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Food ERP

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

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

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

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

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

Heightened awareness and regulations

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

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

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

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

What an ERP offers

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Preparing with mock recalls

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

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

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

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

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

Farming inspecting his crops.

NexTec 2019 food & beverage manufacturing industry study overview

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

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

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

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

Finding 1: Advanced technologies in widespread use

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Finding 4: Dietary trends reshaping business needs

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

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

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

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

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

We also invite you to learn More about ERP

Craft brewer viewing a sample of beer.

Why the right ERP is essential for craft breweries

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

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

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

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

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

Unique challenges in craft brewing

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

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

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

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

Finding the Right ERP Partner

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

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

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

distribution KPIs

Distribution: Key metrics/KPIs for distribution

By | Acumatica Cloud ERP, Distribution / Supply Chain, ERP | No Comments
Distribution KPIs

Whether you are trying to see where you are or where you need to be, there are many types of KPIs you need to track when it comes to your distribution firm.

“The most valuable commodity I know of is information.” This quote from Wall Street’s Gordon Gecko, while not used by a moral or righteous character, is something that holds true for every business. Information matters, and no matter your industry, your ability to turn data into useful information is something that determines your success or failure now and in the future.

Unfortunately, with more and more data to measure and manage with each new supplier, customer, and product, it becomes harder for today’s distribution firm to get meaning from it.

In a world where too much data can be worse than having too little data, financial professionals often get buried in reports that they miss the important details and trends that indicate where the business is and where it’s heading.

Key performance indicators: The right information for each situation

As a finance professional, you abide by GAAP. You can answer the basic managerial needs—profit and loss, cash flow, inventory turns, and the like. However, there’s more to your business than just being able to measure necessary information and generate reports. This is where key performance indicators, or KPIs, come into play. These represent a wide variety of measurements unique to a specific industry, that can unlock the true health of a business and uncover previously unknown opportunities or challenges that traditional reporting measures fail to address.

Managing and tracking these, however, presents challenges with an ever-expanding pool of data. While new technologies such as the industrial internet of things (IIoT) present new levels of visibility, they also create more sources of data you need to track, often requiring finance professionals to spend more time trying to distill it into something useful.

Types of KPIs

Whether you are trying to see where you are or where you need to be, there are many types of KPIs you need to track.

Financial vs. Operational KPIs

Among the most common, as well as the easiest to track and understand KPIs are financial, as this is the most common language of business decisions. Common financial KPIs in every industry monitor sales, costs, margins, cash flow, and asset utilization.

However, for product-focused businesses like distribution in which relationships and reputation rely on on-time shipments and inventory availability, operational measures come into play. These metrics are inherently non-financial, but play a major role in the present and future of your business: transportation schedules, inventory, on-time delivery, backorders, customer service and more.

Historical and Predictive KPIs

In addition to this, KPIs can tell you not only where you’ve been, but where you are or may be heading.

Historical KPIs can be set up with alerts and warnings that monitor and detect exceptions, calling attention to issues or “push” alert messages sent via email or text.

On the other hand, predictive KPIs can make it easier to see where you may be heading at a glance. Leveraging internal and external data, these can help you order smarter and plan for where you need to be. Predictive KPIs for distribution may use economic indicators, demographic trends, or specific industry indicators.

The basics: Three things to track closely

When it comes to your distribution firm, it pays to know which items are being ordered, how fast each item is being shipped, and which items are profitable, with each of these accessible in real time:

  • Inventory turnover ratio: Shows the current status in the familiar ratio format as well as some key indicators that a purchasing manager might want to watch like open POs and purchasing trends.
  • On-time shipping ratio: Compares the on-time shipping performance for different warehouses, items, and trends. For example, are your warehouses getting better or worse at getting items shipped on time? Is it location-specific or systemic?
  • Profitability by item: Savvy distributors are well-advised to periodically review the relative profitability of customers, markets, channels and products as they formulate sales and distribution plans and budgets to optimize overall business plans and strategies. Being able to slice and dice information to see exactly who and what is profitable is a necessity.

Going further: More than out-of-the-box KPIs

Distribution ERP should be able to deliver these out of the box, but once you get comfortable, your business serves to benefit from finding relevant and customized KPIs, making it easy to generate new reports without a ton of additional labor. Out-of-the-box is one thing, but your system needs to be flexible enough to handle it and usable enough for each end user to generate reports without much extra coding.

Free guide: Selecting and utilizing KPIs that matter for your business

In a recent whitepaper, Acumatica explored even more about the KPIs for distribution companies, discussing how the right measurements can deliver a clearer picture of your business with less effort.

In “Key Performance Indicators for Distribution,” you’ll learn:

  • What historical and predictive KPIs can tell you about your business.
  • Which three distribution KPIs to track most closely.
  • Why out-of-the-box KPIs aren’t enough to improve performance.
  • How to systematize your KPI process.
  • The ideal number of KPIs to track on a daily basis.

Finding a distribution solution for your business: Get to know NexTec

NexTec Group specializes in helping a wide range of distributors to get what they need and want out of the solutions they use. No matter what unique focus your business has, we have the experience and expertise to deliver what you need. Get to know more about our work with Acumatica, read customer testimonials, and contact us for a free consultation.

Additional Distribution Resources

ERP and Business Intelligence in the distribution industry

Multi-warehouse woes: challenges in maintaining visibility

MJBizCon Int’l – Toronto

By | Cannabis, Events | No Comments
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.

Distribution Cash Flow

Distribution: How to control cash flow alongside product flow

By | Distribution / Supply Chain, ERP | No Comments
Distribution Cash Flow

Recent advancements in technology have empowered businesses to do more, leveraging tools that allow them to reshape and realign the accounts receivable (AR) and accounts payable (AP) functions and shared service center business processes.

Your job as a wholesale distribution business is to ensure product gets from your suppliers to your warehouses to your customers. An industry known for tight margins and high expectations from both customers and suppliers, everything in your business needs to flow.

While inventory is one part of this, something we discussed in our article on inventory control and fulfillment, it’s not the only element of your business that requires tracking and management, because with the movement of product comes the movement of money.

One of the oldest and most fundamental requirements for any business

Controlling the way that money flows into and out of your organization is a constant challenge, one that impacts your relationships with suppliers, reputation to customers, and ultimately your ability to generate profits now and in the future.

A process left largely unchanged for decades, recent advancements in technology have empowered businesses to do more, leveraging tools that allow them to reshape and realign the accounts receivable (AR) and accounts payable (AP) functions and shared service center business processes.

Three goals for improving money flow at the distribution business

For the distribution business, this means that there is a continued push to break down silos, embrace data analytics and business intelligence to improve decisions, and ultimately connect adjacent business functions to increase speed and decrease back-office costs. With the right processes and technologies in place, you can deliver the following benefits:

Break down silos

One of the biggest challenges for any company’s cash flow is siloed data. Not only do you have to combine the way money flows into and out of your organization, you need to align this information with adjacent functions as well. Treasury management, procurement, tax management, and so much more—if people have to spend hours or days just making sure the bills are paid using spreadsheets to connect data, your finance team is operating without the visibility they need.

With each additional location, currency, supplier, or even SKU you add, the time it takes to do even the bare minimum increases.

Connect systems

While there are many reasons silos exist, one of the most common symptoms is lack of integration. Too often, an organization’s back-office infrastructure resembles a “hair ball” of point solutions that talk to each other sporadically, if at all. “How much does my company owe to its suppliers?” “How much do my customers owe?”

The right technology not only allows you the ability to connect workflows to break down silos, it also provides you the right information when and where you need it by providing additional control over information flow and workflows.

Automate business processes

Whether it’s quote-to-cash, revenue recognition, or paying invoices, your distribution needs to make speed and accuracy a priority. Sadly, there are still thousands of companies of all sizes with manually driven workflows for some aspects of AR and AP. Held back by manual processes and emails, too many businesses lose sight of the big picture.

Paired with improved workflows and technologies, distribution businesses face an automation imperative that can only come when you can identify and rectify areas for improvement.

Curing your distribution firm’s cash flow woes with Enterprise Resource Planning

In order to bring together their operations, many businesses have looked to embrace modern technologies that can break down silos, provide a hub for connecting data, and automate traditionally manual processes in AP, AR, and more. As AR and AP are changing from serial processes and exception management to workflows with continuous audit and compliance, addressing the challenges will be a top priority for distribution firms in 2020 and beyond.

Enterprise Resource Planning applications have grown to deliver more and more certainty for distribution firms, who now leverage the cloud to connect various applications and create workflows that work. A recent IDC Marketscape report looked to address the role of ERP in AP and AR operations, noting the challenges your distribution firm may experience in connecting processes into a shared service center and comparing vendors on their ability to deliver. We invite you to read this informative report for free here.

Delivering on the cloud ERP benefits: NexTec and Acumatica Cloud ERP

For the growing distribution firm, you have many options—not only for the solution you choose, but the partner who takes you there. At NexTec Group, we understand the challenges your distribution firm faces and know how to help.

With more than a dozen locations and nearly a quarter of a century of experience in the distribution industry, you will be in good hands. No matter how large you are or complex your needs, we would love to help. Let’s get in touch.

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.

 

Warehouse worker walking down an aisle.

How Acumatica data-driven insights help distribution businesses

By | Acumatica Cloud ERP, Distribution / Supply Chain, ERP | No Comments
Warehouse with worker walking down hallway.

Gain real-time insights into your warehouse, sales and inventory with Acumatica’s distribution ERP.

Your distribution company needs an enterprise resource planning (ERP) product that reduces risk and provides the right information when it’s needed most.

The dynamic reality of the distribution business means that leaders need an ERP solution that provides real-time intelligence on key performance indicators. That means better decisions on distribution management, inventory control, order management and stock forecasting.

See below how Acumatica data-driven insights help distribution businesses.

Common challenges in distribution

The distribution industry relies on its customers needing a steady flow of products. Yet the often-unpredictable changes in B2C or B2B demand can leave distributors with excess or insufficient inventory.

Supply chain management is another challenge for many in the distribution business. Automation is critical for the modern supply chain, using real-time alerts for better ordering and warehouse management.

Distribution relies on speed, so optimizing picking, labeling, compliance and shipping are important areas where better efficiency means improved profit margins.

These challenges are why distributors need ERP solutions that include functionality unique to the vertical. Ideally, your ERP should include business intelligence and CRM integrations, order management functions, fleet management, inventory management and shipping. Distributors offer end-to-end services, meaning they need more than the typical ERP provides.

Man in a business suit in a warehouse using his tablet.

Learn what’s in your warehouses at any time with warehouse and inventory management tools from Acumatica.

The Acumatica distribution ERP advantages

Acumatica understands the unique needs of distributors. The Acumatica Distribution Edition is designed to help companies with logistics and supply chain management. The Distribution Edition includes tools for:

  • Warehouse management
  • Inventory management
  • Requisition management
  • Sales order management
  • Purchase order management
  • Advanced financials

The ERP is fully integrated with Acumatica CRM, manufacturing, field service and project accounting solutions.

Here’s how Acumatica Distribution Edition can help your business.

  • Key Performance Indicators. Most businesses use common KPIs such as cash flow, sales and margins to measure performance at a point in time. Acumatica Distribution Edition includes dashboards and reports to highlight the KPIs that matter to distributors, including inventory turnover ratio for high- and low-turnover items, on-time shipping ratio and profitability by item.
  • Warehouse Management. Use barcode scanners and customized workflows to automate core warehouse functions, including picking, packaging, purchase order receiving, reshelving, transferring and counting. Workers can use preprinted smart scan sheets for hands-free operations while lot and serial number tracking reduces mistakes.
  • Inventory Management. Acumatica helps you know what’s in your warehouse at any moment. Tools allow you to segment inventory by class, know product availability across multiple warehouses, highlight out-of-date inventory and set reorder points. Use multiple valuation methods to manage costs accurately across multiple locations.
  • Sales Order Management. Integrate your sales workflows with automation tools that save time and improve customer experiences. Sales order management lets you configure alerts for status changes and predefine order types with inventory allocation rules for better workflows and document management. Not all vendors and customers are the same; the sales order management tools let you set up volume or quantity discount rules and preferred pricing.
  • Requisition Management. Eliminate paperwork with automation software that streamlines complex purchasing processes, including sales quotes, approvals, vendor bidding.

Acumatica’s distribution ERP is designed to solve your greatest business challenges. To get the most out of your ERP, choose the right Acumatica partner to guide the installation and use of your solution. NexTec helps distribution and manufacturing companies find and implement the right software to improve business processes. Give Acumatica a try to see how it can transform your distribution business.

Person trimming a cannabis plant.

End of cannabis prohibition presents unique challenges to ERP delivery

By | Cannabis, ERP | No Comments
Person trimming a cannabis bud.

From harvesting to selling, cannabis companies have an array of unique challenges in the rapidly growing industry.

Few sectors have faced the unique challenges as the nascent cannabis industry. A product that was nearly completely illegal was suddenly legalized. That has set off a wave of complexities regarding supply chain management, inventory control, finances and compliance.

Cannabis companies find themselves facing complicated business processes, regulation, massive demand and growth, and a highly active climate for mergers and acquisitions. That’s why many businesses deploy industry-specific enterprise resource planning (ERP) solutions, designed to simplify the complex with tools, modules and features designed to address critical needs for cannabis companies.

Overall, it’s requiring cannabis companies to look for ERP partners that are nimble, adaptive and responsive. It’s also why the end of cannabis prohibition presents unique challenges to ERP delivery.

The ever-evolving cannabis landscape

As more U.S. states legalize medical and recreational marijuana and Canada legalized cannabis at the federal level, the number of businesses proliferates. Demand has been exceedingly high, with long wait times and rapid expansion for many cannabis businesses.

In 2018, the Brightfield Group released market analyses that the global cannabis industry was worth $7.7 billion (USD) in 2017 and was projected market lone projected that the global cannabis market would reach $5.7 billion in 2019 and $22 billion by 2022. That market expansion is projected at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 60 percent.

Here’s another perspective on the scale of growth: the rising number of products. In 2016, the average dispensary had 94 different kinds of marijuana products available. In 2018, that average had grown to more than 150.

New businesses are changing quickly

Cannabis companies that have been open for business for just a few months are finding the demand is there to support growth. That’s meant companies are transforming from single sites to having a global presence in all regions of the world seemingly overnight.

Consider these stories making headlines in the past few months:

  • The Chicago Tribune reported that at least half a dozen cannabis companies have moved (many from the suburbs to the city) or expanded their headquarters, in some cases doubling their space.
  • Cannabis company Grassroots raised $90 million in venture capital, in part to expand operations from its 11 states to include locations in Illinois, Maryland and Pennsylvania.
  • Harvest Health & Recreation agreed to purchase CannaPharmacy, which has cultivation, manufacturing and retail facilities in four states. Terms were not disclosed.

What does this growth and expansion mean? An increasingly competitive industry with companies fighting for market share and faster speed-to-market rates.

Person looking at a cannabis plant.

Cannabis companies face varying regulations by jurisdiction, requiring precision data management and reporting tools.

Business challenges lead to consulting challenges

With an industry that’s essentially brand new and new companies popping up regularly, it’s a wild ride within the cannabis vertical. Most companies do not have an existing business model or well-established business models.

There’s also a lack of experienced industry professionals, especially given the newness of the industry. Coupled with evolving laws and regulations that differ widely from jurisdiction to jurisdiction and you have an industry that needs guidance and support.

These companies are seeking help from experienced advisors, meaning that business and management consulting in the cannabis industry has become an ongoing requirement, not just a temporary solution to handle implementation and launch.

“This is a lot of new information when you’re vying for your place in the cannabis industry. That’s why some businesses are turning to consultants to help, notes the Cannabis Industry Journal in a recent article. “Consultancy is a great and time-tested way to grow your businesses and keep a competitive edge. But just like every other industry, when you choose a consultant, there are specific things to look for and avoid.”

The journal suggests that businesses heed the following when searching for a cannabis consultant:

  • Understand expertise. Very few consultants are experts at all components of the cannabis business. You may need several different consultants to get the expertise you need in cultivation, manufacturing, dispensary operations, food safety, transportation, compliance, legal, finance and accounting, and human resources.
  • Know what success looks like. You need to set your own goals, which your consultant can help refine. The consultant can then work with you on the plans, processes, capital, permitting and operational changes necessary to achieve those goals.
  • Focus on what you need. Be sure you know exactly what you need help with, be it operations, inventory control, ERP software selection, cultivation management, pricing or product development.
  • Ask smart questions. You want to probe for the answers from potential consultants that will help you make an informed decision, including:
    • Relevant experience
    • Client references (past and present)
    • Time to be spent on your company
    • Timeline and planning process
    • Responsibilities and deliverables for both parties
    • Certifications and credentials, if applicable
    • What’s included in the fee and what add-on charges are
    • Any conflicts of interest, especially with competitors
  • Avoid questionable conduct. If your consultant does one of the following, look elsewhere:
    • Asks for equity as payment
    • Does not provide references
    • Avoids questions
    • Refuses to track time or itemize costs

Cannabis consultants need to keep pace and be ready to support rapid expansion and growth, along with global delivery of services. Consultants need to stay on top of the ever-changing legal environment, market, political landscape and company priorities.

They should understand and be adept at reducing the time to market for your company and its products. They also need to be conversant on the complexities of partner management in regions of delivery and emerging legislation.

One important area to consider is supply chain management. Rapid growth, demand for new products, and constantly evolving consumer tastes and preferences means there’s increasing pressure for more efficient and transparent supply chain processes.

Retail cannabis purchasing managers are spending too much time with antiquated (or non-existent) inventory management tools that make buying difficult to manage. Order management, quality control, integrated tax and sales functions in a cannabis ERP help company leaders make better decisions in the moment of need.

The complexity of compliance

Compliance comes in many forms for cannabis companies, with regulations emerging and changing at the local, state/province, federal and international levels. It can create a swirling array of different mandates, reporting requirements and data points in order to remain compliant.

The constant regulatory swirl means building a cannabis ERP architecture that can meet the myriad laws regarding privacy (including the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) requirements for residents of the European Union and stricter data privacy laws passed in 2018 in California. Privacy is likely to continue to be a major factor as ore jurisdictions take legislative action to protect people and their information.

That’s on top of regulations related to food safety, personal medical information and banking restrictions.

The cannabis industry is fraught with potential pitfalls that can trip up well-intentioned businesses. Here are a few of the most common issues that cause compliance problems:

  • Inaccurate or missing data. Each jurisdiction will have its own reporting requirements and mandates, and these various guidelines may be very different from each other. Your business needs an ERP that can track when sales receipts, inventory records and safety plans need to be submitted and in what format.
  • Poor inventory management. Inexplicable missing stock or inventory discrepancies can lead to severe fines and the potential loss of licenses to operate. Whether due to poor quality assurance, human error, employee theft or incorrect packaging, bad inventory control protocols and a lack of sound distribution management software can have serious consequences.
  • Illegal sales. Selling to underage persons, selling outside of approved operating hours or exceeding daily sales limits per customer can trigger compliance issues. Age verification, customer management and point of sale technologies can save major headaches for you and your employees.
  • Mislabeling products. Compliance mandates increasingly include rules about how cannabis products need to be labeled and packaged. Similarly, product safety laws must be followed, such as a California provision that all packaging be child-resistant and Colorado requirements that all edibles have a cannabis or THC warning.
  • Failing to pay taxes. Each jurisdiction has its own requirements for tax payments, including method of payment, timing and required documentation. A failure to follow your local tax laws can result in large tax bills, time-consuming and invasive audits and fines and interest levies for unpaid taxes.

Why the right cannabis ERP matters

Cannabis companies need industry-specific ERP solutions that address the rapid pace of growth, pressure to deliver on time and compliance issues that are all too common. They also need experienced partners to help guide them through the selection, implementation, training and optimization phases of software products that will improve efficiency.

At NexTec Group, we help companies in all phases of cannabis ERP decision-making. We help clients build implementation teams, establish change management plans, develop budgets, migrate data and train users.

Our consultants have deep product knowledge about the vendors and their products. We understand the features and benefits of each potential solution and help your cannabis business find the right solution to address your unique business needs. Learn more about technology that runs your CannaBusiness. by contacting NexTec Group today.