Food ERP

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

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

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

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

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

Heightened awareness and regulations

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

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

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

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

What an ERP offers

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Preparing with mock recalls

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

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

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

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

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

Farming inspecting his crops.

NexTec 2019 food & beverage manufacturing industry study overview

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

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

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

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

Finding 1: Advanced technologies in widespread use

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Finding 4: Dietary trends reshaping business needs

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

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

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

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

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

We also invite you to learn More about ERP

Craft brewer viewing a sample of beer.

Why the right ERP is essential for craft breweries

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

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

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

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

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

Unique challenges in craft brewing

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

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

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

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

Finding the Right ERP Partner

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

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

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

Fresh baked bread.

Add Sage to your food and beverage ERP recipe

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

The Sage X3 solution improves efficiency throughout your production processes.

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

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

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

Unique needs for food and beverage companies

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

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

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

Case study 1: Solving an inventory challenge

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

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

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

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

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

Woman working in a factory inspecting product.

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

The Sage X3 solution

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

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

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

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

Case study 2: Integrating and simplifying application mix

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sage X3 features

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

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

Managing food ERP selection and optimization

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

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

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

Insight.

ERP plus CRM: More than the sum of the parts

By | Cannabis, Chemicals, CRM, ERP, Food and Beverage | No Comments
Insight.

Integrating operational areas with customer relationship data gives your company new insights and efficiencies.

Enterprise resource planning (ERP) and customer relationship management (CRM) solutions offer great tactical solutions to businesses. Taken together, however, ERP and CRM are more than the sum of the parts.

An integrated ERP and CRM solution allows for real-time, actionable business intelligence, giving executives insights they need to make critical decisions in the time of need. Integration breaks down organizational silos and encourages collaboration. Learn more below about the benefits of integrating these tools, industry-specific examples and best practices for combining your solutions.

Benefits of ERP and CRM together

While no two ERP or CRM solutions offer the same features, in general, the roles of each can be defined as follows:

  • ERP: Back-end functions such as accounting, human resources, manufacturing and purchasing.
  • CRM: Front-facing functions like sales, marketing, customer service.

ERPs are built to bring synergy to core functions, providing transparency, a single source of data and improved collaboration and efficiency. CRMs are focused on providing a complete view of customer and prospect integrations, including marketing pitches, outreach, conversations and customer help requests.

Both are designed to build synergy among important functional areas, with the intent that shared knowledge helps to boost operations and outreach. By combining capabilities, you’ll be able to deepen the interconnectedness of various parts of your business.

“The main arguments for the integration … focus on obtaining in real time a coherent view of customers – the possibility of continuous access to everything relating to customer data and information, which … is needed for its proper operation,” state the authors of a recent paper on ERP and CRM integration. “A consistent view of the customer allows employees to make the right and quick decisions.”

Here are a few of the most essential benefits of bringing ERP and CRM together:

Seamless data sharing

CRMs and ERPs have their own unique data collection, storage and formatting guidelines. The advantage of integrated systems is the ability to provide everyone with a unified, transparent and consistent set of information. When the two solutions are integrated, changes or alterations made in one system should be reflected simultaneously in the other.

As business needs change and new data, fields or calculations are needed, the connectivity allows for continued consistency. The system integration allows for new insights, needs and opportunities to be available to each operating unit.

Optimized resource management

Consider the opportunities with a clearer, automated flow of information from sales to production. Companies can gain advantages on production planning, warehouse space optimization, supply planning, materials purchasing and production order prioritization. This benefit helps companies with long sales and manufacturing cycles to plan better based on the status of customer commitments, allowing companies to reduce carried inventory and begin production soon after an order is confirmed.

Faster delivery cycles

Companies with a free flow of information can track and share information on customer details and orders, leading to more accurate and timely shipments, lower operating costs and improved customer satisfaction with on-time deliveries.

Improved product forecasting

Linking marketing initiatives and projections allows for faster and more accurate production forecasting. Operations teams will be able to plan more accurately and companies will not tie up cash by buying excess inventory.

Appropriate and accurate sales proposals

If your sales professionals can see a customer’s complete history – order history, current balance, payment pattern, credit limit and unpaid invoices – proposals will be more consistent and appropriate. Information that’s readily available helps sales managers to make informed decisions, such as asking for down payments or full payment up front.

Sales reps using an integrated solution also have access to the most recent, updated pricing information, including any promotions or discounts. They can also provide more accurate production and delivery dates by accessing production schedules, inventory levels and requisition schedules. If merchandise is out of stock, salespeople can relay that information to customers early on in the proposal process or provide precise projections on timing.

More sales opportunities

Giving salespeople better access to order histories, leads and customer service requests helps them to frame their pitches, giving them a much better likelihood of securing a call, an appointment or a deal. Knowing the frequency of reordering, for example, helps sales professionals reach out proactively to up-sell or cross-sell products or services. When equipment is reaching the end of its predicted lifespan, salespeople can suggest new models of an old product.

Better consistency and standards in customer engagement

With an integrated CRM and ERP solution, your employees will have complete and current information on customers. Whether it’s a sales call, a help request, a product question or a delivery inquiry, employees will understand better the complete relationship, sentiment and pain points. Complete and timely data, collected from both systems, helps employees understand and respond better to customers.

Responsive approval processes

Give your salespeople access to ERP information in real time and they can move contracts through the approval process faster. Same-day signing means faster contract approvals and reduces the time it takes for revenue to be recognized.

Prompt billing and payments

Document sharing lets businesses quickly turn accepted proposals into work orders that can be tracked throughout the enterprise without manual intervention. This process simplification carries over to the finance functions, allowing for faster creation and distribution of invoices, drawing from a single data source. Faster billing leads to faster payment turnarounds and better cash flow.

Consolidated reporting

Combined systems allow for better and more automated reporting, visualizations and data analysis. Reports pull in data from both systems without the need for manual manipulations, conversions or adjustments.

Linking icons.

Applying ERP and CRM data has powerful functional advantages in the food, chemical and cannabis industries.

ERP and CRM industry applications

ERP and CRM solutions need to be uniquely suited to the industry they’re serving. Businesses like food and beverage production, chemicals and cannabis have unique functions and needs for both systems separately and together.

Here is a look at how ERP and CRM integration gives companies in those industries the capabilities essential for success and competitive advantage.

Chemicals

Chemical companies need solutions that address complex functions, including:

  • Formula and recipe management, measure conversions, shelf-life management, packaging and labeling
  • Rapid batch scaling in different sizes and formulations
  • Quality controls that can track – and report to customers and prospects – product quality, shelf life and expiration dates
  • Process design improvements based on customer needs, historical trends, costs and operations
  • Rigorous regulatory compliance mandates, including federal, international, state, local and industry standards
  • Lifetime customer value measurements
  • Worker safety
  • Tracking products from warehouse arrival to manufacturing processes (including intermediary products) to finished goods
  • Traceability forward and backward with ordering histories and delivery data

For process manufacturers, these systems allow for shared, real-time access to information that is valuable to the salesperson, marketing manager, warehouse chief, finance officer and executive.

Food and Beverage

Sound supply chain management is at the core of any successful food or beverage company. While these functions traditional reside within ERP solutions, a CRM integration provides even more opportunities for efficiency.

With tight margins, fierce competition and changing consumer tastes, efficiency is paramount. By integrating the customer relationship insights with operational details, food and beverage companies are able to leverage the three interconnected supply chain components – suppliers, stores/restaurants and customers.

Here are three benefits for food and beverage companies when their CRM and ERP solutions are integrated:

  • Lower operational costs. CRM tools help provide insights and ordering patterns that can improve ordering and inventory management, resulting in lower storage and spoilage costs.
  • Customer segmentation. Targeted sales by customer segments allow for optimized ordering based on demand, relevance and location. Segmentation also allows for better analysis of customer profitability, based on logistical and operational costs. Customer analysis helps finance, sales and operations teams to identify and distinguish between stable, regular business and variable or unpredictable customers.
  • Seasonality. Identifying ordering patterns allows for sales and procurement employees to track, predict and anticipate seasonal variances in demand.

Cannabis

With cannabis and CBD companies emerging and growing as more states approve medicinal and recreational use, businesses in this fledgling industry are seeking solutions. There is a critical need to manage the operational and customer sides, not only for better efficiency and profitability, but also to meet the scrutiny of law enforcement and regulatory agencies at the state and local level.

Cannabis companies need to track and access industry-unique data, such as the costs of materials and energy, growth rates, potency levels and cross-strain breeding attempts.

Integrating this information with customer demand, buying patterns and demographic data helps cannabis companies provide products that are most in demand and most profitable. Pricing, resource allocation and purchasing all benefit from a blending of customer and production data.

How to combine

Combining these two complex business solutions to maximize the potential of an integrated approach is a complex undertaking. Whether buying new solutions or integrating new ones, careful planning needs to happen. Among the key steps are:

  • Determining whether the integration is unidirectional or bidirectional
  • Identifying data and modules to integrate
  • Unifying headers, labels, tags and data formats
  • Mapping data and interfaces
  • Assessing existing and future reporting needs
  • Focusing on user experience
  • Training users

To manage the many complexities involved in developing a cogent integration strategy, companies turn to NexTec. Our integration specialists have extensive knowledge of the providers, solutions and features available and the expertise to deliver a seamless integration experience.

Take a free tour of Sage Enterprise Management to learn more about NexTec and ERP/CRM integration.

Cannabis cookies and cannabis leaves.

Edibles at the intersection of cannabis and food ERP solutions

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

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

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

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

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

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

Approaches to food safety compliance

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

  • Inaccurate labeling
  • Food-borne pathogens
  • Disease outbreaks

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

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

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

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

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

Cannabis candies and buds in a glass jar.

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

Food ERP solutions and cannabis companies

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

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

Choosing the right cannabis ERP

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

Tabletop with various vegetable dishes and grains.

How the right ERP solution reduces food waste

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

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

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

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

The food waste issue

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

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

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

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

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

Chef preparing a meal.

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

How food ERP software reduces waste

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

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

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

Factory worker using a tablet.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Addressing Food and Beverage Challenges Head On

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

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

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

Factory worker using a pad a paper.

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

Finding a Solution

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

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

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

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

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

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

Inventory control

Food and beverage inventory management: How to take control

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

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

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

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

Why focus on inventory control?

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

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

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

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

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

Inventory control.

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

Solving the big three challenges of poor inventory management

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

1. Reducing food waste

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

Reducing food waste means a focus on three core areas:

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

2. Traceability

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

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

3. Compliance

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

Finding a solution

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

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

ERP solutions

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

IoT and ERP explained

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

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

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

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

The relationship between ERPs and the IoT

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

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

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

The ERP solution’s robust analytics allow companies to:

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

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

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

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