How Plex & Infor ERP are Transforming the Food Traceability Software Landscape
The food and beverage manufacturing business is truly unique; constantly changing and modernizing as new production and food safety trends emerge. At the same time, food manufacturers don’t want to sacrifice quality or authenticity or their product at the hands of said modernization. From the Food Safety Modernization Act to more recent FDA mandates, many manufacturers are struggling to keep up with quality standards that include and expedited quality information disclosure, faster recalls and full traceability for every single ingredient in your recipe. Whether they are running old food traceability software or relying on separate systems to run accounting, shop floor and inventory processes, food and beverage manufacturers who aren’t running appropriate systems put themselves at a guaranteed risk for recalls or injunctions.
The simple truth is that legacy enterprise systems just aren’t able to keep up with the current food and beverage landscape and its complex manufacturing processes and quality requirements. Moving your food traceability software to the cloud with a solution like Infor Cloudsuite Industrial can give you the record-keeping and lot management power you need to keep up with modern food safety and traceability standards. Here are some of the big reasons why cloud software vendors like Infor are disrupting the food traceability software landscape.
When you’re fostering a communicative environment within your food business, everyone within your company including accounting, shop floor and management knows what is happening in other areas. When you host your food traceability software in the cloud, crucial data such as product recipes, ingredient sourcing and shipping dates (not to mention so much) is available to employees with a mobile device wherever they have an internet connection. Whether you are in the office or with a client who needs to know where one of your ingredients originated, the cloud can significantly improve your food traceability process through universal communication.
Food safety ERP will cultivate this kind of closed-loop quality management, where every step within your manufacturing process is recorded and collaborated with the others. With every food safety process contained within the loop, all of your employees understand how their actions affect the quality and safety of your product, not just your quality assurance team. You will be able to track your most vulnerable points for contamination and then bolster them with even more safeguards through your ERP software, requiring unique barcodes and scanning processes to ensure you know where every ingredient is coming from and has been adequatedly assessed.
Integrate and Automate
If you currently operate different systems for accounting, inventory and shop floor, you are encouraging inefficiencies and holes within your business. When information passes through a whole host of different frameworks there will inevitably be moments when some crucial piece of data does not get recaptured, or gets doubled within the different software systems. These kinds of mistakes might not seem significant if they occur infrequently and you happen to catch them in time. That won’t always be the case; mistakes and voids will accrue across your systems and eventually reach a breaking point. The result? Missing orders, lost clients and food safety risks that could get your business shut down.
On the other hand, Plex ERP utilizes automated check sheets and system-wide synchronized data stored in the cloud. Even your month-end compliance reports will be automated. No longer will your employees have to switch between three pieces of software just to complete their work, and you can guarantee that key bits of information or quality records are not getting lost in between the gaps because you have only one piece of software that can contain everything.
Prevent, Don’t React
As a food or beverage manufacturer, product quality is a cornerstone of your focus and a leading consideration of your mission. A key part of your dedication to quality is maintaining one-up one-down traceability—knowing where your product is sourced from in its entirety and every single customer that that product then ends up at. Using Plex in the cloud for your food traceability software enables just this kind of involvement with your product history. Every ingredient and product is scanned at every step of your manufacturing process from the moment it arrives at your business to when it leaves. When something goes wrong, Plex will be able to find out what happened.
Furthermore, the Plex Control Panel enforces completion of required steps through the system’s check sheets before you can even begin production on a food item. If there is a requirement not met, the system documents the failure and stops the manufacturing and shipment process altogether. Along with all of the steps you take as a business to enforce quality standards, Plex Online has also been proven to support HACCP systems, flow charting and other processes that allow you adhere to GFSI standards. Instead of reacting to food safety risks and disasters within your company, you are preventing them from ever happening.
Ready For Recall
In the rare event that a recall does end up happening, you will be ready to react actively and aggressively. When every piece of your data is synchronized and shared among your business, you then guarantee that all of your information will be ready at your fingertips for any audit or recall event in a paper free trail.
This year, the FDA brought out a whole new set of requirements for food and beverage manufacturers, including the requirement that compliant manufacturers be able to initiate and document an electronic recall within four hours. Overwhelmed at the mere thought of that? Food traceability software can help alleviate that stress. As discussed earlier, cloud ERP solutions store every single piece of crucial tracking information for your ingredients and products; whether they came into your facility or shipping out of it. If that recall ever does come, you have the systemic support you need not only to locate the cause, but to stop all manufacturing related to the problem, and figure out where it began so that you make sure you never have to go through a recall again.
The food and beverage industry is focused process manufacturing, dealing in recipes and formulations rather than discrete objects like linear manufacturers (automobiles, tools etc.). Your focus in operations and the software you need to support them will thus be entirely different to that of a linear manufacturer, and will require a whole different kind of ERP implementation to support your unique needs—food quality, safety and traceability.
Because of this, out-of-the-box ERP won’t immediately play nicely with your food-safety focused business processes. However, when ERP systems are leveraged correctly they can streamline every aspect of your business and make quality adherence second nature; allowing you to keep costs low while driving your revenue ever higher and proving that food traceability software is a critical tool in your company’s arsenal. In fact, Infor is currently one of the leading ERP solutions for the food and beverage industry precisely because it has proven amenable to the unique challenges that food and beverage manufacturers tackle every day and to outperform legacy food traceability software that is failing food and beverage businesses.
Ultimately, if you are a food and beverage manufacturer and need a sounding board on solutions that are right for your business and how to undergo an implementation, contact one of our consulting at Datix today. Datix no longer offers services for Plex and have sophisticated experience with implementation as well as deployment of cloud-based ERP. Please see Epicor ERP, Infor ERP, and the other solutions we offer.