Ask our experts – FAQs

Here are just a few questions that our specialists are frequently asked by food processing businesses looking for the right ERP solution. We’ve provided summary answers but, if you’d like to know more, just get in touch with us.

  • We need very detailed food production traceability information. What about forward and backward traceability?

    For this level of automated traceability information you need to work with a specialist food productivity systems provider who understands the intricacies of the industry and associated legislation. If you’re faced with product recalls or food issues such as E. coli and campylobacter, you need to be ready to take swift action. A specialist traceability system will provide you with the data analysis you require to manage these situations.

  • Our customers and regulatory bodies are demanding more detailed and regular traceability information. It’s a struggle to keep up with these demands and finding the paper evidence without compromising or daily production activity. Is there a more efficient way to manage requests?

    Automate your traceability with a system that’s fed by real-time data from across all your processes and departments. You’ll be able to generate reports in seconds and be assured that the data is up to date and accurate. The key to being able to provide the best traceability reports is having shop floor real-time data capture in place.

  • We create a daily production plan each morning, in great detail, but invariably there will be factors, such as problems with raw material and machine breakdowns, during the day that knock the plan out. We then have to spend time re-planning and fire-fighting to get production back on schedule. How can we improve the process?

    This is another area where food productivity software has a real edge over ERP solutions. The best specialist food productivity systems will provide a live view of your plan, as well as the production progress. It will allow you to make last minute changes, identify live issues and calculate the knock-on effects to production time and lines, raw materials, crew, packaging requirements and vehicle departure times.

  • What level of support should I expect for a new ERP system or food productivity module?

    SLAs will vary from vendor to vendor and need to be checked carefully. Whether the value of your contract is large or small you should still receive the same level of support from your ERP or food productivity software supplier.

    You have the right to expect outstanding ongoing support to suit your requirements, even if that’s 24/7. And remember, a good ERP vendors or food productivity software supplier will want to develop a long-term partnership with your company, no matter what its size might be.

  • Our ERP system is in place and works well, but it needs enhancing. However, we don’t want to risk the stability of our current system when enhancements are introduced? What’s the best way to progress?

    If you’re integrating new modules or developments, make sure that any software modifications are fully acceptance tested before implementation starts, so you know that they are going to work

  • We are nervous of switching to a completely new system in case it affects our day to day business. Can ERP implementation be phased in?

    Many vendors will plan for a lengthy implementation process, sometimes in excess of a year, working towards an ultimate switchover date. Even with user acceptance testing, a major implementation has inherent risks due to the system complexity and multiple department touchpoints. If you want to minimise risk, ask your vendor to provide a phased plan.

    At SI we offer the option to phase installation at times to suit your business.

  • How can I minimise ERP implementation risks?

    The right solutions provider should be available on onsite to support the whole process to involve and support end users. But before embarking on a project our advice would be to task your vendor with mapping out a detailed solution, configured to every aspect of your business.

    At SI, mapping out the whole solution in advance is standard practice, through modular/phased implementation. We call it FRD – the Functional Requirements Document. From the outset, our food specialist consultants work in close partnership with you to get to know your business and identify exactly what your business needs are. User Acceptance Testing (UAT) is integral to our processes, prior to implementation.

    In addition, whenever we implement a new system, our expert team is always on hand throughout the whole process.

  • We already have an ERP system but it doesn’t handle my factory floor processes well. Does this mean I will have to invest in a new system?

    Not necessarily, but first you need to identify your shop floor and back office processes, specific challenges and the gaps within your ERP system. These gaps could be addressed by your existing ERP supplier; alternatively, speak to a specialist food productivity software provider with the skills to understand your shop floor challenges. For instance, a SI, our specialist modules can be integrated to an existing ERP system to address a specific challenge or process area. Well developed, specialist software is a proven route and likely to be a significantly more cost effective solution than bespoke fixes.

  • ERP v food productivity software; is there really much of a difference?

    We’re often asked this question. There are many ERP systems, that are customised by solutions providers according to the sectors that they are servicing. Undoubtedly, these systems are well-established, functionally rich back-office systems but, be aware that if you choose a mainstream generic ERP system, you may well find that it falls short of your shop floor and specialist requirements. It’s unlikely to be able to cope with your specific shop floor data capture and real-time information requirements. This will inevitably lead you down the route of paying for software modifications and may still not solve all the issues you set out to fix.

    Specialist food productivity software is just that, it’s designed purely for the sector, industry specific and customers’ requirements.

How can we help?

If you’d like to ask a question of your own, please fill in the contact form and we’ll get right back to you with an answer.