Food Manufacturing Brainstorm Bonus: Software

The Food Manufacturing Brainstorm features industry experts sharing their perspectives on issues critical to the overall food industry marketplace. Earlier this year, we asked: What are important factors for food manufacturers to consider when deciding whether to make a software expenditure?

Gerry Gray of Plex Systems offers his answer in this Brainstorm Bonus:

When deciding on your software solution, the key driver must be the potential savings and benefits that the selected solution can bring to your business quickly and easily.

For food manufacturers, a software solution must deliver in a number of key areas. The vast majority of costs are materials-related, so maintaining accurate inventory is essential to your operations. The success of purchasing and production plans are dependent on accurate levels for current inventory. Your solution needs to provide strong and easy-to-use inventory capabilities including lot management with related expiration date capabilities.

The right solution enables management of the key components that make up product costs, and the ability to monitor and optimize standard costs is key. A solution must provide tools to facilitate quick and easy investigations into the source of cost variances.

For any manufacturer, product quality is the key metric for customers to measure performance. Your solution needs a highly configurable quality management system to capture and execute quality processes, from receipt of materials through to delivery of finished goods, and finally to the customer.

Yield management is important, and visibility into standard and actual yield permits your business to improve overall effectiveness and bottom line profitability, providing insight into the factors impacting yield.

The right system provides traceability to assist with the recall protocols that manufacturers must comply with for their customers and various regulatory bodies.

Additionally, a software solution’s reporting and analytic capabilities will lead to crucial visibility of the data collected throughout the business, allowing for continuous improvement and planning.

Each sector of the food industry has its unique integration requirements for customers, suppliers and specialist point solutions, so it’s important to consider a solution with a strong and flexible integration platform.

And last, but my no means least, are the cost factors to deploy and maintain the selected solution. For this, a cloud-based Software-as-a-Service (Saas) offering like Cloud ERP can provide significant cost savings over an on-premise solution requiring hardware purchases, IT personnel and regular costly software upgrades.

About the author

Gerry Gray has over 20 years of experience developing & implementing software solutions for the Process Manufacturing sector in the US, Canada & Europe while focusing on key verticals within the sector including Food & Beverage, Specialty Chemicals & Life Sciences.

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