With the implementation of key provisions of the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) now in play, food and beverage manufacturers need better technologies and tools to monitor and manage their supply chain. Warehouse management is a critical component of food safety. As a food manufacturer, there is an important question you should ask yourself regarding FSMA standards for warehouse management: Are you compliant?
FSMA addresses prevention, inspection, compliance, response, and import management. At each step, the act’s provisions are focused on accurate measures that will drive better oversight of the entire food supply chain.
Many consider the FSMA to provide an opportunity to shift from reaction to prevention. New technologies in the warehouse are one key way to ensuring companies can comply, while also improving food safety and providing functionality that improves efficiency.
Warehouse management has traditionally been a predominantly manual system. That is changing as companies embrace new technologies and integrate warehouse management systems into enterprise resource planning (ERP) platforms that facilitate multiple functions.
These technologies ensure better accuracy in picking, mixed SKU pallets, and other areas of warehouse management. In turn, these innovations help ensure food safety and FSMA compliance.
For example, the growth of the Internet of Things can connect objects in the warehouse that can track, monitor, record, and transmit information as inventory moves in and out of the warehouse, a major boon to the food and beverage industry.
Consider some of these other new technologies that are transforming warehouse management…
Paperless processes. For far too long, the picking process has relied on paper. Today, with the new federal guidelines in play and more demanding specificity by customers, warehouses need more accurate tools. For example, a customer may insist on products that have an expiration date that is no more than X days away. With electronic picking, it is easier for warehouses to manage such specifics.
Voice commands. Voice-activated controls provide far more inventory accuracy, order accuracy, and better warehouse control. Such systems are optimal in cold environments where gloves and cold fingers can lead to more mistakes.
Laser-guided pallet trucks. These systems move automatically to the proper picking location within the warehouse and move the appropriate pallets to the shipping dock, often with little to no need for a picker. The tool offers more accuracy and saves time by eliminating the need for drivers to enter and exit repeatedly.
RFID technology. This technology is semi-automated, relying on a mapped route to bring a truck to the right location and a lift that ascends to the proper height automatically. Routes are optimized, saving time.
Electric trucks. Electric vehicles have a dual benefit. They reduce the level of emissions and lower the risks of permeating increasingly thin plastic wraps on product. They also make the warehouse a safer environment for workers.
To be successful, food processing manufacturers need robust warehouse management systems that integrate warehouse functions with data from purchasing, operations, distribution, sales, marketing, accounting and billing. Sage X3 is an ERP that delivers exactly that at a fraction of the cost and complexity of typical ERP systems. NexTec has the largest, most experience Sage X3 team with deep experience implementing ERP for food and beverage manufacturers. To learn more about how NexTec and Sage X3 can help your food and beverage company, download NexTec’s Food Brochure