Food and beverage manufacturers are facing tougher challenges than ever before. Increasing food recalls have led to the demand for better record-keeping and visibility in the global food supply chain. It’s easy to become overwhelmed by trying to balance profitable business operation and compliance with government regulations.
Choosing the systems that run your business, in this case an ERP solution, can either hurt or help. They can either bog down your processes with overly complex processes that were not designed for food and beverage manufacturers, or they can help you increase efficiency while complying with food safety regulations by providing greater traceability and accountability. Here are a few manufacturing best practices that are built into the Plex Manufacturing Cloud that can help:
- End-to-End Traceability
Your ability to accurately track individual lots, bins, or packages as they flow from suppliers through processing and distribution steps is critical to respond to recalls. With manual, paper-based processes, it can take days to track problem ingredients to their source costing you time and money and even result in customer penalties or loss of business. If your ERP system doesn’t enable one-up/one-back inventory traceability, you need to consider a change.
- Quality Management
You can improve profitability by reducing the cost of quality and mitigating the risk of recalls; however, without an effective system to manage quality processes, you may be stuck in a reactive mode instead of thriving in a proactive environment. An ERP with quality management built-in enables you to implement conformance/corrective preventative action coupled with real-time statistical process controls to catch issues before they happen—so quality becomes your competitive advantage instead of a compliance burden.
- Inventory Visibility and Control
Excess inventory is more than just unnecessary capital taking up space on the floor, it reduces production capacity. When perishable raw materials are involved, your inability to manage "use by" dates can cause delays in processing can result in spoilage and lead to quality and safety issues. Your ERP should give you the ability to do detailed materials requirement planning (MRP) so you can optimize your work-in-process inventory while reducing the risk of stockouts caused by lack of raw materials.
- Automated Food Safety Plans
Does your ERP support hazard analysis and critical control points (HACCP) plans, process flow charting, and statistical process controls? If not, you’re probably doing it all manually, and only discover your exposures when it’s too late (which is when you need process automation the most). Does your ERP collect data in real time so when you need to access audit trails so all you do is a simple search for the appropriate dates and other attributes? If not, you're looking at thumbing through binder after binder to the find the right data.
- Detailed Batch Recipe Data
Your ERP should enable you to track all data related to batch recipes including descriptive information, technical properties, quantities, costing information, notes, and history. Your system should incorporate best practices and keep track of possible allergens and alert you ti potential cross-contamination. If your ERP doesn't do all this, you risk exposure to your whole business in the case of a food safety event.
Learn more about how to select the right ERP solution for your manufacturing needs. Download the white paper: 9 Critical Questions Process Manufacturers Need to Ask When Evaluating an ERP System.