From operational efficiency to recall preparedness, a strong traceability system is critical to remaining competitive in today’s food and beverage market.
Traceability, or the ability to trace the flow of food and beverage products through production, has always been essential to operational efficiency. But in the age of mounting global competition and increasing regulatory oversight, it is more important than ever.
Today’s food supply chain has expanded, such that it is common for the production process to span continents. Given this added complexity, even small and mid-sized manufacturers must invest in the proper technologies to ensure traceability, both as a means of food safety and of remaining nimble in a competitive market.
In this blog, we review how ERP supports traceability and the must-have features to look for in your food and beverage ERP solution.
The Role of ERP
An ERP system can facilitate two important functions of traceability: tracking and tracing. Tracking is forward-looking. It allows manufacturers the ability to follow a particular product’s path along the food chain, from the point of manufacturing to its final destination. Tracing involves creating a history of a given batch or unit’s trajectory through the food chain, going all the way back to the ingredients’ origin points.
Copley Consulting Group’s ERP solution, Infor Cloudsuite™ Industrial (CSI), offers food and beverage manufacturers lot-tracking tools that can be used throughout the supply chain, from sourcing to distribution. CSI allows users to provide data inputs for each part, including part definitions, extended part descriptions, user-definable fields and supplier information. With each part accounted for, CSI automates the process of tracking parts by adjusting inventory whenever a transaction involving a part is created. Physical inventories, cycle counting and ABC analysis can also be performed efficiently. These functions, combined with obsolete and slow-moving inventory flags and analysis, allow SMB manufacturers to keep a steady pulse on their supply chain and get ahead of problems before they can occur.
An ERP system designed for the food and beverage industry should provide the tools needed to help reduce the risk of quality problems. The level of visibility provided by an ERP-enabled traceability system helps manufacturers to sidestep errors. For example, labeling inaccuracies are one of the leading causes of recall. With an ERP system that includes a built-in tracker, all ingredients for a given product will be logged as they enter the supply chain. This helps ensure that all ingredients are accounted for leading up to product release.
A heightened degree of transparency helps manufacturers to remain compliant with FDA regulations, and to fortify their food safety program. However, it also provides the information needed to act quickly in a worst-case scenario. If a quality issue occurs or a recall is initiated, the ERP system can help manufacturers isolate the point at which the product or ingredient entered the supply chain, so the situation can be swiftly resolved. This is critical to not only taking corrective action to remediate the issue at hand but also to adopting preventative controls to ensure such problems do not happen again.
As new technologies and ingredients enter the supply chain, small and mid-sized food and beverage manufacturers are relying on modern traceability systems to get ahead in a fast-moving industry. Don’t wait until quality issues become a concern or your operational needs have outgrown your current systems. Take stock of your ERP solution now, so you are poised for growth and can remain competitive in the years ahead.