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Chris Williamson

Food manufacturing machinery.

Food and beverage industry embraces automation: Is your ERP ready?

By | ERP, Food and Beverage | No Comments

A 2019 poll by Food Engineering Magazine reported that 22% of respondents had installed advanced automation capabilities.

Food manufacturing machinery.

Thin profit margins make automation increasingly important in the food and beverage industry.

Automation makes sense in the food and beverage industry, where margins are slim and requirements for consistency and regulatory compliance are exacting.

But automation doesn’t mean pushing a button and watching magic happen. Automation in the food and beverage industry requires precise orchestration so that quality is never compromised, and so that businesses can operate profitably while adhering to all regulations. Enterprise resource planning (ERP) software is the key to this meticulous choreography of supply chains, inventory, data gathering, and reporting.

Automation in finance

Because of its slender profit margins, successfully operating a food and beverage company requires that finance be managed with precision. The right food and beverage ERP software sharply reduces manual data entry, so that data entry errors are less likely to enter the system and propagate, causing further problems.

Tight management of supplies and inventory levels also requires exceptional financial management. Keeping inventory and supplies at optimal levels requires understanding purchase cycles and ensuring resources are bought strategically and in the right quantities. An outstanding food and beverage ERP system, like Sage X3, empowers businesses to not only take control of finance but to generate valuable and insightful data from every financial process.

Automation for safety and quality assurance

Few industries are more beholden to safety and quality assurance standards than the food and beverage industry. Enterprise resource planning includes gathering safety and QA data and monitoring it at all times so that raw materials are used properly and so that waste is kept to an absolute minimum.

Bottling plant.

Enterprise resource planning means prioritizing safety and quality while minimizing waste.

The right food and beverage ERP is also audit-ready – something that is non-negotiable when it comes to the products people consume. Compliance audits and customer audits are part of the food and beverage business, and when an ERP does the heavy lifting of audit compliance, companies are freer to focus on core business activities.

Automation in operations

Automated operations depend on a well-managed supply chain. Supply chain transparency is aided by an outstanding ERP system like Sage X3. Materials requirement planning must be done with the utmost attention to detail so that all points in the supply chain can be optimized. The right ERP software not only assists with this, it also collects valuable data that informs future decision-making.

Many food and beverage corporations are automating production lines to improve flexibility as well, allowing them to retool and meet changing needs quickly. For this to work, these businesses need an ERP system that can keep up.

The right ERP system orchestrates it all

Sage X3 addresses financial, supply chain, and production management, helping food and beverage businesses minimize waste while reducing risk and improving regulatory compliance. Additionally, Sage X3 offers users focused insights on quality and cost, so businesses can fill orders efficiently, plan production optimally, and ensure the highest quality products.

The right Sage X3 implementation partner makes all the difference. NexTec works closely with food and beverage manufacturers and has a keen understanding of their particular challenges. With NexTec as a strategic partner and Sage X3 as the ERP solution, food and beverage businesses have the tools they need to make an increasingly automated industry operate efficiently and exceed customer expectations.

If you’d like to learn more, we invite you to read our recent study on the food industry.

Sage Platinum Reseller

Man wearing a hardhat in a chemical plant.

Embracing digital transformation in chemicals: Your ERP is the key

By | Chemicals, ERP, Sage X3 | No Comments
Person wearing a hardhat in a chemical plant.

Chemical companies face increasingly complex compliance demands and customer expectations, all of which can be managed better with ERP software.

The chemical industry continues to embrace digital transformation, albeit at a slower pace than seen in other sectors. Companies in the chemical industry looking to leverage the advantages of digital transformation recognize that an ERP system is key.

Enterprise resource planning (ERP) software helps chemical companies break down silos, drive collaboration and provide visibility throughout the supply chain. Take a closer look at how ERP software can enhance your company’s digital transformation, unleash more potential and solve your greatest challenges.

Facing the complexities of business today

The challenges facing your chemicals business are likely similar to those throughout the industry:

  • Diversification. Global reach means new customers in new regions. Can your company compete with local competitors that despite providing fewer offerings can often react quickly, charge less and operate on a lower cost basis?
  • Global Supply Chain. Global operations means a larger, more complex supply chain. Your business needs visibility across the supply chain to manage quality, availability and accuracy.
  • Demand for Innovation. Your business needs deep intelligence to develop new solutions, capabilities and revenue opportunities. Digital disruption can and must drive this innovation.
  • Regulatory Pressures. Chemical companies are subject to multiple regulatory requirements across multiple regions and countries. You need systems to measure, track and report accurately on all these regulatory obligations. The costs of non-compliance are high.
  • Consistency. Customers demand more variations and specific formulations, meaning you need to provide quality assurance, quality control and efficacy across more categories, more products and more customers.
  • Environmental Responsibility. Customers and consumers expect producers to abide by sustainability and environmental responsibility. This means it’s important to have responsible sourcing and production capabilities.

These challenges are exacerbated by the reluctance to fully embrace digital transformation for many chemical companies. At a recent ARC Industry Forum, ARC’s Mike Williams noted that while most companies have started embracing Industry 4.0, there are some common barriers slowing adaptation:

  • No value proposition
  • Information islands within an existing infrastructure
  • Conflicting organizational design
  • Cybersecurity issues
Person wearing a red hardhat writing on a document.

ERP software can transform your chemical company with deeper supply chain visibility and integrated data that automates processes that have been done manually.

Embracing digital transformation with Sage X3

Chemical companies need an ERP solution that’s designed for their unique needs. With Sage X3, you have an ERP platform that provides full integration, transparency, security and intuitive interfaces across all aspects of your operation. Instead of operating across multiple systems, Sage X3 brings together key functional areas in one platform from your laboratories, manufacturing, supply chain and financial operations including:

  • Inventory
  • Sales
  • Customer service
  • Financial management
  • Purchasing
  • Manufacturing

Sage X3 for chemical companies breaks down the organizational silos that can plague efficiency and collaboration, resulting in operational inefficiency and more data errors. Among the improvements you gain are:

  • Measurement conversion
  • Create GHS-compliant data sheets
  • Track batch yields
  • Track labor by customer
  • Mobility functionality that gives your field teams what they need, including:
    • Real-time inventory updates
    • Faster communication and approvals
    • Access to limited-time offers and promotions
  • Integration across currencies, languages, sites, countries, and regulations

Sage X3 accelerates your digital transformation in significant ways. At NexTec, we help companies solve complex business software challenges at each stage, from selection to installation to optimization. With NexTec and Sage X3, you have the best of both worlds – exceptional ERP solutions and expert consultation and insights.

Take a free tour of Sage X3.

Man in a hard hat pointing to pipes.

Ask these 6 questions before choosing your chemical industry ERP

By | Chemicals, ERP, Sage X3 | No Comments
Man in a hardhat pointing to pipes.

Chemical companies looking for an ERP should make sure to ask questions about key functions and capabilities.

There’s no question chemical companies need a powerful enterprise resource planning (ERP) software. Faced with more regulations than ever and increasingly complex supply chains, companies need to choose an ERP that’s designed to address specific industry challenges.

Before choosing a chemical ERP, it’s important to get the right information. Ask these 6 questions before choosing your chemical industry ERP.

1. Can your ERP track and display inventory in multiple units of measure?

Different measurement units for weights and volume are necessary in the chemical industry, and your ERP should be able to support and convert measures for use in receiving, storing, making and selling products. Static conversions are inadequate when there are density variances, for example, in lots or batches. Conversions and flexibility are necessary when multiple packaging sizes are used for the same product.

2. Can actual costs be tracked and compared to estimated costs?

Tracking actuals compared to estimated costs is an important consideration for chemical companies. Understanding inventory valuations and accurate production costs gives you powerful insights. They allow comparisons against industry or historical standards, input error reductions and inclusion of non-production costs to provide more accurate overall costs of goods.

3. Is your ERP agile?

Customer expectations and demands are changing rapidly. That’s why you need an ERP that can respond to changing customer needs and wants. You want to be sure that the ERP you select can anticipate and react quickly to rapidly changing customer requests, products, partners and suppliers. Your ERP needs to be able to adapt and add classifications, formulas, specifications, byproducts and business rules to accommodate the ever-evolving customer needs.

Man in a hard hat working on a tablet.

Chemical companies need an ERP that can optimize new and emerging technologies.

4. Can your ERP incorporate emerging technologies?

Big data and data analytics give chemical companies extraordinary opportunities for more efficient operations and deeper insights. Make sure your chemical ERP uses or easily integrates with these technologies to collect, use and distribute data to those who need it. Your ERP should provide greater transparency both internally and throughout the supply chain.

5. How does your ERP keep data secure?

Data is increasingly an asset for use both within your business and, unfortunately, by hackers. Keeping data protected while in transit and at rest is critically important, especially for regulatory compliance. While your ERP cannot be the sole source of your company’s data security solution, it should have functionality and intersectionality with your security mechanisms.

6. What mobile functionality is available?

Executives need access to dashboards, reports and data no matter where they are or what device they are using. Ask about the functionality and access to information across mobile devices. The same information accessible on a desktop computer should be available on a tablet or smartphone.

Sage X3 offers your chemical company:

  • Supply optimization to respond to customer demands and frequent changes to purchasing, production and shipping
  • Process and product consistency to ensure quality, consistency, safety and efficacy
  • Global compliance across currencies, regions and regulations
  • Inventory control to deliver accurate production forecasting, material needs and inventory optimization
  • Anytime/anywhere access with web-based interfaces

NexTec is a Sage Platinum Reseller, offering chemical companies the expertise to deploy and optimize your Sage X3 solution and provide swift ROI. Learn more about how NexTec and Sage X3 can improve efficacy and efficiency for your chemical company. Give Sage X3 a try.

Sage Platinum Reseller

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.

Sage Platinum Reseller

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.

Sage Platinum Reseller

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.

Sage Platinum Reseller

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.

Sage Platinum Reseller

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

Sage Platinum Reseller

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

Sage Platinum Reseller

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

Sage Platinum Reseller