Why ERP needs a plus
By Richard Montgomery, Sales Director of food software specialist, Systems Integration
Having visited numerous food processors working across the whole food manufacturing sector, I’ve seen many solutions branded as ERP systems. So it’s no surprise to me that there is a great deal of confusion across the industry, as to what to expect from an ERP system and how to make sure it solves the very individual production challenges food processors have to deal with. These challenges include complying with food safety standards, checking raw materials and ingredients, recipe management, rotating stock and tracking expiry dates and how best to predict fluctuating demand.
This is why the conversation needs to change from ERP to ERP+.
This is because the majority of food processors now have an ERP system in place. They’ll have invested considerable resources in both time and money to integrate into the business.
Because of this investment, most businesses see making an ERP choice as a ‘stake in the ground investment’. They have the expectation that the system will do everything required and more. However, this is where the challenges begin, as by only having the ERP conversation at the point of scoping out the business needs, those productions, stock management, QA, shop floor data capture, planning and other areas of integration are not considered.
This in-turn devalues all of the previous integration work carried out, as the ERP system and information hub can’t automate the data it needs to give a clear picture of the whole of the business operations. This is what I like to call ‘One Version of the Truth’.
ERP+ conversation, for me is all about going beyond the traditional accounts, finance, purchasing and sales back office reporting functions. It’s about delving deeper into mapping the critical business processes and solving the individual challenges that food manufacturing businesses face.
This can be done; in its entirety or through a modular planned approach, which is often seen as more desirable.
For example, you may have already invested in an ERP system, with gaps such as integrated shop floor data capture. You can add this functionality into your existing system by using modular solutions at each stage.
Personally, this ERP+ conversation is all about recognising the very different and timely challenges food producers have.
I often refer to is as taking a ‘best of breed’ approach. Working with solution partners to create a timely and holistic integration process. With this, the organisation’s not missing out on benefits of full integration, waiting for a bespoke add-on to be developed.
And so, over the coming months, I will be looking in more depth into key areas where the ERP+ conversation will help to drive more profitability and value out of food manufacturers system setups. I will be paying particular attention to common gaps in generic ERP, industry intelligence challenges, traceability, labelling & weighing. I will also be covering off areas of interest from the industry, including any questions that readers ask me by sending me an email to firstname.lastname@example.org