 percent had a food allergy. Of those with an allergy, nearly half reported the allergy manifesting itself in adulthood while 38 percent had made at least one allergy-related emergency department visit. In the U.K., peanut allergies have increased five-fold between 1995 and 2016.

Researchers are still unclear as to why the number of allergies has risen so rapidly, especially in the West. Environmental causes such as pollution, dietary changes and lack of exposure to microbes are all suspected reasons.

Person holding their stomach and styrofoam food container.

Cross-contamination is a major factor contributing to products inadvertently containing allergens.

Allergy impact on food and beverage makers

Manufacturers face several challenges when it comes to allergies.

Cross-contamination is one of the most common issues, often from improper cleaning of production lines and equipment, leaving product residue which is then picked up by the next product.

Tracking must be in place at every stage of the process, recording the lots, batches, recipes, amounts and sources of every ingredient used in every product. That’s essential because if there is a food issue, your company needs to be able to trace back any issues throughout the supply chain.

Labeling is also critical. Despite labels that indicate a product “may contain” an allergen or was manufactured on shared equipment, such labels are often misinterpreted by consumers.

Traceability processes also must be in place if, in the event of a recall, it’s necessary to track the sources of contamination. In such cases, transparency and speed are critical.

Maintaining safety with a food ERP

The importance of food safety means having the right business software to track, manage and report on key production elements.

Sage X3 offers an ERP solution developed specifically for the food and beverage industry. The product provides functionality to prevent cross-contamination and prepare for food recalls.

Among the features:

  • Inventory Management. Real-time monitoring of inventory, location management, stock movements and product data tracking help keep you aware of what’s where.
  • Quality Control. With proactive monitoring and product traceability, you can be prepared and proactive. Features include number management (batch, sub-batch and serial number), use-by and expiration date management, stock status (accepted, rejected, inspected), and quality control records, procedures and analyses. The module also allows for upstream and downstream traceability management.

Sage X3 offers exceptional functionality and traceability. With NexTec as your strategic partner, your business can select the right ERP for your needs. NexTec helps companies select the right business software and manage installation and optimization. Take a free tour of Sage X3 to learn more.

Person in a warehouse typing on a tablet.

What cannabis distributors do and how Sage X3 helps

By | Cannabis, ERP, Sage X3 | No Comments
Person in a warehouse typing on a tablet.

Cannabis distribution companies need ERP solutions that simplify complex business operations.

As the demand for cannabis products continues to climb dramatically, distribution companies have become a more essential component of the supply chain. As cannabis distribution companies become more prevalent, there’s an increasing need for powerful business management solutions.

Distribution software, such as enterprise resource planning (ERP) products, are among the most valuable for the emerging cannabis distribution field. Here’s a closer look at what cannabis distributors do and how Sage X3 helps.

Why the cannabis industry needs distributors

Just like in any complex, large-scale industry, the cannabis business finds itself needing distribution management partners. Doing so allows growers, dispensaries, and makers of concentrates and edibles focus on core business needs.

In many cases, distributors act simply as third-party shippers. However, others have begun to specialize in raw flower to sell to both manufacturers and dispensaries. Others act more broadly, offering a range of products.

Cannabis plants and glass container with oil.

Cannabis distributors need to track many details about plants and products.

The need for robust cannabis ERP solutions

As the cannabis industry generally and distribution specifically continue growth patterns, business management solutions become more urgent. Consider, for example, the business functions that growing distribution companies need:

  • Inventory management. Regulators, law enforcement and customers expect rigorous controls to document and track product.
  • Regulatory compliance. Distributors, like other players in the cannabis industry, are open to significant compliance mandates across multiple jurisdictions. The right ERP can track the various mandates and automate the data collection and reporting required.
  • Quality assurance. Distributors need to be able to track batches to ensure that products can be traced back to producers, especially for those that fail QA checks. Packaging and labeling are other functions that require accuracy and precision, pulling from data stored in a cannabis ERP.
  • Tax collection. Distributors in many jurisdictions are responsible for collecting cultivation and excise taxes and remit payments to taxation authorities. Your ERP needs to provide tools to document rates, payments, banks and other details.
  • Sales and marketing. Distributors are able to market on behalf of cannabis producers
  • Business intelligence. Distributors know what’s selling and what’s not. They can provide valuable data to cultivators on sales, volume and price.

Without an ERP designed to support the cannabis industry, your distribution company will need to pay for customizations or add-ons that add complexity and cost to your business.

Selecting the right cannabis ERP

When choosing a cannabis ERP for your distribution company, you want a company that understands your industry. With Sage X3, your business can deliver what’s necessary for success. Among the key functions of the Sage solution are:

  • Seed-to-sale traceability
  • Inventory tracking
  • Automated compliance tools, including integration with state and provincial regulatory systems
  • Environmental data tracking
  • Financial management
  • Shipment coordination
  • Customer and product analytics
  • Forward and backward traceability

Sage X3 has been at the forefront of cannabis business management solutions. NexTec helps cannabis businesses with the deployment and optimization of cannabis ERP software.

NexTec helps companies assess their critical business needs and select the ERP solution that solves business needs. Take a free tour of Sage X3 to learn more.

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.

Additional food resources

NexTec 2019 food & beverage manufacturing industry study overview

Add Sage to your food and beverage ERP recipe

How the right ERP solution reduces food waste

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

Additional food resources

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

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

Food and beverage inventory management: How to take control

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.

Additional food and beverage resources

How your ERP can be a competitive differentiator in food and beverage

Comprehensive guide to key ERP functionalities in food and beverage

Leveraging automation in the food and beverage industry

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.

Additional food resources

NexTec 2019 food & beverage manufacturing industry study overview

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

Recipe control ERP functionalities in food and beverage

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Additional ERP resources

5 FAQs on enterprise resource planning software

The benefits of a mobile ERP solution

ERP solutions, BI, and the data-driven culture

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.

Additional resources

Pharmaceutical ERP solutions: the essential checklist

3 ways pharma can use ERP to streamline track and trace

ERP issues in industries Intersecting with food, chemicals, and cannabis