Last weekend a group of colleagues, most of us in the ERP field, broke out the barbies and commandeered a stretch of shady beachfront. The group shares a passion: we are all in one way or another obsessed with manufacturing, which is why we began analysing the value chains that brought us the food and drink we were consuming. As we cleaned up our rubbish, we offered a silent and non-denominational prayer of thanks to the companies that bring us our modern cornucopia of beverages and food.
Back at work on Monday, I found myself brain-storming a blog topic. My mind, still half in weekend mode, turned gratefully to our food-manufacturing conversation. SYSPRO, after all, is the ERP of choice for hundreds of food and beverage companies. Our industry-specific functions are designed to ease the rigours of an extremely competitive industry, by managing financial complexities, optimising operations, guaranteeing quality, and offering precise control over every aspect of the supply chain.
Food Safety & Compliance
If you want to avoid giving a food manufacturer a nightmare, don’t mention Salmonella, E.coli, SARS, melamine, mad cow disease or bio-terrorism. All food production, in-home or in-factory, carries the potential for risk, but for manufacturers, the responsibility is vastly multiplied. Food and beverage companies need to ensure complete food security, as specified by government-mandated, industry-required food safety programs.
Food safety regulations begin with expiration dates and packaging, but extend to traceability of product throughout the entire supply chain. With SYSPRO’s Lot Traceability module, both tracking (farm-to-fork) and tracing (fork-to-farm) per product, lot and supplier ingredient is automatic and easily retrieved. For raw materials, products, packaging materials and processing equipment, a wealth of information is preserved at every point along the value chain, including incoming materials, manufacturing operations, inventory management and customer shipments. For every action that can impact food, at any point in the supply chain, SYSPRO enables a food processor to trace all ingredients back to their source, and all finished products to their retail, wholesale or food-service destinations.
Of course, all that information needs to be made actionable in the event of an emergency, both for consumer safety, and for brand protection. Government-mandated audits are bad enough, but there’s usually a grace period if procedures aren’t quite up to snuff. Mock recalls aren’t always as forgiving. Many processors that supply retail chains are now conducting mock recalls on a quarterly basis, and the cost of failure can be catastrophic, immediate, and final. With SYSPRO’s Lot Traceability, mock recalls are fully automated. Many of our customers can conduct a flawless mock recall in thirty minutes or less.
Of course, SYSPRO is, at root, accounting software, and discussions of functionality inevitably return to ROI. There’s even a value-add to our compliance measures. Lot traceability increases visibility along the supply chain, which can be leveraged to ensure food freshness and quality, improve customer service, streamline schedules and generally reduce the costs of business. In the warehouse, for example, traceability allows pickers to easily adhere to FIFO (first-in, first-out), while fulfilling longer-distance orders from lots that are in no danger of becoming outdated.
Trade Promotion Management
Trade promotions are an enormous element of the Sales & Marketing mix for most consumer goods companies, and food manufacturers are no exception. In fact, many of our customers cite trade promotions as a key component of growth. Promotions campaigns increase sales and provide companies with valuable information on consumer trends and changes – how well these campaigns are managed can be critical to success.
In years gone by, promotions were generally managed by sales team, but these days the prevalence, variety and importance of promotions necessitate the use of ERP. Fortunately for our customers, SYSPRO Trade Promotion Management makes it simple to negotiate the complexities of contract pricing, volume discounts, trade promotions, rebates, multitier credit checking and comprehensive reporting. SYSPRO TPM tracks off-invoice allowances and promotion deductions, and provides efficient reconciliations that result in increased collections. And of course, TPM is integrated into SYSPRO General Ledger, Accounts Receivable, Inventory Control, Sales Order & Invoicing modules. The bottom line? Reduction of confusion and complexity, huge savings in time, better information, better customer relationships, and (the pièce de résistance!) improved cash-flow and profitability.
In Part 2 of this blog, We will go deeper into SYSPRO’s industry-specific offerings for the food and beverage industry, and how all of these functionalities can be utilised – with lower capital costs – on the Cloud.